By Jason Patterson
Worth More Than A Glance…
Post-Season baseball has arrived in the Southern League.
A final push for the 2015 Championship begins Thursday night!
North Division Championship Series
Chattanooga Lookouts (1st Half Champs) vs Montgomery Biscuits (2nd Half Champs)
Game 1 @ Chattanooga Thursday, 7:15 PM
Game 2 @ Chattanooga Friday 7:15 PM
Game 3 @ Montgomery Saturday 7:35 PM
Game 4 @ Montgomery Sunday 6:35 PM (If Necessary)
Game 5 @ Montgomery Monday 8:05 PM (If Necessary)
This series has more than enough offensive fire power to keep fans interested for the full distance of five games if required. Montgomery may be the league’s hottest team entering the post-season. Chattanooga has dealt with higher expectations than anyone entering the 2015 season and the Lookouts have continually risen to the occasion. The Biscuits do not really have any holes in a lineup that has heated up at just the right time. The impressive trio of Tyler Goeddel, Johnny Field Jr and Daniel Robertson lead the way, combining for thirty home runs and over one-hundred eighty RBI’s, mixing in Patrick Leonard’s ten additional bombs and seventy-two runs scored makes it easy to see why there are plenty of reasons for Lookouts fans to be concerned. Chattanooga finally returned to it’s dominant first half form down the stretch. While many of the big names like Buxton, Berrios and Sano are no longer with the club, plenty of quality players still are. Two MVP worthy candidates in Max Kepler and Adam Brett Walker II lead the charge. Walker paced the Southern League in both homers (31) and RBI’s (106), while Kepler fell just short of the batting title (.322) and finished in the top five in both doubles and triples. For all the talk about offense, solid defensive play and a pitching staff which holds opposing key contributors in check will most likely be the keys to walking away victorious in this intriguing battle for North supremacy.
South Division Championship Series
Biloxi Shuckers (1st Half Champs) vs Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2nd Half Champs)
Game 1 @ Biloxi Thursday 8:10 PM
Game 2 @ Biloxi Friday 8:10 PM
Game 3 @ Pensacola Saturday 7:35 PM
Game 4 @ Pensacola Sunday 5:05 PM (If Necessary)
Game 5 @ Pensacola Monday 7:35 PM (If Necessary)
For this pair of hungry fan bases and these two talent-filled clubhouses the wait is finally over. Biloxi faced more challenges than anyone in the Southern League this season, they also posted more wins (78). Pensacola had to battle three different clubs all the way down to the season’s final weekend just to get in. As a result, the Blue Wahoos have already been feeling the pressure of pennant race baseball. The Post-season is always about pitching and this series packs a wealth of it. The Shuckers possess a one-two punch at the top of the rotation which is second to none. Pitcher of the year Jorge Lopez tied Birmingham’s Myles Jaye for the most wins (12) across the course of the regular season. Lopez also notched a 2.26 E.R.A., second only to teammate Tyler Wagner, who finished with eleven victories of his own. That’s right, just one victory off the wins pace set by Lopez and Jaye. Pensacola also possesses some very strong arms, starter Timothy Adleman posted the best E.R.A. (2.64) of anyone in the league not pitching for Biloxi. Closer Zack Weiss led the entire Southern League in saves (25). Wahoos catcher Kyle Skipworth handles the staff well and is also a key offensive contributor. Look for impact at the plate from Pensacola’s Jesse Winker, his team leading thirteen homers were accompanied by fifty-five runs driven home. Many believe Orlando Arcia has the most raw talent Double-A, he is the offensive catalyst for the Shuckers. Arcia batted .307 on the year and posted thirty-seven doubles and seven triples alongside eight homers. These two highly-regarded prospects are at or near the head of their respective organizational lists, providing further intrigue to a matchup Gulf-side locals are calling the “Seafood Series.”
A Little More Comparison…
Players To Focus On…
There is plenty of star power in these Division Series.
Chattanooga: Max Kepler (Lookouts Outfielder, 2015 Southern League MVP)
Kepler is a primetime performer with a knack for elevating his team in clutch moments, what could be bigger than the playoffs
Montgomery: Tyler Goeddel (Biscuits Third-Baseman, Team Leader in Batting Average, RBI’s)
Goeddell has played in more games than any other Biscuit this season and remains a consistent heart of the order contributor
Biloxi: Jorge Lopez (Shuckers RHP, 2015 Southern League Pitcher of the Year)
Lopez (and you can really throw Tyler Wagner in there as well) will be responsible for setting the tone
Pensacola: Zach Weiss (Blue Wahoos RHP, Closer, Southern League Saves Leader)
Simply seeing Zach Weiss often in this series would mean things are trending the Wahoos direction