#5 (10-11) Big Unit Bashers vs. #4 (11-10) Jager Corn Bombers – Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. 5:30 PM
This is my favorite matchup of the quarter finals, and most #4 vs. #5 games end up being the most competitive. The Bashers franchise have been around every year with a career 31-40-2 a 0.437 winning percentage. They have played more games than any other franchise with 73 total games played. They have a 4-7 playoff record with 2015 being there highlight season beating the Brewcrew Screwballs (who became the Jager Corn Bombers) in the Semi Finals to make it to the Finals. The Bombers franchise was founded in 2015 and have a 40-20 record in 60 games played, a 0.667 winning percentage. They have played 10 playoff games going 7-3 with a Championship last year, 2 of those 3 losses coming from this Basher Franchise. These teams have played each other 11 times in 3 years, with the Bombers leading the series 6 games to 5. The Bombers have a 15-point differential in the series which sits at 42-27. The Bashers have averaged less than 3 runs a game against Brett’s Bombers. Let’s get to the lineups for this week’s games.
Big Unit Bashers: (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
This is a risky lineup for Grant being the lower seed. His team plays away for the first game and if the Bombers have a lead going into the bottom of the 6th, they don’t bat. That mean’s Grant gets the start for Game 2 and Wes Ellis gets only 1 inning for both games. It’s bold, I’ll leave it at that.
Marty Rasala – Marty has been on an absolute tear this season, and unless something dramatic happens will take home rookie of the year. The #3 pick in the draft is batting 0.571 this year with a 1.238 Slugging, hitting 25 homers in 126 at bats. He is 3rd in batting ranking this season and 5th in pitching ranking. The rest of the Bashers team combined have a pitching record of 5-5, he sits at 5-1 himself this season. He has 63 k’s in 27 innings pitched, with a 2.44 E.R.A. to go along with it. In his first playoff series last year he gave up a homer in the top half of the sudden death game, a game he lost. What happens in this series will impact him more than anyone else on the roster. Everyone knows what Grant is, Wes and Lucas are actual rookies with this being there first playoff series. Will Marty be able to get a playoff series win, or will it be a second straight early exit.
Grant Reynhout – Like I said, it’s shocking he put himself second. He is putting a lot of pressure on himself to perform, something that he can do. He has had his best season at the plate in his four years with career highs in literally every single category. Not only that his strikeout rate is at a career low as well. He sits at 0.344 batting average, which isn’t the greatest, but it’s also the worst on the team. He’s found a way to grab 8 homers this season as he slowly starts to add power to his skill set. The downfall with be his pitching, he is posting a 12.79 E.R.A. this year with a strikeout rate at a career low as well. The mound moving back has affected his already inconsistent pitching and being in the #2 spot he will either save the first game, or start the second. The positive about Grant is numbers don’t always tell his story, when he’s on he can be lights out. When he hustles to first he can sneak some hits he usually doesn’t get. How serious Grant takes this series will have a big impact on if the Bashers can upset the defending Champs. If not Grant will be knocked out in the Quarter Finals for 3 of the leagues 4 seasons.
Lucas Miedema – It’s been a journey for Lu this season. The first couple weeks he came he ended up not getting to play due to weather and being late, but when he did finally debut he made it known hitting a homer in his first at bat. A couple weeks later and 14 more homers later he looks to finally get a taste of playoff ball, something I believe he will thrive in. Lucas had the opportunity to play for the National team this year and came across some of the best pitchers in the country and made contact off all of them. He boasts a 0.464 batting average this year with a 0.909 slugging to go with it. The big key for Lu is his pitching, he has focused on getting better week after week, and slowly his E.R.A. has dropped. It sits at 5.28 currently and he has struck out 27 in 19 1/3 innings pitched. Lu enjoys the big moments and thrives in them, when the mood to playoff ball swings he’s going to be able to jump in it and could be a major part in how this team fares. How he performs will be looked at by many owners next year and could be a factor in him going in the early first round or late 1st/early 2nd.
Wes Ellis – Wes is coming off a big weekend as he hit 3 homers for the Cult West Warriors on route to winning the Hometown Cup in New Carlisle, IN. A tournament that had 80 teams to start, and just his Warriors to finish. With only 8 games played this season he has hit 10 homers and boasts a 0.563 batting average. His presence in this series is going to be huge, although he’s in his first year for Leroy, he’s played wif in big time moments for many years. His 6.92 E.R.A. is nothing to brag about, but coming from a slow pitch league and throwing hard, it is impressive. He has 27k’s in 15 innings and is 3-0 in save opportunities on the year.
