As promised we have a finals preview for you, but before we get into the games, we want to bring your attention back to the season preview post (Part 1 and Part 2) we wrote before a single game was even played. The final ranking was, and we really can’t make this up:
Now, we don’t want to discourage teams from trying, but talk about perception or just pure dumb luck, after this weekend, we’ll see how this all finishes out. Read below for our predictions based on everything that has happened.
5th Place Game – Eagles (6) at Owls (5) – 10:00 AM
The Owls take on the Eagles in what is a rematch of the last two weeks of the season. The Eagles have two wins all season, both of them against the Owls. So just on paper alone this matchup looks to favour the Eagles. However, the Owls played way above their regular season selves in the playoffs having a 8-1 lead over the Lions at one point in their quarter final matchup, but so did the Eagles. Based on all of that and the fact that we think both teams are going to be short handed, we think this one will go to the team that has the best offence. There will likely be spots open in the outfield and the team that can hit to them will likely win it.
So let’s look at the hit charts, the Owls other than Hussain Habib, seem to concentrate their hits on the short CF area, so the lack of a rover could hurt the Eagles. Meanwhile the Eagles have a lot of their hits concentrated between RCF and LCF, so whoever is playing CF for the Owls will need to do a lot of traffic directing. So really, that doesn’t tell us much, so let’s just go back to what history says, last two games were won by the Eagles 15-14 and 12-3. We have this one going the way of the Eagles, with a final score of 14-7.
Bronze Medal Game – Lions (4) at Tigers (2) – 11:30 AM
This Bronze medal game features a team that was blown out in the semis and wants to end the season on a high note, against a team that was called out for leading off 3 times, had a triple play against them, and ended up losing by one run in a 3 game series. Not really sure who wants this one more, but when we go back and look at the season records and we can see that the Tigers own the season series going 2-0. However, in the most recent game, the Lions switched pitcher to Tarik Kamel and effectively shut down the Tigers offensive production. Seeing as they will likely read this article and start him, it’ll be an interesting first couple innings.
We think that the health of Asad Hussain is going to be a big determining factor in this game. If he is still injured it really limits the effectiveness of this Lions offence. For that reason alone, we give the edge to the Tigers. There will likely be some upset Tigers on the bench as the team has instituted a no-smoking during the game policy and that can cause players like Bobby Bharwani and others that we’re not allowed to name to get a little agitated and whiney.
Final score 11-6 for the Tigers.
Gold Medal Series – Falcons (3) At Wolves (1) – 1:30 PM
At this point you must be thinking, these previews have been pretty lack lustre, we expected a little more here. You’d be right to think that but in our defence, the previous ones were written on games where the teams are barely interested, they’re coming to try and end the season with a win, but they all know they aren’t going to get the championship trophy. Which brings us to this series – where the winner takes home the Championship, the glory, the final win, and all gloating rights for a full off season. So we might spend a little time on this one.
The Wolves come into this game having won 10 in a row. A team that is full of youthful exuberance, and the mentality that no team in the league can beat them. Other than the Tigers no one has.
They have a star studded outfield that rarely makes errors, and an infield that is getting sharper and sharper with each game. Their offensive numbers are impressive batting 0.528 as a team and slugging at a rate of 0.889. They have a walk to strike out ratio of 38:9, or roughly 4.2:1. Their primary pitcher will be Mikael Ratansi, who comes into this game with a playoff ERA of just 1.91.
The Falcons meanwhile come into this game as survivors, that have scratched and clawed all season to get to return 6 of their players, former Expos, to the finals. They have a veteran presence that has been to this show before and understands how to get wins. Their stats are also very impressive and they have a captain core and their first round and second overall pick in Ali Manek that is very formidable. They as a team bat at a just barely higher 0.530 and slug at a much lower but still impressive 0.775. They have a walk to strike out ratio of 35:8, or roughly 4.4:1, so again just slightly better. Their pitching contingent consists of everyone with the last name Champsi (Altaf Champsi and Riaz Champsi). Who have a combined playoff ERA of roughly 11.05.
You can see that from a statistical perspective, except for maybe the ERA side of it, they teams are pretty close to each other. Season record has the Wolves winning the first match up 10-9, and the second one by a score of 21-19, the last was a forfeit due to the Falcons not wanting to play 3 games in a day. So even that is close. These two teams have played each other close the whole season. The differences now are in preparation and in ultimate execution.
The Wolves have had multiple team meetings in which they sit in a circle and discuss strategy amongst each other. You’d be better off calling it a baraza.
At first glance you would think they were taking this very seriously, and upon further investigation you can tell they’re actually taking their opponents pretty lightly as they spent most of their time creating entertaining pictures of their opponents.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have kept their heads down and focused on the task at hand. They know the stats better than you and I, and are well aware of the task they have in front of them. It is for this reason and this reason alone that we think this series will ultimately go to the Falcons. It does also help that all of these predictions validate our pre-season rankings.
We’re so confident, in our predictions, we’ve already gone ahead and got the plate ready for the Championship trophy.
This Falcons team has done a good job of flying (pun not intended, but happy coincidence) under everyone’s radar all season long. Once the playoffs arrived, they were ready to go and firing on all cylinders. The park itself being a little bit smaller than our semi-final diamond likely means there will be more home runs in this one, and the Falcons have more power hitters capable of hitting the long ball on a regular basis. However, don’t overlook this series, we think it’ll go the distance and take 3 games to complete.
Game 1 – Wolves Win – 17-14
Game 2 – Falcons Win – 16-13
Game 3 – Falcons Win – 12-10
Finals MVP – Riaz Champsi
We look forward to seeing how it all plays out on Sunday. Invite your friends and family as there will be a BBQ set up with Burgers and Hotdogs available for purchase.
May the best teams win!