Category: Previews

2021 Draft Recap

So first and foremost, welcome back! It’s been a long time since we’ve had a season and with the way that COVID was going it was hard to tell if we were going to have one at all. However, by the grace of the Almighty, we’re set to start 2021. We’re a little bit more rushed than we’d like to be, but all things point to us starting our first games next Sunday.

But first, let’s see how each team did and let’s give you a potential preseason rank of where we think they’ll all finish.

Starting with 6th place.

Okay – so none of these teams made it easy to pick who would finish where (truthfully speaking there’s a lot of parity), but someone had to finish in last. With their assistant captain selection of Aadil Jaffer, and their first round pick of Miqdad Jaffer – it only makes sense that it’s the Wolves. Both players are a reach. Aadil while accomplished in his own right should not have been picked before any of the other assistants, and while our returning commissioner is good in his own right, he’s a shell of his former self – word is we can expect a batting average closer to what happened in the 2020 tournaments he played in (1 for 20 😐).

Meanwhile, this roster is gamble after gamble – will Irfahn Khimji play? Is Aqil Najafi even available? Who even is Zain Tharia – we heard he can play squash but will that translate to anything good on the softball field? However, the thing this team has going for it is championship pedigree. Captain Imran Virji knows how to win – let’s see if he can do it with a completely different group than we’re used to seeing wearing the Wolves colours.

Which takes us to 5th place

I will say that I think this captain core is second to none. The Zia brothers will be a force to be reckoned with, that much is sure. However, 4 of their last 5 rounds are players that are going to need a little bit of practice on the bats. They took a few flyers on unknown players – notably Indi Campbell, best friend of the captain – this is a pure wildcard as nobody knows what to expect. Arif Jaffer – who we’re told will bring some philosophy to this team, and Shabbar Dewji who is getting his first chance to play in a full time capacity. We’ll see how the regular reps of a shortened season will translate into development for the playoffs.

Now the other part of this roster, we can’t really say much – Hisham Ali is an all around talent, and comes with a medical degree to help cure whatever ails this team. Shane Worthington and Ray Noormohamed bring with them power off the bat that will surprise a lot of teams and the Hussain Habib, Hussein Champsi combination will make for a formidable outfield presence. This team waited until round 7 to grab their pitcher – Azad Najfi, and he could prove to be a steal of a pick if he can get on a streak. At this point though we’re splitting hairs.

Now on to 4th place

 

Look, I’m as surprised as anyone that the Owls are here. Draft night showed up, and captain Minhal Jaffer called an audible and told Mikael Ratansi that he was on his own to draft the team. He’s lucky he chose Mikky for the job because never has another captain been so creative with their use of timeouts and google searches. When in doubt, go with speed, athleticism, and youth. This team did well for themselves, there aren’t many weaknesses in this roster to exploit. They have a few players that are 1/1A or 2nd best at their position in Minhal, Mikael, and Maysum – and then they have a group of guys that will just get along and play hard. Bobby, Tan, and Mehdi-Hassan will likely end up in the outfield with Maysum and all bring a streaky bat to the mix.

We don’t know what Irfaan Jaffer’s health looks like but he’s a solid glove at 1B and his bat has been getting better and better each year. Danial Ali and Ali Kanani both got some time in 2019 with the Bucks, and had respectable first year campaigns. We’ll see how the off-season(s) have treated their development. Arif Gulamhusein makes his return to JMS and we’re excited to see how he can keep the mood light for this squad. Then finally the unknowns – Talib Shivraj, no idea – without a combine this year we’re working off of just rumours and we have none to work with for Talib. Muhammad Ali meanwhile pitched during Al-Wahda and got a taste for the sport then that carried him over to the Salaam Cup, so he’s gotten a feel for the game, we’ll see how it translates in a new environment. The biggest thing going against this team is the monicker of the Owls – they’ve never been successful, and I mean ever. Will 2021 be the year for change?

