2014 Playoffs Preview

In this article, I use the words “potential” and “possible” and whatever other synonym with which I can inundate you. Also a handful of “coulds” and “maybes.” I don’t like the idea of any forgone conclusions in the tournament. Should I have missed any—my bad. There are some games we can all say are “obvious,” but anything can happen.

 1 Happy Shirt vs. 32 Space Pussy
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Happy | 10-0 / 138 / 40 / +98 | 2
Pussy | 0-10 / 44 / 240 / -196 | 32

Winless. Not winless. It could go either way. It won’t, but it could. After three close games in rank play, Happy Shirt came out on top in all three, even after being down 2-0 vs. Wildman Attack Force, 10-1 vs. Terrebonne Po’ Boys, and 2-0 vs. Love Garden. It’s generally a safe bet to pencil-in Happy Shirt for a Final Four appearance. It hasn’t not been in the Final Four since 2006, as I recall, and the only recent championship game it missed was in 2011.

Space Pussy has a tough draw on both sides of the bracket—it has to play a good Jazzhaus team or a better Basil Ride team. Regardless, an 0-12 season seems likely.

For the week
Happy Shirt: 2-0
Space Pussy: 0-2

2 Wildman Attack Force vs. 31 Brewballers
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Wild | 9-1 / 135 / 38 / +97 | 2
Brew | 1-9 / 49 / 189 / -140 | 30

The Brewballers are the second-highest scoring team against Wildman this season at 7. Wildman still put up 31. Brewballers will likely face either Sacred Sword or the Goats. Wildman is tied with the Love Garden Squids for best defensive team (38 runs allowed), and its offense can be pretty good on any given Sunday. Brewballers have struggled defensively all season, allowing a staggering 189 runs. In order to succeed either way, both teams have to remain cool and yell more at the opposing team, rather than its own.

For the week
Brewballers: 0-2

3 Terrebonne Po’ Boys vs. 30 Ghosts
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Terre | 8-2 / 144 / 63 / +82 | 5
Ghost | 2-8 / 121 / 165 / -44 | 20.34

The Ghosts have little in common with the Terrebonne Po’ Boys, except that they’re both top ten teams offensively. The similarities stop there, though, and if the Ghosts want to advance it will have to stop the champs’ relenting means of scoring. A Terrebonne injury last week against Wildman could slow them down, but with a solid top-to-bottom lineup, and one of the most underrated kickers in the league, it has a great chance to reach the Final Four for the second year in a row.

Alternatively, the Ghosts have a tough break. First, it goes against the defending champions. Secondly, it plays, win or lose, a feisty Chalmersiz team that looks to be getting itself together, or Murda, Inc., one of the more dangerous offensive teams in the league—you know it will score, you just don’t always know when.

For the week
Terrebonne Po’ Boys: 2-0
Ghosts: 0-2

4 Love Garden Squids vs. 29 Harper Valley PTA
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Squids | 7-3 / 103 / 38 / +65 | 7.34
PTA | 1-9 / 38 / 154 / -116 | 30

A week one rematch, Love Garden allowed 5 runs in what was essentially a predetermined game. Harper Valley PTA should probably look ahead to a match with the Screamers. Love Garden should worry about a mostly healthy Los Matadores team instead of focusing on its potential 5/12 matching against Hurtz Donut D-Holes or Das Boot next week.

The PTA could have a good game against the Screamers, but the Screamers have been playing significantly better over the past several weeks, even if it did go only 1-2 in rank play. Harper Valley, meanwhile, only scored 10 runs in three games (one a shutout) and allowed 37 total.

For the week
Love Garden Squids: 1:1
Harper Valley PTA: 0-2

5 Hurtz Donut D-Holes vs. 28 Merchants of Death
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Hurtz | 7-3 / 128 / 57 /+ 71 | 5.34
Merch | 2-8 / 56 / 121 / -65 | 26

The Hurtz Donut D-Holes didn’t finish the season the way it wanted, by any means. A shutout against Channel 6 couldn’t have boosted its ego any, although it undoubtedly upped its motivation. The Merchants of Death are still struggling since winning the Less Awesome Championship last season. Injuries have plagued it as a team, and getting out of the first week could prove difficult.

A rematch against Das Boot seems likely, but at the short fields of YSC . . . the D-Holes could get burned deep, regardless of how quick its outfielders are.