If this team plays for each other they could be deadly. Playing the defending champs right out of the gate is going to be tough, but this also isn’t the 2016 Bombers either. Speaking of them let’s see what they offer.
Jager Corn Bombers – (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
The Bombers are all in for game 1, and with Grant putting himself 2nd could see the Bombers move on. Brett and Erik who will pitch 4 innings in the first game have a combined 1.15 E.R.A. this season allowing just 12 runs in 62 2/3 innings pitched. The Problem will lie in game 2 when Colin and Neil have to pitch 4 innings. They have allowed 58 runs in 24 innings, a 14.50 E.R.A.
Brett Detmar – In some ways Brett got better this year, and in some ways, he didn’t. First off he played only 16 of the 22 games, it’s not bad, but coming off a Mr. Leroy season and being the owner you expect more. His batting average is 0.441 which sits 0.037 points higher than last season, but his strikeout rate is 29.9% which was also a career high. Brett is never recognized as a hitter, but the last two seasons his batting ranking was above average. This season it dropped below average again, a 28.60 ranking which is a career low for him. Pitching is where Brett makes his money and most people think he’s having an off year, but I beg to differ. One reason is Caleb, the dude is having a historic year and it makes what everyone else is doing look worse. Brett won Pitcher of the year last year with a 1.66 E.R.A and a 0.190 opponents batting average. He also struck out 66.1% of batters faced last year in 47 innings pitched. Although this year has been a smaller sample size with only 28 2/3 innings pitched to date he has a 69.6% strikeout rate, a 1.67 E.R.A., and a 0.157 opponents’ batting average. The shocking part of those numbers is he isn’t even the highest ranked pitcher on the team. Brett had a miracle run last year and we all thought it would go down as the greatest season ever for a pitcher and as a team. With Caleb performing like he is, Brett needs to take it up another notch and make a deep run this year and get himself back into the finals to solidify his legacy.
Erik Detmar – Erik is having a breakout season and if he didn’t miss 3 games to a strained back this season would be sitting 2nd in ranking. He still is 3rd only trailing 2nd by .10 points. Erik has the lowest career E.R.A. of anyone who qualifies at 1.72 in 87 1/3 innings pitched. He has never had a season with a E.R.A. over 2.75 and he just turned 18 this year. He came into the league at 15 and his best years are in front of him. Another big key for Erik this year has been his hitting, his average went up to 0.433, 0.63 points better than last year. To put that into perspective his career batting average is 0.379. He hit 13 homers this season after only 7 in his first three years. This could be the last time we see the Detmar’s on the same team. With Erik looking for an ownership role next year these two will soon be facing off against each other.
Neil Krooswyk – It was a big year for Neil in about everything other than Wif. Neil was suppose to be an owner this year before giving up his team due to his unavailability this year. He bought a house, got married, and now looks to make an impact after getting bounced around from team to team. Last Monday, he was the 7th player to finally crack the 50 career home run mark. In only 8 games played this season he has 12 homers and 19 RBI’s. The real question will be from the mound. A 17.47 ERA this year, he has given up 15 Homers in 11 1/3 innings pitched. He has to pitch 3 innnings, including 2 in the second game and will face a lineup that can hit it out. Not only that, but with Erik due up to pitch before him, their best fielder will be on the bench when he’s on the mound. Neil was critical in the Sliders upset against the Badgers last year and it may come down to a big bat from him in a sudden death game 3 again this year.
Colin Lautenbach – A surprise return from Colin has been a huge addition for the Bombers. He leads the team with 15 homers and 28 RBI’s and has only played in 10 games. Colin has been crucial for the Bombers offense and he will play his first career playoff series this week. Like Neil, Colin has struggled from the mound this year. A 11.84 E.R.A. and only 13 k’s in 12 2/3 innings pitched could be worry some for a team known for pitching. Did Colin get enough practice in season to get his pitching right, or will we see some inconsistencies in big moments. He is slated to close the game for the Bombers in the second game, a pressure moment that could be crucial.
Brett had to take a different approach this season due to the new salary restrictions that left him in a jam. How well Neil and Colin pitch will determine if this team moves on, it’s simple.
This is the toughest series for me to predict, Grant throwing in the 2nd swayed who I think will win this series. I got the Bombers winning Game 1, the Bashers winning game 2, then Bombers pulling it out in the sudden death game 3.