Now the top 3

So newcomer Sasha Al-Joundi is no joke, he’s a player through and through, and will definitely raise the bar for talent in this league. Maybe his own overconfidence got the better of him when he went out to pick his assistant captain – Abbasali Kermalli. I mean no knock to AK, he’s been putting in work and can hit the ball a ton, but you can do better with your number 2. That aside, this team drafted with a lot of…wisdom. They went out and got Mahmood Kara as their shortstop and Mahmood is a force, but he hasn’t played Shortstop since 2016 with the Tigers. Not sure how this is going to translate, but time will tell. There’s a lot of friends on this team, so we think the chemistry will be high to start – Altaf, Arif Hirji, and Jaffer Kermalli are all great team guys and will fit into any system. Salim Chagani and Muzzamil Jaffer are basically the same player – good outfielder, streaky bat, potential power.

This team took a newcomer in Azam Khan – and while we know less than nothing about him, we’ve started to hear some talk that this could have been a great pickup. This can also be said of Tahir Khorasanee who I think most team’s just forgot about, expect him to be very good. However, in order to make sure that this team dropped its average age, they went out and grabbed Mohammed Walli and Ali Walji – while Biggs shows nothing but heart, we don’t know much about what Ali Walji will bring to the table, he’s played with us once upon a time in Ramadhan, but it’s been a long time since those days.

Only two left

We know that our IG live announcers were swooning over this team, but they’re unfortunately not going to be our pick for who finishes first. Captain Ali-Reza Merali has proven over the years that he knows how to draft a team. His assistant captain Ali Raza Nasser has had similar success, so it’s serendipitous that these two get paired together. They take a pair of Abbas’s with their first picks Allidina who gives you a great pitcher and an even better bat, and Fazal who gives you athleticism and the legs to turn a double into a home run. Hatim Bootwala who showed up well in the exhibition games in 2020 will surprise a lot of people. A pair of Panjus in Hassanain and Hasan – where one gives you power, calm, and a solid glove at 3B, and the other gives you height? Then somehow Daanish Jaffer gets overlooked every single year, maybe it’s just his quiet demeanour but check out his batting averages over the years, he is consistently good and they’re all line drives.

Minaz Noormohamed, Abbas Mohamedali, and Munir Nasser shore up their C, 1B, 2B positions and each of them is capable of getting streaky on the bats, with the added bonus of Min being a lefty. Which leads us to MoMo who is clearly ready to sprint into action this year. He’s got his football spikes ready, and we think he might make an even bigger impression in 2021.

But as good as this team looks, there is 1 team that is better

This team starts out in our #1 spot. Captain Ali Manek did well for himself, he probably let his assistant captain Imran Nasser drive but this big 3 is scary. What does the defence do when faced with Umair Ali and the two captains in the batting lineup. It’s hard to imagine a situation where that doesn’t turn into 3 runs. They pick up two great pitchers in Hussein Allidina and Riaz Champsi that double as outfielders with great gloves. They pick up Shane Nasser who has the power to put it out at any field, and the hits keep coming. Sarfaraz Karmali, Nabeel Naqvi bring utility players that can flexibly move around the diamond, and even a late grab of Azmatali Mehrali gives them a 3rd pitcher in case Hussein and Riaz are needed in the outfield.

Now they’re not without some unknowns, Shaan Shamji played as a reserve with the Lions in 2019, showed that he’s the fastest player in the league, but hasn’t really had a chance for some consistent play. Taleb Zaidi we’re not sure what to expect, and all we know from Shanu Khimji is that he plays volleyball, so he’s probably an athlete – unless he played with Imran Nasser, then maybe he’s one of those players that knows how to get out of the way really well?

Needless to say, this team will be scary to play against. So now while all the teams look good on paper – there’s a reason we play the games. We’re very excited you all joined us for another season of JMS, and look forward to see how the stories unfold on the field.

Good luck to everyone!

