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OK, eight, counting the Consolation bracket. Actually 16 — I don't ever mean to slight the Barfield division, it's just that I don't have access to it. But I hope you know what I mean by the title, anyway. We've reached the Semi-Finals.

Congratulations to Lars of AGF and Brad of the Chatsworth Halos, who each won their Alomar championship quarter-final by a 9-2-1 margin, ending fine campaigns for the Red Mosquitos and Gashouse Gorillas, respectively. Neither matchup was as one-sided as the final score might suggest, with several categories narrowly decided. Spicol’s club played well earlier in the week, but couldn't sustain their momentum on the weekend, and Snellville Jones, trailing just 6-5 late Sunday afternoon, helplessly watched SV and ERA slip away during a rare John Smoltz meltdown. The two California-based winners now face Ontario teams that enjoyed first-round byes; it was the only week of the season where Gwyn and I truly couldn't lose. Not so any more; it's "sudden-death" for all of us, as Mebion Glyndwr takes on AGF, while my Toronto Walrus meets Chatsworth.

Both Alomar consolation matches went down to the wire with identical 7-5 scores. The Horse Field Hammers knocked out the Eastern Shore Birds and will face the Austin Senators this week, while Baird Brain eliminated the SABR Magicians and get Hannibal’s Cannibals next. Tough luck for the Birds, whose bats went nearly silent on Sunday while the Hammers overtook them in Runs and AVG. The Magicians can spend the offseason blaming their loss on Javier Vazquez and Miguel Batista, who were to team ERA and WHIP what staring at the sun is to your retinas.

That’s what it often comes down to in Head-to-Head matches, especially in the playoffs: avoid disaster on the mound and get consistent production from your hitters. In a seven-day showdown, luck is involved in so many ways, not the least of which is the schedule. For example, if either the Phillies or Indians get rained out, I “lose” three key hitters that day, yet may not survive long enough to benefit from their stats in an eventual makeup game. Who the MLB clubs play, where, even when makes a difference: Freddy Garcia, finally healthy and slated to make two starts this week, has the misfortune to draw Johan Santana as his mound opponent in the first one. (Rats!) Managers can decide to play their rookies, giving the guys you’re counting on, those veterans who got you to the Final Four, an untimely rest.

Yesterday, it hurt to drop Russ Adams, a player I've greatly admired since his college days and own in both my AL Roto keeper leagues. I was sure he’d be an upgrade over Royce Clayton, but with lefties going against the Jays tonight and Wednesday plus the off-day tomorrow, he could only get four starts this week (at the most) and I want every available offensive spot filled, as often as possible. That's been a general "rule of thumb" for me all year — I rarely bench an offensive player — but it's even more important in a do-or-die week. Today, I’m taking a calculated risk on another recent MI callup, Jeff Keppinger, in the Mets doubleheader, and I'll be playing more lineup hunches as they occur. I may be crying about my own impatience in this space next Monday, but second-guessing myself is second nature. Where would the fun be in standing pat or going by the book all the time?

I have tremendous respect for my opponent, who led the league in transactions, in part because he uses an interesting strategy to accumulate IP and increase his chances for Wins. Brad picks up available free agents to plug into his rotation almost every day. Last week, that revolving door approach, which included luminaries like Seo, Young, Anderson, Waechter, Munro and Cabrera, tallied 83.2 innings yet didn’t prevent him from winning all the pitching rate stats. It does have another effect: creating indecision in the opposition front office and dugout. I don't know whether to aim for quality or quantity from my own staff. It also must be great for program sales. Recent Walrus discard Mark Redman is one of the newest Halos hurlers, however temporarily, and after a frustrating year of guessing mostly wrong with him, I am hoping he doesn’t come back to haunt me again tomorrow night. Looking farther ahead, the anticipated Bonderman-Garcia duel next Sunday could be a deciding factor in our match.

