The Nockers sit atop the league at 18-8
Behind them only in tie breakers and also at 18-8 are the Weemen
The Sasquatch from the Grenade division are in third at 16-10
More from the grenade division, the Bassholes and Blaze are dead even at 14-12
And the last team still in contention are the Baystate Butter Tongues at 13-11
Lowell Chiefs will not receive a playoff berth and currently sit at 7-19
and the Tribe have secured last place in the league with a 2-22 record
The competition between the 6 remaining teams rivals that of the 2014 Winter season parody. 2014 Winter, as most will remember, was an “any given Sunday” or an “any team could win” type of season.
Vegas would have a tough time assigning odds to the 2014 Summer post season class. Let’s check in on our current team stats.
First up, the offensive side of the ball:
The Butter Tongues edged out the Blaze this week and now hold the best team batting average in the league. .373
The Blaze however retain a league best and staggering 1.149 OPS
Woonsocket Nockers have earned a league high .479 OBP
Overall however the Blaze are this seasons offensive power house. In addition to the league leading OPS the Blaze have a .369 average, .452 OBP and 42 team home runs, also a league best.
On the defensive end, specifically pitching
The Weemen outshine the competition here. Worcesters pitching stats show how they are able to win so man low scoring games. The team ERA is a league leading 2.30. A 1.44 whip and K’s earned of 194 also sit atop of the NEAWL. These impressive stats account for the Weemens league low of 54 runs allowed on the season.
The only pitching category the Weemen don’t hold is walks given. This stat is held by The Nashoba Valley Sasquatch pitching staff at 42.
Had we uploaded a show last week we could have had some interesting playoff scenarios for you. At present however, only the Bones division bye is up for grabs. The Butter Tongues who have locked up a playoff spot are out of contention for the bye already. This leaves only the Worcester Weemen and the Woonsocket Nockers. These teams are dead even on season record. The Nockers however hold the head to head tie breaker with 3-1 on the regular season series. The Weemen will need a little help from the Chiefs or Bassholes if they hope to get the Bye. An additional roadblock for Worcester will be the absence of team MVP Devin Amidon. The Weemen will face the Sasquatch and Blaze in that order. Worcester are down in the Sasquatch series 2-1, however Nashoba Valley will likely be without their own MVP, Dave Tamarro. The Weemen have fared slightly better with the Blaze and hold the lead on that series 2-1. While there is not much left to play for in the Grenade division it is unlikely the Sasquatch or Blaze will give the Weemen a lay up here. The Sasquatch are on a 3 game losing streak and surely do not want to head into the post season in that kind of shape. The Blaze who will need to battle the Bassholes in the first round would love to take home field advantage in the series.
The Nockers have the schedule on their side along with the tie breakers. The Bassholes should present problems for the Nockers in their match up but the Nockers hold that series 3-0 currently and seem to have found the formula to flush Flushing Pond. The Bassholes do have Dave Sullivan back in the line-up again and are starting to play post season type of ball. Don’t count out an upset here. The Chiefs are an interesting study. On paper it would look like the Nockers take an easy win here, the Chiefs however have a knack of playing up to their competition. 5 of Lowell’s 7 wins on the season come against very game competitors, the Sasquatch, Butter Tongues, Blaze and Bassholes have all fallen to this team. The last two times the Nockers faced the Chiefs, they barely walked away with wins. On July 1st the Nockers edged the Chiefs by a score of 4-3 and on the 29th of the same month they were only able to take a two run victory. The Chiefs would love to be a bracket buster here and go out with a last hoorah on the season. These guys love their stuffed crust afterall.
Moving on to actual playoff talk, The Blaze and Bassholes will face off in a 3 game series to get things started. The winner will advance to the Grenade Division Championship vs the Sasquatch. The Blaze and Bassholes are tied in their head to head record 2-2. Interestingly the Bassholes have a substantial run differential lead in that series with a plus 17. Both Blaze losses come with Mike King on the mound however. In Kings absence late in the regular season Mike Taft seems to have pitched his way into the #2 role in this rotation. When Mike Thompson was on the mound the Blaze held a + 8 run differential in this series. This post season match up may well be won by management as much as the play on the field. The matchup is of interest due to the different styles of wiffle the two clubs play as well. The bassholes have very much been about run prevention this season. This being thanks to both Fish and Megow from the bump but also Mike Houle’s much improved defensive fielding as of late. The Holes have only allowed 76 opposing runners to come across the plate this year. This is in comparison to the Blaze’s 145 runs against. The Blaze on the other hand need an overpowered offense to make up for their lack of run prevention and boy do they answer the call. The Blaze hold 146 runs for this season in comparison to the Bassholes 89. With no real weakness in the lineup it is hard to pick your poison against the Blaze. Thompson, O’Grady and King are all swinging a big bat and with Mike Taft having his best offensive season since Winter ’13 there are no guarantees. What will the Blaze rotation look like come September? Will offense or defense carry a team to the divisional ship? Only time will tell.
In the Bones division things are still unclear but whoever faces the BT’s in the first divisional round will have their work cut out for them. If Jason Murphy is pitching to his ability he is sure to get two games in the series and will be tough to beat. With Murphy at the bump, the Butter Tongues can have a shut-down defense and the team is batting a .373 average to help him out. If Paul Sramowicz makes his return he will sit as the anchor in the Tongues lineup. Mullen and Murphy both are in the HR race with 13 and 14 dingers of their own and while Tony P only has 5 they have come in the clutch. The Nockers have extra incentive to win the bye week as they have been unable to beat the Butter Tongues on the field yet this season. Their only Win over the Tongues came by way of forfeit. The Weemen bested the Tongues twice in the regular season and also accepted a forfeit from the Baystate. Devin is the key to Weemen success if they were to face the BT’s as he seems to be one of the only batters able to hit Murph with any real consistency. The Nockers can’t be counted out either. While they are favored for the bye at this point they would not be an easy pass for the Butter Tongues either. The Nockers hold a .366 batting average and a league high 171 runs for. Woonsocket have a dangerous lineup from 1 to 4 and will capitalize on any mistake by the opposing pitcher. The Nockers may hold the edge with pitching rotation depth as well.