Before we get started ALL OF US HERE at the Backyard Blog would like to congratulate River City Cuban Missile’s owner Mike Lobman and his lovely wife Jamie on the birth of their baby girl, Emilie Grace. She’s beautiful, and I only see four (FREAKISHLY LONG) fingers there but I assume the 5th one is on there as well. And that is just great. Congrats to the crazy kids.
Also before we get started here uhhhh, this whole “Backyard” thing…. are we all really committed to this being the “Backyard” league or whatever? I mean I guess we may be committed….it may be on the trophy for all I know. I just feel like we don’t spend THAT much time in backyards these days but maybe that’s just me.
ANYWHOM, Round 1 saw two excellent matchups and four teams that played pretty well all things considered. But alas, life is cruel and two of those teams had to go home anyways. The winners move on, and now ODOM AND SEAN GET TO ARRIVE AT THE DANCE. We will get to that in a bit. But first, let’s get to that whole Round 1 Review thing….
ROUND 1 REVIEW
MVP: Rougned Odor – Rougned essentially punched Jose Bautista square in the face again, and by that I mean he outperformed him in this Round 1 matchup and that in some way figured into the equation of the Missiles defeating the Slugs. Is what I meant. By that. 12/27, 6Rs, 2 doubles, 5HRs, 15RBIs, 1SB, .448OBP
LVP: Jose Bautista – I mean Jonathon Schoop was also bad (4/26, 1HR) but FUCK IT lets pin this on Jose Bautista, because NARRATIVE is important and also because you are supposed to score more runs and shit as the Blue Jays “leadoff hitter”. So yea, Jose Bautista. 5/26, 2Rs, 2HRs, 3RBIs, .250OBP
Proving once again that it really doesn’t matter how you get into the BCS (working title) so long as you get in there, the #6 seed River City Cuban Missiles put together an impressive Round 1 and illicited some deja vu in their defeat of the #3 seed Barnegat Banana Slugs. For Mike this also caps off an impressive week where he CREATED A HUMAN (because life begins at birth, get fucked pro-lifers). The Missiles found their power stroke just in time, belting 20HRs and racking up 68RBIs and generally finding themselves with some vintage performances from long-forgotten sluggers such as Jose Abreu (4HRs, 13 RBIs in Round 1). The Cuban Missiles were able to balance that with an impressive pitching performance that saw them rack up 91Ks and 9QS despite a mediocre 4.29ERA. For the home team Slugs, it was a solid performance that just fell a bit short. Their .363 OBP easily outpaced the Missiles (.315) and their 11Ws and 3.26ERA showed the makings of a strong pitching performance, but coming up one QS short and losing both relief categories hurt a team that was looking to return to the Backyard Championship Round (working title) for the second time in as many seasons. Congratulations are due to Brian for an impressive season that saw the slaying of the curse that has plagued the BCR runner-up for all of these years, and congratulations are due to Lobman as he continues on in a quest to defend his championship and become the second franchise ever to win back-to-back titles. Also congratulations on that whole baby thing.
Cuban Missiles hitter of note: Hanley Ramirez is no stranger to Backyard postseason action and he’s off to a strong start this year (9/23, 8Rs, 2 doubles, 3HRs, 10RBI, .462OBP).
Cuban Missiles pitcher of note: Carlos Martinez is possibly the de facto ace for this ragtag group of Missiles SPs, and at least in Round 1 he acted like it (12IP, 3ER, 19Ks, 2QS, 1W, 2.25ERA).
Banana Slugs hitter of note: The MooniniteZ would like to issue a big fuck you to David Ortiz on his final Backyard playoffs performance, which also wasn’t that good so lets highlight DJ LeMahieu for his solid performance in defeat (9/26, 7Rs, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 4RBIs, 1SB, .414OBP).
Banana Slugs pitcher of note: Also solid in defeat was Rick Porcello, who gave it his best shot across 2 starts but also fuck him he’s a Sawk (14IP, 5ER, 9Ks, 2QS, 2Ws, 3.21ERA).