2019 – Week 7 – Preview

We enter into the last week of the season, and though there is some separation between the top and bottom of the standings, it’s still wide open for who finishes where. Let’s take you through this last week, sprinkle in some stats you haven’t been paying attention (or privy) to, and give you our take. As this is the last week of the regular season we wanted to take some time to point out some players that have been standouts, as well as some that have been largely absent – even when present.

Game 1 – Owls vs Tigers

The day kicks off at 8AM, bright and early as we make our return to Nobleton. Everyone is tired of hearing the same old tired story about how Asad Nasser won’t make this game because it’s early, so we won’t bore you with that obvious detail. We will however say that should the playoffs start tomorrow and a morning game is scheduled for the Owls, you can expect that he will sleep train himself like a baby throwing a temper tantrum to ensure he can make it on time. Unfortunately, for the Owls it’s not the playoffs just yet. As a result, expect that Mohammed Walli will make the start in this one.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have the opposite problem, most of them have bowel movements in the early hours of the morning that wake them up early enough for this game. The guess here is that they’ll bring their full squad, minus Abbasali Kermalli who will be unavailable. The one player they need though is Altaf Champsi – there’s been a pitching experiment going on all year as the Tigers alternate between Altaf and Azmat Mehrali in the pitching position and the Tigers have fared well regardless of who is on the mound. However, the numbers show how dominant Altaf has been, he’ll likely be their playoff starter, but the rest of the Tigers team will need to play with their usual prowess for them to avoid a trap game and an early day struggle.

Speaking of struggle, Kumail Meghani – captain of the Owls, self proclaimed pitcher of the year to have barely thrown a pitch. He seems to have been coasting this year and doesn’t really have a lot to show for it. He started the season with a renewed sense of bravado as he declared that his Owls team was the one to be beat and they would make a run in the playoffs. However, just as on most days, maybe Kumail will be showing up just on time. We expect his arrival to happen this week. Look for a reversal of trends as the Owls come out flying in this one. They need to make a statement more than most and this is their best chance against one of the league’s best.

Let’s see if there’s a twist of fortunes for the Owls in this one and they can take advantage of the Tigers who will likely have to adjust their offence and defence to deal with the absence of AK.

Kumail Meghani average with runners in scoring position: 0.300
Rest of the Team: 0.458
Altaf Champsi Batting Average Against: 0.465
Azmat Mehrali Batting Average Against: 0.516

 

Prediction: 13 – 7 Owls

Game 2 – Eagles vs Owls

The Eagles are coming off their worst loss of the season, probably ever but I don’t want to look back at the stats to confirm. The worst part about it, wasn’t that they lost 14-0, wasn’t that they had to have Asad Hussain pitch, it was that they had 7 players for most of the game. Weddings happen and these are the struggles of a league that plays on the weekends. However, the show must go on and for the Eagles they’re likely going to be very hungry for a win. Seeding is now important and for the Eagles they are within striking distance of 4th or even 3rd place if things go well for them. That means home field advantage in a lot of playoff games, and a chance to stay on the opposite side of the bracket to whomever finishes in first place. Asad Hussain will likely sit this one out, so expect Ali Manek to come out ready to play. The problem with this Eagles team though is they perform very poorly with runners in scoring position, also they haven’t seen the offensive production from the trade they were hoping for with Imtiyaz Kara struggling to put together consistent outings and adding to the struggles in clutch moments. One player who has come through in the clutch and at the plate is Ali Kara who boasts a 0.526 OBP and a BA/RSP of 0.500, for reference Imtiyaz Kara has a 0.524 OBP and a BA/RSP of 0.300 – I guess we know who the better Kara is on the Eagles.

For the Owls, if they won the morning game, this win could propel them as high as 4th. It would require huge wins by then and huge losses by the Bucks to go any higher in the standings, so we believe their ceiling is 4th. This has to be a chance for them to decide if they’re ready for the playoffs. As much as we believe they’ll put together an effort in game 1 against the Tigers, this has to be the opponent they have circled. Noor Zia is someone that has been carrying the load, and if you read our Scorer’s Table article, then you know that he’s in contention for the ROY. However, winning an individual award on a team that finishes in last and ends the season on potentially an 8 game losing streak has got to be depressing. The word is that the Owls captain contingent is quiet, they prefer to lead by example and not by really talking to their players. While Noor has lead by example, it doesn’t seem to be getting the message through. This team has some players, but when your first round pick, Kabir Molu, is hitting below 0.400 something needs to spark them to get them going.

