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2015 MABL Postseason Matchups

Posted: September 04, 2015 | Leave Comment

It's been a long season but the 2015 BMBL postseason is finally here! In the MABL, the field is set and the top eight teams will compete for the ultimate prize - the 2015 MABL championship trophy! With a 19-5 regular season record, the defending champion Athletics earn themselves the top seed and will host the 8-seed Orioles, who earned their way into the dance with a walkoff win in their final regular season game. Let's breakdown this matchup:

Orioles (8) vs. Athletics (1)

The defending champs didn't miss a beat in 2015. They captured the #1 seed for the first time, set a franchise record for wins, and were the first team to reach 19 wins since the 2010 Blue Jays.

It was a team effort all year long for the A's, as they won with dominant pitching, tight defense, and timely hitting, as evidenced by the fact that they went 10-3 in 1-run games. The A's offense lost one of the league's most feared bats, Nick Tapper, but Newcomer Nick Barton plugged the hole. He made a strong case for ROY and MVP honors, batting .426, belting 3 HR, 3 2B, and 11 RBI. Also, after a 5 game retirement, Alan Donaruma came back and hit .447, and increased his career hits to 284, good for 4th best all time in the MABL 18+.

They are joined by steady veterans: Andrew Billig, Jordan Krall, Bo McIntyre, and Patrick Vetter to form a fearsome lineup. The breakout offensive star for the A's, though, has been Warren Asdornvuttikrai. Just 18 years old, he transformed himself from a singles hitter into a middle-of-the-lineup talent, leading the team in slugging at .711, with 2 HR and 3 3B. Rounding out the lineup are Jay Lamoureux, Dave Clarke, Brett O'Keefe, Brian Colella, Tom Vadala, and Will Wilde. With this talent, it is no surprise that they are among the leaders in runs scored and batting average.

But the A's pitching staff is the reason that they captured the top seed in the league. Long time veterans Kyle Breidenstine and Jason Kurtz anchor the A's staff. Breidenstine finished the season with a 5-1 record, a 2.02 ERA, and 1.067 WHIP. He struck out 41 over 45 innings, and impressively walked only 6 batters all season. Kurtz finished just behind Breidenstine with a 2.14 ERA. He K'ed 29 in 36 innings, and he is the owner of a 4-1 record. The third starter is second-year man Brendan Huber. The burly right-hander notched a stellar 1.44 ERA and an impressive 1.192 ERA. Relief duties will be handled by Brett O'Keefe, who finished with a 5-1 record, a 1.91 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Standing in the way of another A's playoff run is the Orioles. They return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Jason Bressner's team captured the 8-seed with a 10-14 record. They were an unlucky 2-6 in one-run games. A few bounces of the ball in their favor, and they are battling for a division crown. The Orioles feature a strong influx of talent, steadied by a solid core.

The Orioles led the league in runs scored, which is not surprising when you consider that they have 10 of 14 playoff-eligible players who batted over .333 for the season. Junior Rodriguez and Andre Souffrant both hit over .430 and were substantial power threats. The middle of the lineup is also very strong, with Michael Bartlett, Myles Comeau, Evan Derochea, and Leo Romero each drove in more than 10 runs during the year. Not to mention that shortstop Leo Romero is probably the most talented defensive player in the league. Veteran Jose De Los Santos steadied the O's offense, as always, driving hard-hit line drives all over the field.

While the O's had a leading offense, their pitching staff struggled to a 4.16 ERA. However, they have shown the ability to win ball games. The O's staff is anchored by former MABL Padre, Carlos Osorio, and Robert Nadel. Osorio finished with a 3-2 record, a 3.50 ERA, and a 1.357 WHIP. Nadel is a classic power pitcher, striking out 1.04 batters per inning while posting a 3.64 ERA and 1.280 WHIP. The rest of the staff is very much by committee. Fourteen different Orioles took the mound over the course of the season.

While the A's had a banner year, any MABL veteran can tell you that anything can happen in the playoffs. In this series, it's the A's pitching and defense versus the Orioles' strong offense. These division foes squared off three times this season. The A's took all three, but 2 of 3 could have gone either way. Game 1 was a pitcher's duel with only 8 hits between the teams, a 4-0 A's win. Game 2 was a tight, back-and-forth contest, ending 4-3. Game 3 was an offensive showcase, with the teams combining for 22 runs in just five innings, for a 15-7 A's win.

The smart money says that the series will play out like Game 2, tight games with potent offense, good pitching, and spectacular defense. Anything can happen in a 3-game series, so don't count out the Orioles just yet, as they look to pull off the upset. Look for this series to go 3 games.

Game 1: Tuesday, 9/8 at Charlestown - Ryan, 8pm
Game 2: Thursday, 9/10 at Waltham - Nipper, 7:30pm
Game 3: Saturday, 9/12 - Field TBD, 7 or 8pm (if necessary)

Grays (7) vs. Spinners (2)

After finishing atop the league last season, the Cambridge Spinners had an unceremonious, early playoff exit. Knowing what they had wasn't enough, the Spinners retooled, adding fresh faces to the pitching staff and veteran presences to the line up. 2015 saw an emergence of rookies for the Spinners, as their pitching staff was led by Dan Blum and Luc Kocher. Kocher finished just shy of the league lead in ERA (1.14) but finished tops in WHIP, with 35 K's in 37 IP. Blum finished the season at the top of almost every pitching category. His 7 wins are most in the league, and finished top 3 in IP, SO, and SOIP with a 1.42 ERA. Marty Clarke and veteran Dan Blomerth fill out the staff. Clarke finished 3rd in the league with 1.16 SOIP.