Next Week aka PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND: The River City Cuban Missiles travel to Point Loma (But not really, Lobman just had a child that would be CRAZY) to take on the top-seeded X-Rayz. Brian and the Banana Slugs head home to prepare history lesson plans or some shit.
#4 OceanGate Trout Fishing Club Escape With Win VIA TIE, Sadly End #5 Rojo’s Resurgence – 6-6-2
MVP: Mike Trout – BIG TIME PLAYERS play BIG TIME in the BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (working title). And Mike Trout is the biggest time player in baseball and that is precisely what he did in Round 1. 9/23, 9Rs, 5HRs, 10RBIs, .517OBP
LVP: Yu Darvish – Sureeee Yu threw a QS earlier in the week but the fact remains that when Rojo needed his PRIZED DRAFT PICK to toss a QS on Sunday, he failed him. And that failure ultimately lead to the Resurgence’s demise. YU DARVISH YU FAILED ROJO YU SONOFABITCH. 10.2IP, 8ER, 13Ks, 1QS, 1W, 6.75ERA
In a positively thrilling 4 v. 5 matchup, the OGTFC used a late-Sunday triple and an early-Sunday impressive 2nd start to hold on to a tie with Rojo’s Resurgence and advance to Round 2 (*cue sad montage of crying Resurgence fans*). This one absolutely came down to late afternoon Sunday, as the Resurgence used an all-in Thursday lineup strategy to narrow some gaps and seem poised to sneak out of Round 1 with a win right until the bitter end. That bitter end came mostly as a result of bottom of the 9th triple from Ian Desmond that grabbed the triples cat back for the OGTFC, after Jarrod Dyson had tied said cat for Rojo’s Resurgence with a triple of his own. In addition to triples, doubles OBP Wins Saves (duh) and ERA all went to the OGTFC. In addition to Holds (duh but BARELY), Strikeouts Runs HRs RBIs and Steals all went to Rojo’s Resurgence. In the end THE FAILURES OF YU DARVISH loomed large, as his 4IP 5ER performance on Sunday failed to give Rojo the ultimate lead in QS and set him back mightily in his quest to overtake Heroy’s ERA lead (the OGTFC would win ERA 3.99 to 4.12). The Resurgence can leave with their head held high, as their 23HR 63RBI performance redeemed a mostly disappointing second half (however I kinda have to point out said second half cost them the tiebreaker here). For the Fishing Club, they escape with a win via tie in a bit of redemption for a team that lost the 2013 Backyard Championship in the same fashion. Now they head to Round 2 to take on one of the co-owners for that team, in search of uhhh additional redemption? I guess? Or just in search of a win so they can get back to the Backyard Championship Round (working title) and such.
OGTFC hitter of note: Not only did Ian Desmond have a nice week just in the overall sense, but his lat Sunday triple basically won Heroy the week….so there’s that (7/24, 7Rs, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4RBIs, 1SB, .370OBP).
OGTFC pitcher of note: Julio Teheran also kinda won Heroy the week, as his Sunday QS against the Phightin Phils helped the OGTFC preserve a tie in teh QS category which helped them tie overall which won them the week…..so there’s that (13IP, 2ER, 15Ks, 2QS, 2Ws, 1.38ERA).
Resurgence hitter of note: Rojo’s Resurgence end up losing via tiebreaker in a week where they hit 23HRs and scoring 60 runs, and THE AGELESS Adrian Beltre played the largest part in that (9/24, 11Rs, 1 double, 3HRs, 7RBIs, .464OBP).
Resurgence pitcher of note: Gonna highlight Corey Kluber here because I am a fan but really the pitcher of note is Yu and his failures DAMN YUUUUUUU (8IP, 3ER, 11Ks, 1QS, 1W, 3.38ERA).
Next Week aka PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND: The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club take a short trip up the road to Main Street to take on the second-seeded MooniniteZ. Rojo and his Resurgence head home to look up open houses or some shit.