Look for the Eagles to take this one as Ali Manek will look to assert his offensive dominance and push Umair Ali for that home run title.

Owls On Base Percentage (Including Errors): 0.505
Noor Zia On Base Percentage (Including Errors): 0.767
Eagles Season Team Average: 0.488
Ali Manek On Base Plus Slugging Percentage (OPS): 1.653 (Team Lead)

Prediction: 11 – 9 Eagles

Game 3 – Tigers vs Wolves

So those games before this one would be classified as the appetizers for the day, this game would be the main course. I say would be, and not will be, because the Wolves are struggling with some key injuries right now. Irfaan Jaffer is in a sling, Minhal Jaffer is limping around so slowly that even a hit to the warning track resulted in an out at 1B. With their starting SS out, the Wolves will do what they’ve been doing all season, adjust and call in their ace. Aman Nasser will likely see the mound in this one as Mikael Ratansi switches over to SS. This Wolves team has been really strong and they have shown their ability to band together and win games in bunches despite their injuries. The last time they played the Tigers – Aman Nasser pitched and the Wolves won 11-6. It’s only appropriate that this time around Aman will be playing and will be putting his 0.833 AVG on display at the plate. So maybe this game is the main course after all.

For the Tigers, if they lost the morning game, then this one is to stay in contention for second place. For the Wolves, this is their chance to make a push for 1st place. The Tigers will likely want to use this game to display how good they can be. They don’t have many holes in their lineup offensively speaking. Defensively they have some places for improvement. Though Abbasali Kermalli has been campaigning for a gold glove at 3B, hitting the ball in his direction is usually a good way to get on base safely. Sure it might result in a ROE being added to your stats, but that really depends on who is scoring ;-). Unfortunately for the Wolves, he won’t be there this week, so they might need to look elsewhere. The outfield also looks very different when Vick Vij isn’t patrolling in CF, but on the bigger field the other fielders may struggle to cover ground. Defence is what’s going to keep this team in games long enough to let their bats get going, and when they do get going, this team can put up runs in bunches.

As good as both teams are, Aman Nasser is the X-Factor. With him on the mound, we expect that this one will be skewed heavily in favour of the Wolves.

Tigers On Base Percentage Including Errors (OBPE): 0.574
Tigers OBPE Against Aman: 0.469
Wolves Team OBPE: 0.530
Wolves Team OBPE Against the Tigers: 0.600

Prediction 11 – 7 Wolves

Game 4 – Eagles vs Bucks

This is a potential playoff preview as these two teams could end up 4th and 5th seeds and start off the playoffs against each other. The Bucks haven’t seen a consistent line up all season, and it’s left captain Ali Raza Nasser scrambling. Even at the time of writing this article, half the team isn’t sure they’ll be making it to the games tomorrow. To add injury to insult, it looks like Arif Hirji is going to be out for the season with an achilles injury – we pray for his speedy recovery. So while the Bucks figure out who on their roster will show up, did you know Salim Chagani plays on the Bucks?!?, the Eagles are looking to get through to the playoffs unscathed and injury free.  Let’s break this down so we can understand how inconsistent this team has been for attendance. Only 3 players have attended all the games, 3 other players have attended all but 1 game, and 1 player has missed just one week (2 games). That means that at least 7 players are there for most of the games. The reserves on this team have played in 8 games combined, and will likely be needed this week. And there are 2 players that need to attend this week’s games to be eligible for playoffs. Needless to say they’ve been inconsistent and it’s making it hard for them to get any kind of momentum.

