Monday, April 27, 2009

Season 4 Playoffs - World Series Preview

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette

The World Series is here, and it features two teams who took quite an interesting path to get here. The Florida Shark Waves, who dominated the regular season, found themselves facing elimination early in both the Divisional and LCS rounds; however, they found a way to dig themselves out of the hole each time. The Dover Diamond Dogs took their Play-In Round and their Divisional Round to the maximum 5 games, and then swept Jackson in the NLCS to make the World Series. Another interesting fact, Dover wasn't picked to win any of their 3 series! Congratulations to both mangers, and it will surely be an exciting World Series. Let's start the preview by looking at the tale of the tape.

WORLD SERIES PREVIEW
FLORIDA SHARK WAVES (AL) VS. DOVER DIAMOND DOGS (NL)


TALE OF THE TAPE

Florida
Dover
0.303 AVG 0.275
0.367 OBP 0.337
0.457 SLG 0.469
210 HR 267
1022 RS 894
632 RA 781
3.51 ERA 4.40
1.21 WHIP 1.35
0.986 Fielding % 0.981
113
Wins
88


OFFENSE

Florida's offense is built on high average hitters who support a few solid power hitters. Florida led the league in team batting average, so their game plan has been effective. This post season, however, the bats just haven't been there for Florida, hitting .251 in 10 games, 50 points less than their regular season average. Luis Rivera seemed to step it up in the LCS, but several of the other bats for Florida continued to struggle. Dover, while not producing the high batting average and OBP Florida did, they topped Florida in the power department. In the post season, similar to Florida, they aren't putting up a great batting average (.253), but they are seeing some of their top performers produce. Dan Carter is continuing his role as team offensive leader in the post-season, hitting .346 with a .952 OPS. Supporting him, Justin Crawford has been solid, and Albert Mateo has brought the power. One concern is that Martin McCarty hasn't put it together at the plate this post-season, but compared to Florida, they've performed just a little bit better in the post-season, while we'd say that Florida had the better overall offense in the regular season.

PITCHING

Dover's pitching was right around the league average during the season. Not spectacular, but good enough to get them to the playoffs. In the post season, the Diamond Dogs pitching staff has stepped it up, cutting the team ERA by .30. The leading factor in that drop has been the dominance during this season's playoffs of Pep Brown, who once again dazzled in the LCS sweep of Jackson. Pep is 3-0 this post season with a stellar 2.06 ERA. Angel Barajas has been solid in the 'pen and the bullpen goto guy this post season. Elsewhere, the rest of the Dover staff has been mediocre, so they hope that these two hurlers can keep it up in the World Series, and that they get some help from the rest of the staff as well. Florida is known for its great pitching, leading the league in ERA this season. In the playoffs, Florida's staff hasn't been quite as solid as in the regular season, but they've still been good. They've been experimenting with some tandem starting pitchers this post-season, which seems to work well for them, at least when they are facing elimination. Obviously, Florida had the regular season edge in pitching, but it's definitely been a lot tighter between the two teams pitching wise in the post-season.

OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER

- The two teams did not face in the regular season
- Florida had better fielding in the regular season (.986 to .981)
- Dover has had the better fielding in the post season (.991 to .987)
- rawdk has never won a HBD World Series, while jiml60 has won 3.
- The Dover franchise won the World Series in Season 2 (under different ownership)
- Florida was picked in the preseason by the Gazette to lose in the World Series (albeit to Sacramento, not Dover)
- Florida was #1 in the final power rankings, Dover was #11.
- Florida held the #1 spot in the Power Rankings for the final 8 editions.

FINAL ANALYSIS

Florida dominated the regular season, but hasn't been quite as dominant in the post season, while Dover seems to have hit their stride in the playoffs after a good, not great regular season, where they qualified as a wild card. Dover is a serious threat to win this series, and we did not give them enough credit in our LCS preview. However, Florida overcoming some crazy playoff situations and overcoming them, is a sign to us that this may be their season. Four seasons of regular season dominance, we feel, will finally be awarded in this World Series.

PREDICTION: Florida in 6

Hope you enjoyed the preview, best of luck to both teams in what should be an exciting World Series!

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