Past performances don't mean very much in trying to pick HtH winners. AGF thumped Mebion Glyndwr 11-1 in their regular season meeting, but that was way back in Week 8, and both teams have changed a great deal in three months. Though my match with Chatsworth was more recent, it was during the infamous "short week" at the break, so a 6-5-1 decision proved even less than usual. Best of luck to everyone still in contention in both brackets and both divisions, as they try to earn a berth in the two-week-long finals.
BBFL: Then There Were Four | 11 comments | Create New Account
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Lucas - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 10:59 AM EDT (#35528) #
Barfield Playoffs:

#3 Homers Jays Simpsons 7, Team Junior Felix 2 (3 ties)
to play Ghost Man on Third

#4 Edmonton Decepticons 9, #5 Good Spots 3
to play Slippery Pete

#9 Vancouver Cyphers 7, #12 Freddy Beach Fracas 5
to play Pistol Nine

#10 Monkeymen Cubed 7, #11 Capers 5
to play TMG Eh's
_Jordan - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 11:05 AM EDT (#35529) #
Much like the Yankees, I acquired Javier Vazquez in the hope he'd be the anchor of my pitching staff. And an anchor he was, dragging my team all the way to the bottom. Hopefully, much like the Magicians, the Yankees' own stay in the playoffs will be equally brief. Congrats to Baird Brain, and good luck to all remaining competitors.
_Rob - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 02:43 PM EDT (#35532) #
I just noticed in The Leftovers that the match between Moffatt's Matsumura Fishworks and Blue Jays Rejects ended in a tie, and BJR won because they had a higher ERA this past week (2.59 to 1.91).

Yahoo! really needs to rethink its rules. Breaking a season tie based on who won more games in Week 21 is asinine, wiping out Wins and Saves if a team doesn't reach the minimum in IP is mind-boggling, and this newest playoff tiebreaker, basing a team on its last 46 innings pitched is...just plain dumb, since I just ran out of adjectives.

Incidentally, if MF and BJR were tied in ERA, the next tiebreaker would have been batting average, which Moffatt led .316 to .254. So an arbitrary rule eliminated one team from the Championship Playoffs.

Matsumura Fishworks finished with a better record than BJR AND beat them 7-4-1 in Week 7. If I were Moffatt, I would file a protest. ;)

Nothing against "Blue Jays Rejects", of course. They beat me by 30.5 games in the season, and are clearly a better team. They just happened to be the beneficiary of a stupid Yahoo! rule.
Lucas - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#35533) #
Last year, I beat Gashouse Gorillas 7-5 in the second round. If his team had allowed one fewer earned run or thrown one more scoreless inning, he would have had a lower ERA than me, making the score 6-6 and giving him the win based on the tiebreaker.
_Cristian - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#35534) #
Don't get me started on Yahoo's tiebreakers. Cost me promotion to Alomar it did...grumble...grumble...grumble.
_AGF - Monday, September 13 2004 @ 11:07 PM EDT (#35536) #
I appreciate Spicol's endorsement although I was heavily dependent on luck as always.

The best example of this was my MVH - recent waiver wire pickup Angel Berroa with a 6R/6RBI/.478/.520/.739 line. Honorable mentions to Lofton's 8 runs scored and 2 steals as well as Patterson's 5R/3RBI/4SB/.310/.355/.586 line.

The MVP was was the above mentioned Zio who I got in a trade involving Ichiro, which has let to much second guessing on my part. This week however, Zito had 1W/13.1IP/2.70ERA/1.13WHIP/2.80K/BB.

In any case, onwards to Mebion Glyndwr who passed me in the league standings the last 3 weeks of the season, and his troops led by Vladimir, Lee and Sheets.
Lucas - Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 01:12 AM EDT (#35537) #
It appears one of my middle relievers will be facing a suspension and perhaps assault charges.
_snellville jone - Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#35538) #
My compliments, Brad, on a hard fought series. Tough loss, but as Scott pointed out, I'm getting used to it. It's bad enough that I'm a Braves fan and have to watch Smoltz blow a three run lead for Jose Capellan. It turns out I would have lost either way as the Halos bats heated up in the latter part of the day. Oh well, at least I can look forward to a higher draft pick than last year!
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