Even with some of their struggles this season, any team that has both Ali Manek and Asad Hussain on them is not a team you want to play in the playoffs. That being said, nobody can really be sure which version of the team will show up. So this game represents an opportunity for them to get their defensive assignments understood, and let the outfielders figure out how to play on the larger Nobleton field. Many of their players are able to hit regularly, but this larger field might open up some opportunities for those players that like to hit down the lines and can take advantage of the open space. Look for players like Riaz Champsi and Imtiyaz Kara to be the players that abuse defences on the larger field. We’ve already talked a lot about the Eagles in the previous review, but here’s one fun statistic that we haven’t shared – of the 3 players (still on the Eagles) that have pitched for them – Riaz Champsi, Imtiyaz Kara, and Asad Hussain. Asad is the one with the best batting average against at a low 0.429 (Riaz – 0.500, Imtiyaz – 0.545) – sure it’s a small sample, but numbers are fun :-).

Eagles Leader in BA/RSP: 0.722 (Abbas Mohammedali)
Eagles Leader in RPA: 0.784 (Ali Manek)
Bucks Leader in BA/RSP: 0.800 (Nadim Rahemtulla)
Bucks Leader in RPA: 0.884 (Ali Raza Nasser)

At least for the Bucks, they’re top guys are performing and this means a dangerous team. We’re expecting them to come alive a little bit as we get closer to the playoffs, so we’ll give this W to the Bucks.

Prediction: 9 – 7 Bucks

Game 5 – Falcons vs Wolves

More than half way through and these are getting exhausting to write. However, you know who should be exhausted – Umair Ali – he’s literally been carrying this Falcons team on his back. Let’s just see how ridiculous a season he’s been having. Umair has more XBHs (18) than 77.5% of the league has in total hits! He has more RBIs (39) than the next two top players in RBI do combined (38)! He has nearly double the amount of HRs (9) as second place (5). He’s had a ridiculous season to say the least, one last stat his team has as many wins (4) as the last place Owls! So that last one hurts, but individual success doesn’t always translate to team success in this game. For Umair, as great of a season as he’s been having, he needs to find a way to get the rest of the team involved and participating. While games have been close all season long, the Falcons lack the ability to close out and win games in the late innings. Looking up and down the roster, there aren’t many weaknesses, the team has been built quite well. They reached early on the reserve front grabbing Zane Hussain in the 2nd round, but as he’s not available for the playoffs they’re going to need to get the rest of the positions solidified.

Meanwhile, we come to the Wolves – if they lost the first game, then this means little to nothing to them and they’ll likely use this game for practice or to give Mikael Ratansi a sporting chance at that pitcher of the year award. If they did win the previous game, then this one means a lot to them as it puts them in first place with a win. The Lions would still only need a win or tie in their next two games to hold on to first place, but this is a chance for the Wolves to put some real pressure on them. Based on the cursory glance at team snap we might have a Saleem Rustam sighting tomorrow – he currently leads the league in slugging percentage as he took advantage of the small field with his big swing. Unlikely that he’ll have the same results on the bigger field, but it’s clear that he’s a player and will yield results for the Wolves. This will be a chance to see how deep the Wolves roster can go and for the reserves to get some work in.

With this depleted a roster and a Falcons team looking to make a statement, we expect that the Falcons will likely take this one and end the Wolves chance at first place.

Umair Ali OPS: 2.509
Falcons Team OPS: 1.153
Wolves Team RBIs: 99
Minhal + AAdil RBIs: 39

Prediction: 13 – 10 Falcons

Game 6 – Bucks vs Lions

This game features a chance for Imran Nasser to show how far he’s come since last year’s championship run on the Bucks last year. He was a gold glove centre fielder that has made the transition over to shortstop this year. One of the most difficult positions to play on the field, and he’s not only played it well, he’s made a case for himself to be in consideration for a gold glove there as well. Further to that, if you thought his bat was good last year, it’s been considerably better this year. Seems he’s only gotten better. This is a chance for him to showcase how complete this team is with him at the helm, as he’ll have to lockdown first place without the services of Miqdad Jaffer again. Last time the Lions went 2-0 without him, begging the question do they even need him? The way this roster is constructed everyone is able to play multiple positions, and able to hit for reasonable to above average offensive numbers. In a small field, this team is full of singles, but in the larger field, they can take advantage of gaps and the bigger field to produce a lot more extra base hits. The outfield defence leaves a lot to be desired as, in the absence of Miqdad, it’s made up entirely of rookie outfielders looking to find their way.

