Tuesday, November 15, 2011

AL Round One Recap

Portland's unrelenting offensive attack allowed the Breakfasts to take the series against the curiously named Sluggers of Sante Fe. The "Sluggers," best known for their ability to drive opponents crazy on the basepaths, were held to a .228 BA for the series, which reinforces the point that you can't steal first. Ray Bragg had a good series for the up and coming Sluggers, batting .429, smacking a homer and driving in 5. Other than Sante Fe's showing heart by giving Portland all they had in the extra inning win in game 2, this one was all defending champs. Portland scored 30 runs in the four games, with Geovany Molina going .389/1/5, Pedro Bonilla hitting .353/3/5 and MVP Jeremy James hitting .471/2/6. James seemed to be involved in almost every big rally by Portland, and earns the honor over the other vets. Sante Fe's era for the series was 6.81. This is going to be a tough team to beat! Sante Fe needs to be congratulated for a strong, consistent season, and seems to only be getting better; they just happened to draw one tough opponent! By the way, maybe it's just me being naive, but I never knew what a Portuguese Breakfast was until I looked it up on the Urban Dictonary. I'm sorry I looked. Portland moves on to Augusta, where the match up will be the two top run scoring teams in the league. Their pitcher-friendly parks will more than likely have no effect on the scoring in this one.

In the series with the most drama, underdog Toledo gave Charlotte a run for their money in the only series to go the distance. Coming into the playoffs on a hot streak, Toledo got a gutsy performance from fireballer Carlos Camancho to take game 1. Charlotte then showed the 'Hens who they were up against by winning the next two by a combined score of 22-2. Charlotte then took a 5-4 lead into the 8th inning in game 4 before Toledo blasted their way back into the series with 9 runs (lead by Alex James) in the last two innings to force the deciding game 5. Momentum seemed to carry over as big Leon Hudson blasted a three-run shot in the first to give Toledo the lead. But veteran ace Alex Gabriel settled in and allowed his team's offense to get back into it. The big blow was a Tony Juarez three-run homer, and the 'Men never looked back. Carlos Valdes earns MVP honors with a line of .381/3/11. Toledo has given A.Rod a lot to cheer about during their stretch run to make it into the playoffs and then almost pulling off an upset. Congrats on a great season! Charlottte is off to face Jackson and their 112 regular season wins. Jackson won the season series 6-4.

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