The first place Bourne Braves and second place Falmouth Commodores are hot entering the Western Division playoffs. Bourne ended the regular season on a 4 game winning streak. Falmouth has won their last 6 games. At one point last week, the Commodores were trying to fend off Hyannis, just to make the playoffs. While Falmouth was on their streak, the Cotuit Kettleers dropped 6 in a row. Falmouth went from 9 points in back of Cotuit to a 3 point cushion in front of the third place Kettleers. The hottest team entering the playoffs is Orleans. Although seeded third in the East, the Firebirds are 9-1-2 in their last twelve games.
Bourne and Wareham split their 6 regular season games. Cotuit took 4 of the 6 games from Falmouth.
Yarmouth-Dennis and Harwich split their season series. Brewster took 5 of the 6 games from Orleans.
The name change from Mets to Harbor Hawks did not help Hyannis break what is now a 7 year playoff drought. Hyannis last made the playoffs in 2004 - and that was with a below .500 record (21-22-1). Hyannis has 95 wins over the last 6 years for an average of just below 16 wins per season.
When I saw one of the topics of the pre-playoff meeting chaired by the Commissioner is "post-game security responsibilities," I couldn't help but wonder what that was all about. I mean it's not like this is the World Cup with 100,000 soccer crazies. That also made me wonder about the security people in Wareham. What's that all about? They have people in official Wareham Gatemen shirts with "Intern" and "Staff" printed on the shirts. Then you see some guys hanging out behind homeplate with "Security" printed on the back of their shirts. I know we're talking about the mean streets of Wareham, but they need security people? Really??
Another topic on that meeting's agenda is "field and bullpen standards." What's up with that? I'm thinking maybe Yarmouth-Dennis earned the best record in the league because the bases at Red Wilson Field are only 88' apart. As far as bullpen standards go, I think the Wareham relievers have the right idea. They are mostly hidden from sight by the blue cover on the outfield fence. It makes it a lot easier to call for pizza delivery that way. Just tell the delivery man to come in the back way so that Cooper Farris doesn't see what's going on.
On second thought, maybe Hyannis should have a security force. At the day game last Saturday, there was a man and a woman who brought vuvuzelas to the game and used them whenever the Harbor Hawks got a hit or struckout an opponent. The vuvuzelas didn't get much of a workout that day, but I wouldn't have minded having a security person confiscate the annoying instruments, escort the offending parties from the premises and throw them in Hyannis harbor. The people that is, not the vuvuzelas. I'm kidding... sorta.
Chatham pitched their first shutout in the 43rd game of the season when they blanked Orleans, 3-0. The Anglers playoff hopes were sunk by going 1-5 against both Y-D and Harwich.
Orleans feasted on the West. The Firebirds were 4-0 against Wareham and Cotuit, and 3-0-1 against Falmouth. Brewster took all 4 games from Bourne. Falmouth swept Harwich in their 4 meetings.
Overall, the East beat the West 59-39-2 in head-to-head play. Of course, that means nothing now that the playoffs are here.
Harwich played in 17 one-run games, going 7-10. Orleans split 16 one-run affairs.
The 17 runs that Bourne scored in a win over Falmouth on July 3 was the most runs scored by a team in one game this year. Bourne and Falmouth combined for 20 runs that night. Those 20 runs were the most runs scored in one game until the last day of the season when Harwich beat Y-D, 16-14.
Yarmouth-Dennis, Falmouth and Chatham seemed to disprove the the theory that good pitching is more important than good hitting. Y-D finished with the best record in the league despite a league-worst team ERA of 3.65. The Red Sox lead the circuit in team batting average (.254) and homeruns (24). The Commodores earned the second seed in the West despite finishing next-to-last in team ERA at 3.59. Falmouth finished third in team batting with a .236 avg. Their 19 homeruns placed them second, behind Y-D. The Anglers had good pitching, sporting a 2.81 team ERA while holding opponents to a .217 average. Chatham's offense failed them as they ended up last in the league in team batting with a .223 avg. Less than stellar pitching by Y-D and Falmouth didn't keep them from being first and second in their respective divisions. Solid pitching by Chatham couldn't prevent them from falling short of a playoff spot.
Brewster stole an astounding 112 bases. To put that in perspective, Cotuit was next with 85. Andy Burns (25) and Drew Martinez (22) lead the way in thefts for the Whitecaps.
Enjoy the playoffs everyone! Wasn't it just a few days ago that we were looking forward to the start of the season? It sure goes by fast. Andrew and I will be providing reports on some of the playoff action. Andrew is the young, good looking guy. I'm the old guy with a clipboard and scoresheets. If you see us at a game, be sure to say hello. For those of you scoring at home... congratulations!