Sacred Sword v Yello Sub -GOTW
Week 4, the KVKL equivalent to the turn card in Hold ‘em, and like the turn card, the fates of many teams will be determined this week. Although this game has no impact on pool rankings, there is a very good chance that this game will have some bearing on tournament seeding. This also happens to be my most anticipated game of the season thus far.
Sacred Sword struggled through a brutal schedule last season, going 4-6 and being bumped to the number 7 overall tournament seed behind a soaring Rangelife team. Most teams would melt under such conditions, but they never seemed to lose their cheer (or trash talking) and maintained a strong team chemistry rooted in strong friendships off the field. They circled the wagons in the tournament to take First Blood to the wire. They recruited CJ and Alexis from First Blood and moved up to the number 3 overall seed to start the season. Known for perfecting the bunt, bunt, bunt, kick offense, this team has had to diversify their arsenal in response to the new encroachment line, elite 3B men, and longer bases. They have a good balance of power, base knocks, and, of course, bunting.
Yello Sub looks as strong as any team in the league, as evidenced in their game against Pita Pit. This is a team that starts with defense and is showing the ability to generate run against any team, any time. For more on YS, see Week 2 Preview blog.
This seems like it will be a very competitive game. Comparing offenses, I give SS the advantage because I think they have better power. Defensively, YS is the stronger unit. That being said, offenses don’t play offenses. If YS can neutralize SS offense, I think they will have a favorable matchup with SS defense. I predict YS takes this game for two reasons. The first is that they are battle tested after their PP game while SS’s strongest opponent was Liberty Hall. The second is that SS is missing their CF and one of their strongest offensive weapons in Adam Mitchell. PREDICTION: YS 12 SS 9
Slowride v Red Lyon
The Langston Hughes Pool has featured an upset every week so far. Amidst all the chaos, the picture is surprisingly clear at this point. That is, assuming no team forfeits to Ms. Fortune’s (sorry, Ms. Fortune’s). Eldridge has locked up the #1 ranking, even if they lose to Jazzhaus as they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Red Lyon and Slowride. RL and S will be competing for the #2 and #3 ranking as they both own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Jazzhaus. That mean Jazzhaus is the smoking ace amongst the 4 seeds (I predict they are now free to perfect their beer shotguns before at-bats) and Ms. Fortunes rounds out the deepest pool in the league.
I mentioned Slowride last week and said they could be a #3 seed in most other pools (see also MMKU week 2). They proved me right and wrong, proving my speculation and disproving my assumption that they wouldn’t beat Jazzhaus. Well done. They went up early in that game and I think they will need to do it again this week to have a chance at another upset.
RL, like Sacred Sword, is another team that struggled in rank play last year, losing all 5. But they went on a recruiting binge (I think that’s an appropriate term) and has most of the pieces to be a dominating team. I gather they like to keep things fairly laid back, and seem to be keeping in step with their team’s long history as a “bar” team that maintains a balance of competitiveness and fun. My guess is that the competitive juices get going and they deny a pool upset for the 4th week in a row. PREDICTION: RL 14 S 8
Murda-Tang v Mad Greek
There are still a lot of games between teams in this pool, but I’m speculating that the winner of this game takes #2 in the pool. Murda-Tang is coming off a surprising loss to Channel 6 (for a recap read MMKU Week 3), while Mad Greek’s only loss is to Das Boot. Murda-Tang has a collection of perennial all-stars that is still developing the rest of its teammates. Conversely, Mad Greek is a collection of gym rats who have been playing together for years and rely heavily on the strength of its entire unit. PREDICTION: If MG can contain the big kickers, the strongest team wins MG 11 MT 9
Eastsiders v Brew Ballers
Playing to decide #3 and #4 in the James Naismith Pool, these teams will be dangerous in rank play. Eastsiders are rebuilding a storied team and look to be putting together very athletic pieces. BB are coming off a heartbreaking, 12-inning epic battle loss to Replay and could regain their swagger from last season with a win this week. PREDICTION: BB 9 E 7
PEANUTS AND CRACKERJACKS
Los Luchadores v Rangelife—Rangelife looked good in the GOTW, but they are playing a bunch of Mexican wrestlers who also happen to be the best collection of all stars since the formation of Suncreations/First Blood. LL seems to be sleepwalking through their schedule with ease. Can Rangelife catch them off guard?
Jazzhaus v Screamers—once one of my most anticipated games of the week, Jazzhaus is in a nose dive while Screamers seem to have found their rhythm, knocking out opponents early. Like the rest of us, Screamers sure wish they could have had some time to warm up before they had to play those wrestlers. Despite the momentum of both teams, this could be a great game between preseason 1 and 2 seeds.
West Coast v Free State—This will decide the #3 and #4 in the John Brown Pool. WC is my favorite but they did just lose their best costume winning 1B.