The Bucks on the other hand will be looking to make their presence felt as they are the defending champions. Just because they lost their version of Kawhi Leonard (Imran), doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be able to mount a title defence and run of their own. For that to happen though, they need a consistent roster and some reps together as a team. Ali Raza is looking to his squad to come through for him and put together some consistent innings. The one consistent factor has been that of Azad Najfi. When he’s been on, he holds the opposing offences to single digit run totals, and hets the defence a lot of easy outs to keep their momentum going. He, too, relies on attendance and the correct defensive alignments for those balls to go from base hits to outs. Hisham Ali at SS is a must have as he’s been putting together a gold glove worth season of his own. This game provides us the chance to see who the better SS really is.

All that said, it’ll be tough for the Bucks to win this one as the Lions are red hot going into the playoffs. They’re playing loose and that’s always dangerous for any opponent.

Lions Extra Base Hits: 50
Miqdad + Imran XBHs: 21
Azad Najfi BAA: 0.467
Bucks XBHs: 31

Prediction: 11 – 8 Lions

Game 7 – Lions vs Falcons

Last game of the day and this one likely means nothing for both teams. There are some injuries that are likely going to be looked to be avoided, so if the Lions win the previous game, expect that they’ll have some weird lineups and positioning for this one. We might even get to see Ranko Cupovic play the OF. The risky part about this type of game is that the bats are freer than ever, so for the Falcons that means playing with a team that probably doesn’t care and will either be hitting for average, or hitting for power. If it’s the latter, then expect a lot of pop outs in this one and a short lived game. The player to look out for in this one is Abbas Nasser, he’s been a completely different player since moving to the Lions. He went from a batting last in the Eagles lineup with a batting average in the 0.300s to now hitting in the 5 spot and batting at 0.750 on the Lions. Whatever was said to him when he arrived seems to have worked. He’s the player that needs to stay within himself for it to continue, the second he thinks he’s going to start hitting big is the second that streak stops.

Hussein Allidina will be the one tasked with shutting down the Lions and getting ready for the playoff run. He was disappointed last year as his Eagles team imploded in what was the most important game of their season. He pitched 7 walks in that game and hasn’t really been able to move on successfully from that game. He’s going to need to do his best to prevent that type of mishap from happening again this year. The good part is that the Falcons aren’t the type of team to implode. Any team with Damien Ramnauth on it will likely be playing loose, free, and with a heavy dose of laughter. While this game will mean very little for either team, it’ll likely be a fun one to watch. You can expect a few 5 run innings from both sides, and probably one of the higher scoring games of the season, we’ll give this one to the Falcons though, but it could easily go either way.

Abbas Allidina BAA : 0.454
Miqdad Jaffer BAA: 0.455
Falcons XBHs: 47
Falcons TripLes + Homeruns: 17

 

Prediction: 16 – 13 Falcons

2019 – Week 6 – Preview

Second last week of the season upon us and with the top 4 teams going at each other, this one has major playoff implications. Kick back, let’s take you through all the scenarios and walk you through what could happen when all of the dust settles after Sunday. Since we’re in the second last week, we’ll reveal a couple of things you may not have known about each team #stats. For this article, we’ll make our prediction and then post a series of stats. The stats may make us change our opinion, or ignore them all together. We want to see if a subjective approach matches the objective one and whether a couple of data points are enough to change our opinions.

