A.L. Division Play-in Series:
Jacksonville Seminoles vs. Chicago Black Sox
The key to this series is very simple. Can Rob Becker and Chicago's offense score enough runs against Jacksonville's big 3 starting pitchers? In a short playoff series, there are no breaks when you're facing Ahmed Sanford, Vance Collier and Gene Hayes. If Chicago can stay in games late, the Seminoles bullpen has been shaky, blowing 20 saves this season.
Prediction: Jacksonville wins series, 3-1.
Norfolk Tobacco Farmers vs. Colorado Springs Mile High Marines
This is a really intriguing matchup. Colorado Springs scored 100 more runs than Norfolk during the regular season, led by MVP candidate Alfredo Valentin who crushed 72 home runs and was three shy of 200 RBI. However, the Tobacco Farmers offense was far from anemic and I give the edge to their pitching staff as all five Norfolk starters won at least 13 games and Peter Pong saved 37 of 40.
Prediction: Norfolk wins series, 3-2.
N.L. Division Play-in Series:
Anaheim Angeldynasty vs. Oklahoma City Power Failure
Two teams. Identical records. Neither team closed out the season well. Both teams are fairly even in offense and pitching. The one statistic that sticks with me though is the Power Failure's league-leading 30 wins in 1-run games. I'm guessing that Harry Holzemer and Sammy Piedra will be the Game 1 starters and I'm predicting the team that wins this game will win the series, 3-2.
Prediction: Oklahoma City wins series, 3-2.
Kansas City Monarchs vs. Louisville Beaners
The only thing that may prevent the Beaners from getting to the Division Championship Series are the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. The Beaners middle relievers make Paula Abdul look stable. The starters need to eat up innings and hand the ball directly to Joseph Yoshii. By the way, is it just me or did everyone else think J.R. Barkley retired like 6 seasons ago? Kansas City needs either Jim Aurilia or Hector Cordero to win two games to advance to the next round.
Prediction: Louisville wins series, 3-2.