Season 31 World Series
The final two have emerged in Ichiro. AL South champs Louisville had some trudging to do in the playoffs to get to this point. It took two decisive game 5 victories over Philly and Chicago to set up a series with this season's Cinderella story, San Francisco. They fell behind 2-1 in the 7 game series and the trepidation was palpable in the gateway to the south. That is when they strung together three straight victories to secure the franchises first World Series appearance. Boise, the NL North champs had a first round bye and survived a scare by the depleted Salt Lake City Moguls in the DCS. Against Syracuse in the LCS, they split the first two games at home, but took control of the series by winning the first two in Syracuse and won the series in 6. This is Boise's second World Series in the last 3 seasons. They are hoping for better luck this time around.
This series could be a slugfest. We have two of the top offensive teams in their respective leagues facing off against each other. Each lineup showcases a MVP candidate complemented by other more than capable hitters. For the Sluggers, it's their star 2B Flash Shea that paces their offense. Shea topped his fantastic rookie campaign, in which he won ROY and MVP, with an even better sophomore season. Batting .353 with 38 HR and 132 RBI, he also stole 49 bases. What's most impressive is his plate discipline. He walked a whopping 144 times compared to only 39 strikeouts. Augie Cosby and Daryl Bollea hit 44 and 39 HR respectively and the rest of their lineup is no cake walk either. Boise starters can expect to be throwing a lot of pitches and not making it too deep into ballgames. For the Louisville rotation, Tim Ojeda and Jimmy Erdos will be looked up to contain Boise bats enough and give their bullpen a chance to hang on for victories.
Trenidad Maduro is already a star and one of Ichiro's best hitters. The HR and RBI King hit 54 HR this year to go along with 154 RBI. His .301 average is not too shabby either. When Carl Cammack is your second best hitter, you know you're doing something right. Much like the Sluggers lineup, Boise is full of guys who can do damage. Each team's catchers will have their arms tested with aggressive baserunning. Louisville stole 212 bases, good for 3rd in the AL, while Boise stole 187, good for 4th in the NL. It will be interesting to see how Boise sets up their rotation for the series. Ron Goldschmidt is the ace of the staff and put together another solid season in Boise. Their bullpen may have the edge over Louisville with Horacio Chavez as the closer. I get the feeling that could be important in this series.
This series could come down to managerial decisions and how lineups and staffs are used. I also think the defensive edge the Sluggers have at Catcher could prove to be important. Its a toss up here as far as predicting it. Toughest one I have had to make in the playoffs and I can't quite gauge what each owner will do. Each team plays as well on the road as they do at home, so even though Boise has home field advantage, I am not sure it is much of one. Being a NL owner I am pulling for Boise, but my money is on Louisville in 7.