Game 1 – Bucks vs Falcons

So we built up all that hype and this game features the current 5 seed versus the current 7 seed. The fact that you don’t know which is which can you tell you a lot about who should be favoured in this game. The Bucks are this season’s enigma. One week they get beat by 11, the next week they lose by one to that same team, only to follow it with a 10 run win. In a season that has been full of close games, the Bucks are the consistent outlier. Nobody really knows what to expect when they step on the field, and unfortunately for captain Ali Raza Nasser, he’s not too sure what to expect himself. Meanwhile the Falcons sit in last place, they have a reserve, Zane Hussain, that has played in more games than many full time players but they’re only back by 2 points from the Bucks. Their run differential tells a story of a lot of close games and a cursory glance of their past games says they’ve only lost by more than 3 runs once. We think they’re due for a big win.

Bucks Season Team Average: 0.516
Bucks Average against the Falcons: 0.492
Falcons Season Team Average: 0.470
Falcons Average against the Bucks: 0.443

Stats don’t seem to support the story, but that’s why the games are played on the field.

Prediction: 10 – 8 Falcons

Game 2 – Owls vs Falcons

Captain Kumail Meghani was heard to have said that his team just put up a bad game offensively last week. With just 3 full time players batting above .500 the stats seem to support that narrative. This team should have all the pieces to be really competitive, but it doesn’t seem to be translating onto the field consistently enough. It’s hard to hold a team like this down though, so we expect that they’ll eventually pull through. The down side for them is that their run differential is the worst in the league at a depressing -14. The good news is that most of that came from last week’s loss to the Bucks. Otherwise, most games have been close. With the Falcons on a back to back, we think that the heat gets to them a little bit and they let this game slip away. Owls will come through, but it won’t be easy for them.

Owls Season Team Average: 0.449
Owls Average against the Falcons: 0.424
Falcons Season Team Average: 0.470
Falcons Average against the Owls: 0.432

Another two teams that play well against each other, no clear advantage but we went with the lower average last time and looks like we’re going with that again.

Prediction: 11 – 9 Owls

Game 3 – Bucks vs Owls

Last game amongst the teams in the bottom of the standings, but make no mistake this is a chance for these teams to propel themselves forward and give themselves the match up they need. While first place may be out of reach, getting a better draw and first round opponent is still likely. The pros in this game for the Owls is that they’ll likely be warmed up, and if we’re right coming off the momentum of a win. The cons are that they’ll be playing a Bucks team that just thrashed them the week before, and will be playing with a lot of confidence against them. While we don’t expect Irfahn Khimji to go a blistering 4 for 4 with 4 RBI in this one, we do expect the Owls to lose. This game is about confidence and the Bucks will come in with a lot of it. We’re going to go against the norm on this – we usually call close games so that we don’t really upset a lot of people, but we’re calling for a blowout in the one.

Owls Season Team Average: 0.449
Owls Average against the Bucks: 0.443
Bucks Season Team Average: 0.516
Bucks Average against the Owls: 0.492

Seriously?! Even with 16 runs they can’t put up an average higher than their team average – who do these guys out perform against??! For a change the stats are on our side.

Prediction 14 – 5 Bucks

Game 4 – Wolves vs Eagles

With the Eagles sitting in 4th place, 2 points separate them from the Wolves. Meanwhile the Wolves are looking to make a push for 1st place and to give themselves a chance to maintain control of that place in their later game against the Lions. The Eagles are without their two captains – Asad Hussain is injured, but healing well and Ali Manek is going to be at a wedding. Despite his efforts to dissuade people from attending this week and cancelling it entirely, the show must go on. The Eagles will bring a roster that will play with a chip on their shoulder, knowing that nobody expects them to win. That makes them dangerous. The downside is that not even the glare from Riaz Champsi’s freshly shaven head will distract us from the fact that they don’t have their two biggest bats, so unless Hasanain Panju and Imtiyaz Kara come through with huge games, expect the Wolves to take this one easily.