ROUND 2 PREVIEW
Now that we have looked at how we arrived at this #FieldOfFour, let’s take a look at the matchups that will determine which two teams meet in THE BACKYARD CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND WHICH IS MAYBE A WORKING TITLE BUT PROBABLY NOT.
#2 Main Street MooniniteZ v. #4 OceanGate Trout Fishing Club
The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club comes into this matchup as the lower seed, but make no mistake this team is DANGEROUS (check the depressing number of players they have on the “All-Pro” team if you don’t believe me). The last time these two owners met in a playoff situation was in 2013, when Heroy was on the losing end of a championship game tie and Sean was on his way to a third straight championship. Now Heroy returns thanks to a victory-via-tie of his own in Round 1, and he no doubt remembers 2013 just as the MooniniteZ no doubt have noted that the OGTFC are the only team they failed to beat in the 2016 regular season (0-1-1).
Both of these teams put up impressive regular season totals, with the numbers indicating this could be a high-scoring affair: The OGTFC were first overall in Runs, HRs, and RBIs in the regular season; The MooniniteZ were second. On the pitching end, the MooniniteZ were first in saves and 2nd in ERA; the OGTFC were third in both. Both rosters have obviously undergone a few transformations over the course of the season, with rookies and late season additions (both via trade and waiver) providing life to both teams. Ultimately this matchup may come down to the slimmest of margins if both offenses play to their capabilities, which makes each spot start and roster move all the more important.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: YOUTH MOVEMENT(S). Heroy’s former moniker will play an important role in this matchup, as the OGTFC continue to boast some of the better young players in the league with 2016 Backyard rookies Trea Turner and Alex Bregman. The MooniniteZ will be relying on some youthful contributions themselves with Gary Sanchez at catcher, two starts schedules for Luke Weaver, and THE HOPE WAS a start or two from Alex Reyes and/or Jose De Leon. Now that seems unlikely, but Reyes still can play a role in this matchup as an SP-eligible reliever.
#1 Point Loma X-Rayz v. #6 River City Cuban Missiles
IT HAS BEEN A WHIRLWIND WEEK FOR MIKE LOBMAN, as his team achieved a bit of redemption in an up-and-down season and his existence achieved a bit of redemption in an up-and-down life. Mike welcomed a baby girl to this world, which I guess counts for something, and also advanced to Round 2 of the Backyard Championship Series WHICH COUNTS FOR EVERYTHING. For the home team X-Rayz and owner Mike Odom, they are hoping that Lobman’s brain is preoccupied with proper diaper changing techniques which might allow them to gain an extra advantage in a matchup the standings say they are already favored in. But who the hell knows with the standings, people. The X-Rayz can look at their 1-0-1 record against the Cuban Missiles this season and Odom’s long history of DOMINANCE over Lobman in the playoffs of years past (see: “the history of the league 2011-2013 editions”) as points of confidence. The Cuban Missiles can look to an impressive victory in Round 1 that saw them rack up 20HRs and 68RBIs for their own source of confidence. Free country, man.
In the regular season, the X-Rayz rode an unorthodox style that saw them put up league-worst numbers in OBP HRs and RBIs and league-best numbers in Triples and Steals. The Cuban Missiles were no OBP darlings themselves (8th) but did manage solid power numbers (3rd in HRs and RBIs) despite somewhat down years from a few sluggers. How those sluggers look this week plus how the X-Rayz power additions stack up in small sample size plus how Lobman adapts to any chess games the top-seeded X-Rayz may have in store equals who will win this matchup. Solve for X.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: FANTASY BASEBALL TRADECRAFT. No not actual trading, fortunately there is a deadline and that passed weeks ago (Odom would have made 5 trades during his bye week). What I am referring to are the extra techniques that Odom and Lobman may pull out of their bags of tricks as we get closer to the end of the week. Both of these owners are no strangers to playoff chicanery and will use whatever moves available to them to advance towards their goal. I would list some but I MAY NEED THEM MYSELF. So you’ll just have to tune in folks.
SEE YOU ALL ON THE OTHER SIDE….