Spinners were top 3 in team batting average this season. With 10 players finishing .300 or better. For much of the year their hitting was paced by rookie, Bobby Maccioli. Mac batted .424, with 25 hits and 11 rbis. 2015 saw the return of Mike Mori to the Spinners. Not only does Mori bring a solid bat to the line up, he brings a competitive edge that has been absent since he left. Sitting at the top of the line up are Valdiviezo, Salvia and Knell. Valdiviezo and Salvia are a tough 1-2 punch, both with 20+ hits this season and 10+ steals.

Rounding off the line up are Gaffney and Killoren. Both guys started slow but have come alive, swinging big bats and combining for 16 hits in the final 6 games. These Spinners have a deep squad, full of MABL veterans and core players that have been stalwarts on the team for years - Danny Caceres, Joe and Mike Tufo, Pat Canning, Greg Megerdichian and Armando De Los Santos. They are led by their quiet team leader Omar Caceres. Omar anchors this IF and with his tireless play, leads by example.

Spinners and Grays will face off in the 1st round. These teams are no strangers to each other. For the past 6 seasons these teams have taken turns in the top spot for the Bay State Division, and have combine for 4 finals appearances, with the Grays capturing a title in 2012. Neither team has missed the playoffs during these years. In 2014, the Grays swept the regular season series. In 2015 the Spinners finished 2-1, with the Grays taking the 1st game and Spinners taking the next 2. With how well each team knows each other, this is sure to be a hard fought series by both sides.

Game 1: Thursday, 9/10 at Melrose - Morelli, 8:00pm
Game 2: Saturday, 9/12 at Malden - Maplewood Park, 8:00pm
Game 3: Sunday, 9/13 at Malden - Maplewood Park, 8:00pm (if necessary)

Dodgers (6) vs. Red Sox (3)

Bill Ferdinand's Red Sox come into the playoffs as the #3 seed after their best season since joining the league in 2008, finishing with a 17-6-1 record. Their lineup is what got them there, with a league leading average of .347. This is largely due to the fact that they had 3 playoff eligible players hit over .500. Tyler Ferdinand made a strong case for MVP honors, hitting .534, and leading the league with 31 hits, and 14 SB. All-Stars Tom Lenane and Evan Chand also hit over .500, and Jon Letourneau returned to the Sox lineup after a 1-year hiatus and drove in 23 runs in 21 games. The Red Sox also had great performances by Bill Ferdinand, Nick Radcliffe, and Craig Persechini.

There really aren't any holes in Ferdinand’s lineup. A team can't win 17 games without also getting great pitching. The Red Sox ranked 5th in the league in ERA, at 2.36. The Sox rotation was anchored by projected game 1 starter, rookie Andrew Ferrazzani. He threw 50 innings, nearly double that of any other Red Sox pitcher. Ferrazzani was 2-2, with a 2.35 ERA and 59 K's. The Red Sox pieced it together with veteran starters Tom Lenane (5-0, 2.53 ERA), Nick Radcliffe (3-2, 2.47 ERA), and Tyler Ferdinand.

The Dodgers limped into the playoffs this year, losing their last six games and finishing the regular season with a 12-12 record. However, they have shown they can beat the top ranked teams, defeating both the #1 A's and #2 Spinners in regular season action. They also gained some important playoff experience last season, upsetting the #1 ranked Spinners in the quarterfinals.

Their lineup boasts some standout bats and dynamic baserunning. The top of their lineup features Drew Cumming (.413, 26 hits, 10 SB), Trevor Barsamian (.426, 3 2B), Rudy Hersh (.300), Mike Hurley (.295) and SS Alex Ahmed (.292, 21 hits, 5 2B, 10 SB).

Since joining the league in 2013, Jeff Hall has put together one of the league's most consistent pitching staffs. Their pitching is defined by the fact that they rarely walk anyone, and their pitchers are workhorses on the mound. Mike Cole had a 1.13 ERA in 37.1 innings with only 13 BB, and player-manager Jeff Hall had a 1.83 ERA in 49.2 innings, with only 17 BB. The rotation is rounded out by Dave Roberts, who threw 60 innings, with a 3.85 ERA.

The Red Sox took both ends of a DH against the Dodgers to end the season on 8/30, winning 11-10 and 4-0. The Dodgers won the first outing on 8/8, 6-2 in 9 innings. It seems as if the Red Sox should be able to duplicate their efforts in the DH, and take this series down in 2. However, during those games, Dave Roberts threw a 9 inning CG for the W in game 1, and both ends of the DH. This could have been some great strategizing by manager Jeff Hall, as the Red Sox have not faced Mike Cole, and had limited exposure to Jeff Hall. If Cole and Hall can keep the speedsters Tyler Ferdinand and Evan Chand off the bases, this series is up for grabs. Look for this one to be tight all the way, and go to game 3.

Tuesday, September 8 at 7:30pm - Waltham, Nipper Maher Park
Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30pm - Waltham, Nipper Maher Park
Saturday, September 12 at 2:00pm - Middleboro, Pierce Playground (if necessary)

Check back here soon for additional matchup analysis