Wolves Season Team Average: 0.478
Wolves Average against the Eagles: 0.269
Eagles Season Team Average: 0.491
Eagles Average against the Wolves: 0.600

Alright so what do we know. Based on the stats, the Eagles severely out perform the Wolves when they play each other. It’s a really big difference…enough to change our opinion. Go Eagles?

Prediction: 7 – 6 Eagles

Game 5 – Wolves vs Lions

The battle for first place, these two teams are separated by a single point. The Wolves have lost twice against the Lions so far this season. Last week was a low scoring affair with a final score of 5-2. However, the confidence level coming from the Wolves side has not waned – they believe they weren’t beat by the Lions, just that they beat themselves. The Lions efforts were merely just the wrong place wrong time as it were. For the Lions they get back their captain, Miqdad Jaffer, but they may actually be down to a short handed roster, meaning a lot of space in the outfield. Pros are that this means more ABs for Imran Nasser who has been on a tear recently and is batting with a renewed sense of confidence – as if he needed it. While last week was a low scoring one, expect this one to go the opposite direction and some runs to be put up. End of the day, we still have to go with Lions as it appears they’ve owned this match-up to date.

Wolves Season Team Average: 0.478
Wolves Average against the Lions: 0.516
Lions Season Team Average: 0.513

Lions Average against the Wolves: 0.333

We don’t understand the stats anymore – the Lions won twice, but sport a pathetic 0.333 against the Wolves. Maybe the Wolves have cause for their belief that they beat themselves, it certainly looks that way statistically speaking. Alright, we’ll change our minds again on this one. Wolves take this one, and control of first place.

Prediction: 12 – 10 Wolves

Game 6 – Tigers vs Eagles

In this one, you would expect to have a close game. However, when the team has to ask the question this week “can we play with 7”, you know this one is going to be a bad one. Apparently many of the Eagle players have to make their way elsewhere and they’re leaving their seeding hopes up to 7 players.  Likely they’ll leave 2B open or they’ll have 2 outfielders to cover everything. Neither option is good and either option leaves many giant holes in the field for the Tigers to take advantage of. If the Tigers lose this one, then they don’t really deserve to be in conversation for anything in the playoffs. No pressure…

Tigers Season Team Average: 0.511
Tigers Average against the Eagles: 0.467
Eagles Season Team Average: 0.491
Eagles Average against the Tigers: 0.621

We don’t care what the stats say, yeah it looks like the Eagles usually perform better, but with 7 players on the field, expect this one to get out of hand early.

Edit: Since the time of writing this, we’ve gotten word that Asad Hussain might play this one. That changes things a little bit, but not enough for the Eagles to get the win. He’s still not quite at 100%.

Prediction: 13 – 4 11 – 8 Tigers

Game 7 – Lions vs Tigers

So the good news for the Lions is that the Tigers are playing on a back-to-back, and based on how few players the Eagles will have, they’ll likely have had a lot of XBH. Also the weather promises to be a humid 30+ degrees outside. Also the Tigers have an average age higher than their team batting average. The Lions get a game off, get to re-hydrate and will come out strong against the Tigers. Last time these two teams faced off, the Tigers made the blunder of listening to Abbasali Kermalli who advised that they intentionally walk Miqdad Jafferthat means he gets second base. Then an error allowed the runner from 3rd to score easily. Altaf Champsi pitched that one and held the Tigers to a very low number. This one looks like it’ll be close on paper, but because of the scheduling and the weather, we don’t expect the Tigers to have any juice left. Though they can probably borrow some e-juice from the Lions as post trade it seems like more than half of this team now smokes – just make sure you keep it off the field.

Tigers Season Team Average: 0.511
Tigers Average against the Lions: 0.452
Lions Season Team Average: 0.513
Lions Average against the Tigers: 0.333

Stats tell a sad tale, Lions seem to be facing off against two teams this week who have their number. Had the conditions been favourable, it looks like the Tigers probably take this one. I guess those are the breaks, we’re staying with the Lions winning this one.

Prediction: 6 – 5 Lions