For the week
Hurtz Donut D-Holes: 1-1
Merchants of Death: 0-2

6 Red Lyon vs. 27 Taco Tuesday
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Lyon | 8-2 / 125 / 60 / +65 | 8
Taco | 3-7 / 69 / 137 / -68 | 26.34

Red Lyon had a strong finish against the young Bad News Bagels, winning 12-9. Taco Tuesday finished the season strong, winning out in rank play. For Red Lyon, a game against the Rockets seems likely—and that’s a tough draw for a 6-seed. Taco Tuesday will likely face the seasoned veterans of the Free State Growlers, and that isn’t particularly ideal for a team that’s only just now getting itself together. If Red Lon can enjoy its two-hour break between games without shotgunning every beer in sight, it has a good shot at escaping the first weekend.

For the week
Red Lyon: 1-1
Taco Tuesday: 0-2

7 Bad News Bagels vs. 26 Where’s My Pitches?
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Bagels | 7-3 / 125 / 53 / +72 | 5.34
Pitches | 3-7 / 69 / 137 / -68 | 26.97

The Bad News Bagels had a tough against Red Lyon last week, and it’s missing some players for the tournament, a loss that won’t go unnoticed. Where’s My Pitches? have averaged 12.67 runs in its three wins over the past four weeks, finally escaping its relentless struggle to get on base, but the speedy and young Bagels should prove too much for the Pitches.

A game I’m excited to (potentially) see is the Rats vs. Bad News Bagels in the second round, as I’m sure a lot of people are. A lot of young , fast, talented players.

For the week
Bad News Bagels: 2-0
Where’s My Pitches?: 1-1

8 Channel 6 vs. 25 AsteroidHEAD
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Channel | 6-4 / 115 / 47 / +68 | 7
Asteroid | 2-8 / 74 / 118 / -44 | 22.34

A dangerous 8-seed, now is Channel 6’s chance to show that it’s a great tea rather than just a good team with a few good wins. Absolutely decimating Final Four-favorites Hurtz Donut D-Holes last week had to have boosted its confidence going into the tournament, so it has to keep a potential Happy Shirt matchup later on out of its mind—its second game could be one of the best of the tournament vs. Hotel Lobby, should they both advance.

AsteroidHEAD, meanwhile, were swept in pool play. A likely matchup against the Bulletproof Tigers could be fortuitous, though, as the Tigers have several players who aren’t eligible for the tournament.

For the week
Channel 6: 1-1
AsteroidHEAD: 0-2

9 Hotel Lobby vs. 24 Bulletproof Tigers
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Lobby | 7-3 / 93 / 51 / +42 | 12.67
Tigers | 5-5 / 71 / 121 / -50 | 24.67

Hotel Lobby finally got its roster back and went 2-1 in rank play. The Bulletproof Tigers finally got a complete roster only to lose some of it to that cruel mistress Eligibility. A rough way to start the tournament for the Tigers, Hotel Lobby wants to face Happy Shirt badly. Getting past the first weekend won’t be easy, though.

On the other side, the Tigers have a good chance at taking the Less Awesome Championship, should it continue the way it’s been playing. It hasn’t lost since week 6.

For the week
Hotel Lobby: 2-0
Bulletproof Tigers: 1-1

10 Rats vs. 23 Kunt Punts
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Rats | 7-3 / 101 / 74 / +27 | 14
Punts | 3-7 / 74 / 75 / -1 | 18.67

Much like the Bad News Bagels, the Rats will have absences that can affect its playing. The Kunt Punts looked to be on the rise, but struggled throughout the season, unable to make up for its losses at several key positions to several improved teams. The difference between these two teams is how the Rats have adapted, and if it can continue to adapt to its now-missing players.

A potential matchup against Where’s My Pitches? should have Kunt Punts a little nervous, considering the way Pitches have been playing. The Kunt Punts have allowed 9 runs each game in rank play.

For this week
Rats: 1-1
Kunt Punts: 0-2

11Rockets vs. 22 Free State Growlers
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Rockets | 6-4 / 109 / 85 / +24 | 15.34
Growlers | 4-6 / 52 / 76 / -24 | 22

The Rockets were only a couple runs from sweeping rank play 3, but it couldn’t stave off the Rats in the last few innings. The Free State Growlers couldn’t handle Dan and co. at Murda, Inc., going 2-1 in rank play. The Growlers often have a surprise or two in them during the season, and this game could certainly be one if the Rockets aren’t careful. The Rockets ought to advance, but Free State has been known to hang with big-legged teams in the past. Should it not, look for the brewery to go deep in the Less Awesome side of things.

