Quarter Finals Preview - Sliders @ Badgers
#6 (9-12) Backdoor Sliders vs. #3 (12-9) Bushleague Badgers
This is the rubber match, these two teams are facing off in the quarter playoffs for the 3rd straight season. They have played each other a league leading 13 times in 3 years with the Badgers winning 9 of the 13 matchups. They have a 86-53 Run Differential in those games as well. Jordan Mosel and the Sliders have the Badgers number after last year’s upset to send the Badgers packing in the best series Leroy has seen to date. The Backdoor Sliders name is the only team name that has been around for every Leroy season. The Sliders were almost a team that didn’t happen this year, but when Neil backed out of being an owner, Jordan jumped right in to fill the void, and bring the Badgers back to life. The Sliders have a career 30-40-1 record in 71 games played, a 0.429 winning percentage. They have a 2-7 playoff record and only making it to the semi-finals to get shut down by the eventual champs. The Bushleague Badgers debuted in 2015, and since have a record a 30-26-3 in 59 games played, a 0.536 winning percentage. The Badgers have 3-4 record in the playoffs making it to the semi finals in 2015 before getting booted by the eventual champs as well.
Backdoor Sliders: (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
Robby Zandstra – The reason the Sliders season wasn’t a complete failure was because of Robby. He played 17 games this year which is a career high and we haven’t even played any playoff games yet. His batting numbers were typical Robby numbers this year. A 0.455 batting average, 1.017 Slugging with career highs with 19 Homers, 44 RBI’s and 36 runs scored. His pitching was very efficient this year as well with a 5.11 E.R.A. in 27 innings pitched. He struck out 43 batters as well this year. Robby is a player that can flip a switch when he’s ready to go and with the type of roster behind him it wouldn’t surprise me he can get back to the finals for the second straight season.
Andrew Sitter – A very disappointing season for the #2 pick in the draft this year. He finished with a career low 0.361 batting average and had only 8 homers playing in just 11 games this year. A very demanding work schedule has taken some wind out of him this year and it didn’t show to much in his pitching. He finished the regular season with a 3.23 E.R.A. in 13 innings pitched, with 19 k’s to go with it. After some talks with Tim both agreed the move to the Sliders would be a better fit for both sides.
Garret Lytle – Another first timer this year that has made a big time impact on the league. Garret boasts a 0.475 batting average with 17 Homers and 39 RBI’s in only 14 games played this year. The pitching has been the issue adapting to this year. With him scheduled to start game 2, what he does in his two innings of work will be crucial if the Sliders can pull another upset. Not only that, Garret missed last week’s games to a slight ankle sprain that could play a factor in his ability to base run this series, something everyone should keep an eye on. Being a true rookie we shall see if he can find another gear when the game is on the line.
Jordan Mosel – Big time player, he found himself again this year. Last year Jordan hit 1 homer in 23 games, this year he has hit 17 in 22 so far. He has his batting average back up over 0.400 and has doubled his total bases from the previous year. His pitching has also took a turn for the better. He dropped his E.R.A. down to 6.26 and his opponents batting average is at 0.391, the first time in his career he has seen it sub 0.400. His previous strikeout career high was 21 back in 2014. This year he has 45 k’s in 30 2/3 innings pitched. He had the big save to seal the deal last year verse the Badgers and has set himself back in the slot to make the save to get the sweep if things work in their favor.
This Sliders team is deadly, but definitely has some holes that could bite them. Everyone on this team has high ceilings, but also low floors. At least two of them have to be on their game, with the other two at least producing for them to get by the Badgers. Garret will have to make a quick transition to the different feel that comes with the playoffs. It’s win or go home.
Bushleague Badgers: (This will be pitching and batting rotation)
Luke Prince – Not much info on this guy as he was a very late signing to the Badgers in a last minute move for the Badgers. He hit 0.366 in 6 games with 7 homers and 14 RBI’s. His pitching was ok, but nothing to brag about. Batters had a 0.400 opponents batting average on him and he game up 4 homers in just 6 innings pitched. This will be a huge x factor for the Badgers and I am shocked he is leading off for the Badgers. If this goes to a sudden death game 3 and you got a player who has played only 6 career innings on the mound, things could get ugly. This will test what kind of player Luke is.
Sam Staal – A seasoned vet at this point, Sam has been a huge part of the league this year. It will be fun to watch Sam just play and enjoy himself instead of getting beers for guys, and setting up lights. I probably won’t be able to get him to do nothing, but it was a season in the right direction for Sam. We may never see a 2014 form of Sam again, but he got closer this year. A 0.416 batting average compared to last year’s 0.240 is only the start of how he’s been able to turn things around. He hit 7 homers with 36 runs scored this year, both career highs. The biggest plus for Sam is his k rate. Last year he struck out 83 times in 150 at bats, an insane rate. This year he has toned it down to 64 k’s in 154 at bats. From the mound his numbers are similar to last year, maybe a little worse. A 5.63 ERA this year in 32 innings pitched is very respectable. He sits at 44k’s this year trying to pass last year’s mark of 52. I think we see some big things from Sam this series.
Jared Jonkman – I’m not sure why he has himself 3rd. He will start the 2nd game for the Badgers in his best pitching year of his career. A 3.56 ERA so far this year and for the first time his opponents batting average sits below 0.300 at 0.293. He has a career high 58 k’s in 32 innings pitched. He has been a machine from the plate as well hitting the 30 home run mark this season. Not only that he had 51 RBI’s and 45 runs scored to go with it in 20 games played this year. Jared has to over achieve and set the tone for his team this series and be the hitter he can be.
Jeremiah Wiltjer – Some rumblings are in the air he may not be able to make the games. The lack of commitment could be devasting for the Badgers if he doesn’t show it would be an automatic forfeit. If he can’t make it the Badgers have till game time to find a replacement under the salary cap, but let’s hope he can make the games. Jeremiah was spoiled in his first season, getting placed on a dominant pitching team that helped mold into the stud pitcher he is today. The problem is inability to consistently come this year that has hurt him. He has played in 14 games this year, and has added some power to his skill set with 11 homers to date. The pitching has some decent numbers, but it doesn’t tell the story of how much velocity he can put on a ball. He sits at a 3.09 ERA for the year in 21 1/3 innings pitched. He is arguably the team’s number one pitcher this year, a huge change from being the #4 guy on the Bombers last year. He has 50 k’s this year in 85 batters faced.
I don’t know how I feel about this lineup. The uncertainty of Jeremiah seems to be a concern for Jared as he has him slated in the four spot. If Jordan can force a game 3 some how or another and put the pressure on a rookie to shut down the inning he could sneak out a big time series win. This could be a very competitive series and I’m going with the Sliders in 3 for the second straight year.