First Round Outlook

This Sunday, August 4, 2013, is the one game-elimination playoff for the New York Emperors Stickball League. Games begin at 10am. The schedule was posted already but here it is again:

1st Round
Field 1: 10am Emperors vs Ravens (Leland/Royals Umpire)
Field 2: 10am Saints vs D-Backs (Gold/Stem Umpire)

Field 1: 11am Leland vs Royals (Emperors/Ravens Umpire)
Field 2: 11am Gold vs Stem (Saints/D-Backs Umpire)

Second round (semi-finals) and Championship to follow immediately!

I’ll be posting scores and game updates on Sunday via the Facebook page.

1st Round Preview
Ravens Vs Emperors – After trading wins against each other by the same score of 4-0, the Emperors took the season series with a 10-3 victory to end June. 2 wins separate these teams in the standings. Both teams have an RBI machine on the roster. For the Ravens its Al Jr, for the Emps it is Anthony Caban. Al has 21 RBIs on the season while Caban has 19. Each team also has good hitters at the top of their lineups, Vido for the Emps and Gil for the Ravens. Both make good contact and are the keys to jump-starting their lineups. The biggest difference between both teams is probably power and defense. The Ravens have the edge in the power department as they have hit 16 HR’s compared to the Emperors’ 8. Even with that glaring stat, the Ravens have only scored 5 more runs than the Emps. If we talk defense, I have to give the edge to the Emperors. They have allowed fewer runs, 76 compared to 97. Even though they have benefited from two forfeits, they seem to make an incredible play when needed. There has been an absence of players for each team this season as life calls us away from the Blvd. The regular season is over, both teams should be at full strength on Sunday.

Diamondbacks Vs Saints – The Saints swept the season series against the Diamondbacks and outscored them by a total of 12 runs. The Dbacks ended their season in a bit of a funk, going 1-7 in eight games. (That one win came from a forfeit win against the Bandits). The Dbacks are lead by Mark C. and his 38 hits. He has been a bright spot at the top of the lineup for his team. He’ll need to get on base and give Martin and Jay a chance to drive him in if they expect upset the Saints. Martin has had another solid season, acquiring at lease 20 hits in back to back seasons. Jay on the other hand, is having his most productive season. His has reached highs in hits (23) and HR’s (4). His 13 RBIs leads the Dbacks. The Saints have risen from the bottom. Roster changes took this team out of the cellar in 2012 and into second place. Their hits leader, with 36, is Pedro. He sits in the leadoff position and has a number of capable RBI producers behind him. There are five players on the roster with 10 or more RBIs. Joey leads the team with 16 RBIs and is only a couple ahead of run producers Josh and Warfield. The Dbacks have the speed and youth advantage while the Saints have the power and experience advantage.

Royals Vs Leland – Leland swept the season series against the Royals by an average margin of 3.5 runs. That’s not terrible but it isn’t the greatest either. Getting swept doesn’t mean a thing on Sunday unless you lose for the fourth time to the same team. Leland has had an up and down season and looking at the stats definitely reflects that. Don’t get me wrong, there are several solid seasons by their players, but there’s not the normal “Leland” seasons there. Missing are the 30 and 20 RBIs by multiple players. Izzy has had another solid year for Leland, once again amassing 30+ hits and double digit RBIs. Edwin has had another solid year for his team at the top of the lineup. Even with 41 hits, the major difference is that his power numbers have taken a slide. His slugging percentage dropped from .771 to .600. Still pretty good, but it is a drop off. The same goes for Dave, who in my opinion is Leland’s most important hitter. His numbers have dropped a bit although 30 hits and 22 RBIs is still a remarkable feat. The Royals have had an impressive offensive season, averaging 5.7 runs a game and scoring 137 runs. Looks like the mid season roster changes actually helped the team. Kevin has had his best season, two years removed from a major ankle injury. His 22 RBIs led the team as well as his 4 triples. If his brother, Eric, didn’t get that one extra hit last week, he would’ve been tied for the team lead in that category as well. The Royals have five guys with 30 plus hits, Frankie, Eric, Kevin, Ruben and Christian. A key for the Royals is Christian. He has been on fire the last couple of weeks, going 12 for 23 in his last five games. If this comes down to a defensive game, you can give Leland the edge there. Their outfield has played together all season and is one of the league’s best.

Stem Vs Gold – This is a matchup between the top seeded Gold and the lowest seeded team, the Stem. That usually means Stem is in for a bad first round. If the regular season is any indication, Stem has lost by the mercy rule two times at the hands of The Gold. Pito has put together his third consecutive 40 hit season for his team with an impressive .488 batting average. Going with the theme here, his bat means allot for his team at the leadoff position. Dusty has had a great season and could be the leading candidate for this season’s MVP. He hit .513 with 41 hits, 8 HR’s and 30 RBI’s. All this and he doesn’t need to carry his team as they have a very solid lineup. Their defense is also top notch and their outfield didn’t miss a beat when they brought in Josh to replace the departed Albie. Stem has to hope for a defensive game in order to win. They are the lowest scoring team in the playoffs and have given up more than twice the number of runs as their opponent in the regular season. Skylar is the team’s best athlete. He can hit, run and field. He will need to bring his 21 hits, 5 HR’s and 12 RBI’s on Sunday and produce. DJ has had a breakout season with 20 hits, 4 HR’s and 16 RBIs. Stem has their work cut out for them. They will need breakout games from multiple players if they are to dethrone the champs.
See you on the Blvd!
-Ron