A Rockets and Red Lyon matchup ought to be a killer game, too.

12 Das Boot vs. 21 Up to Eleven Late Fees
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Boot | 7-3 / 131 / 61 / +70 | 6.67
Fees | 3-7 / 86 / 140/ -54 | 24.33

Das Boot continued its tradition of not winning Game of the Week, and the Up to Eleven Late Fees continued its season-long struggle of winning games. A win in the first round will presumably pit Das Boot vs. the Hurtz Donut D-Holes for a week 5 rematch that the Boot lost, 12-6. A Late Fees loss will most likely match them up against the Merchants of Death, for a week 7 rematch that went in the Late Fees’ favor, 12-10.

The Late Fees could ultimately face the Screamers in the Less Awesome bracket if it can get past Merchants for a second time. If Das Boot can get past Hurtz, it could ultimately face Love Garden in the playoffs to reach the Final Four like it did in 2012.

For the week
Das Boot: 2-0
Up to Eleven Late Fees: 1-1

13 Los Matadores vs. 20 Screamers
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Matadores | 6-4 / 126 / 69 / +57 | 9.34
Screamers | 3-7 / 44 / 93 / -49 | 24.67

Los Matadores stomped the Jazzhaus, 12-4, last week, clinching a three-way tie in rank play. The Jazzhaus couldn’t get a win and had surprisingly similar scores throughout. Screamers look to avenge its first week loss to the Los Matadores, 25-5, but that was a long time ago and it has since improved its roster, although it does still struggle to score. A win for Los Matadores will face them against the Love Garden Squids, the tied-for-first best defensive team. The Screamers will most likely face Harper Valley PTA, which could make for an interesting game considering its difficulty scoring.

For the week
Los Matadores: 2-0
Screamers: 1-1

14 Mario Chalmersiz vs. 19 Murda, Inc.
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Mario | 6-4 / 100 / 53 / +43 | 10.67
Murda | 6-4 / 81 / 77 / +4 | 18.67

Perhaps the best game of the first round in the tournament will be played at Holcom Gold, 5 p.m. The Chalmersiz are coming off of a huge win against Das Boot in Game of the Week. Murda, Inc. swept rank play. Regardless of the result, both teams have a legitimate shot at beating the Terrebonne Po’ Boys, and the loser has an ever better chance at winning the Less Awesome Championship.

For the week
Mario Chalmersiz: 1-1
Murda, Inc.: 1-1

15 Sacred Sword vs. 18 Goats
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Sword | 5-5 / 113 / 75 / +38 | 12.67
Goats | 5-5 / 91 / 71 / +20 | 15. 67

Both teams are coming off losses and both teams only scored two runs in its final regular season outing. The Goats want a chance to play Wildman Attack Force again, and Sacred Sword just wants to win. Either way, this isn’t a matchup anyone really expected to see given both of these teams’ histories. Perennial powerhouse Sacred Sword couldn’t find its groove, and the Goats lost some key personnel. The loser could make a deep run in the Less Awesome bracket, while the winner could surprise Wildman if it gets distracted.

For the week
Sacred Sword: 1-1
Goats: 1-1

16 Basil Ride vs. 17 Jazzhaus
Team | Rec. / Runs / R. Allow / Diff. | Rank Avg.
Basil | 7-3 / 98 / 103 / -5 | 18.67
Jazz | 4-6 / 95 / 118 / -23 | 19.67

Basil Ride had an impressive run through rank play (save for that close against the Screamers) and the Jazzhaus, courteous of that week one surprise win over the Goats, got stuck in rank pool 4 where it went 0-3. This should be one of the better games of the first round, pitting an experienced Basil Ride team that is perpetually potentially matched up against Happy Shirt in the second round, and a much-improved Jazzhaus team. No one should ever wish to be the 16- or 17-seed in KVKL, knowing you’ll likely face Happy Shirt in the next round. But, hey—life may be a bitch, but she’s totally doable.

The winner, as mentioned, faces Happy Shirt; the loser, meanwhile, has a good chance at advancing deep in the Less Awesome bracket.

For the week
Basil Ride: 1-1
Jazzhaus: 1-1