BACKYARDBRACKET2020: HELLSCAPE YEAR’S APPROPRIATELY CHAOTIC (AND LATE) OPENING ROUND PREVIEW

That blurry outline of a thing is what it’s allllll about folks (trophy’s actual location currently unknown?)

That’s right “OPENING ROUND”

Because I refuse to acknowledge the “Wild Card Weekend” as actual ~playoffs~ there was a win-less team in there for fucks sake. Also because this “preview” is late enough already so put two and two together. This is going to be appropriately half-assed because it’s been a half-assed sort of year and also I AM LOCKED IN. So let’s get this shit over with…..

#1 River City Fightin’ Margs

vs.

#8 Astoria (LIARS) Isotopes

OVERVIEW:

FINALLY a sense of normalcy in a broken world. In fact I was at Margs HQ POOLSIDE the other day and I do believe ownership implied the Margs winning this matchup might save lives or something? Aanywho the Margs returned to prominence in a big way by rebounding from an out-of-the-bracket finish in the ’19 season to the top seed in this weird gotdamned ’20 season. Their reward is a date with the team from Astoria that we all know full fucking well no longer resides in Astoria. If I can work in the POINTS SYSTEM early here uhhh the Margs lead the league at 101.5 points and the ‘Topes were 7th at 71.5 points and that is perhaps why the Margs had 5 more wins. They’ll look for another win against a longtime playoff foe in their first taste of Fantrax Bracket Action.

GUYS™ TO WATCH

BATS BATTLE — Manny Machado (Margs) vs. Nolan Arenado (‘Topes)

As these two Handsome Hot Corner Hotties go, often their teams’ respective offenses tend to follow. Last year it was Machado struggling to a pretty mediocre 108 wRC+ (LOOK IT UP) while Arenado was his same old self (plus a career high BA and OBP), but this “year” (all 40 fucking games of it) it’s Arenado that is struggling (88 wRC+) while Machado is hitting arguably the best he ever has (career high 149 wRC+, I’m just going to make all of these wRC+ get fucking used to it).

ARMED CONFLICT — Corbin Burnes (Margs) vs. Tyler Mahle (‘Topes)

The late start on this preview allowed me to sort of cheat but I SWEAR I selected Burnes vs. Mahle prior to their starts. Okay prior to Burnes’ start. And my thinking there was as follows: ‘Topes get a two start week out of a weirdly high-strikeout Tyler Mahle, so if you’re the Margs you’re hoping for somebody to at least MATCH Mahle’s Monday output (a 7 inning QS with 3 ER and 10 Ks). And then you hope the next Mahle start is dogshit, which is certainly possible (cuz it’s still Tyle Mahle). ANYWHO Burnes was able to do that on Wednesday afternoon and then some (7 inning QS/W with 0 ER and 11 Ks). So that’s what you want to see. If you’re the Margs. In your Armed Conflict®.

PREDICTION:

The River City franchise has longggg been a tough out in the first round. Which is what this is. Margs over ‘Topes, 8.5-5.5

#2 Ocean Gate Fishing Club

yanno what Brian worked really hard on logos so you’re getting your old logos you FUCKS
vs.

#7 Rojo’s Renegade Force

OVERVIEW:

The Ocean Gate Fishing Club enter this year’s dance as the #2 seed, but I mean that’s a game away from nearly being the #5 seed so WHO GIVES A FUCK. The POINTS SYSTEM paints a rosier picture however, as they easily clock in at 2nd place with 97.5 POINTS which is 8 POINTS higher than the #3. Higher points are better here. And on the flip side you have the Renegade Force which had 66 points, which is a very low total, but not so low that they were gunning for a seed in the top 6 (aka THE ACTUAL PLAYOFFS YOU CLOWNS) til just about the bitter end. They came up a bit short, but they also got to face that guy Guy who just put together the sort of season we burned Cliff at the stake for. So now the RRF are cursed to continue on, in a matchup with Heroy that’s pretty rivalry-free as best I can tell. Which is a shame because Rojo has said lots of terrible things to me about Heroy’s wife and child and I’ve just never told Heroy about them. So I blame myself here.

GUYS™ TO WATCH:

BATS BATTLE — Mike Trout (OGFC) vs. Kyle Tucker (RRF)

On paper this “battle” feels sort of ridiculous, Mike Trout is the best plaer in baseball and Kyle Tucker is not. But look under the hood and Kyle Tucker has been all SORTS of valuable this year, mostly because the Astros gave him whatever Magic Triples Elixir they gave to Evan Gattis that one year. So Kyle has 6 of them triples on the year and another one (or two) in this matchup would be HELPFUL. Or HURTFUL if you subscribe to the theory that Rojo wants no part of winning this week. Which I do. So it’s HURTFUL.

ARMED CONFLICT — Zac Gallen (OGFC) vs. Hyun Jin Ryu (RRF)

This Zac Gallen character is all of a sudden a bonafide STUD, which is unfortunate because Heroy owns him and he will squander the talent. And then you have Hyun Jin Ryu who was pretty excellent last year, and had regression written all over him as he moved over to the AL East, but has managed to be pretty darn good this year as well. And both of these fellas get two starts this week and GUESS WHAT both of their first starts came on Monday and neither did a great job. So let’s see if they do a better job next time. That may help dictate things yanno?

PREDICTION:

My prediction is that Rojo’s will to lose outshines Heroy’s will to fuck up. Fishing Club advances, 9.5-4.5

#3 Island Beach Bears

vs.

#6 Lacey Township Backdoor Sliderz

This is the second fuck alluded to below Heroy’s logo…

OVERVIEW:

In many ways, this matchup is for the VERY SOUL of the Backyard. The Island Beach Bears, the reluctant voice of this league/probably his generation (just hasn’t written a book yet) versus the Lacey Township Backdoor Sliderz, B2B BCS Champ and league VILLIAN. Nobody has ever won 3 in a row aside from that time I won 3 in a row (or 1.5 in a row if you guys want to be fags about it)(Heroy probably does) and DAMNED if I don’t intend to defend my honor, and Odom’s honor. And the league’s honor. For it is all we all have. The PROBLEM is the Backdoor Sliderz are likely a much better 6 seed than their first go-round as the 6 seed in their league debut, what with their 87.5 POINTS and their top 3 or so dynasty players and whatnot. The Bears on the other hand grabbed the #3 seed despite only amassing 73 POINTS (last I checked, these things change quick it seems) and despite an 0-3 start. They won 5 straight after that start, dropped one, and then won two more to close out the season so that should demonstrate SOME ability to win SOME matchups SOMETIMES. Here’s to hoping this is one of those times. Once again the league’s very soul is at stake you should all be rooting for me.

GUYS™ TO WATCH:

BATS BATTLE — Tim Anderson (Bears) vs. Fernando Tatis Jr. (LTBS)

Fernando Tatis Jr. has turned out to be the crown jewel of the worst trade I’ve ever made (little known fact, I remember a certain text from Odom that was like “it’s Altuve mehhhh” so I blame him a bit) as he’s been ridiculous this season. And just as sadly he’s also ridiculously enjoyable to watch. I LIVE for grand slam dongs on 3-0 counts in blowout games. So it’s a struggle. So it is of small consolation, but consolation all the same, to roster an equally ~fun~ shortstop of our own in TA. His hitting profile leaves a ridiculous floor but he’s ACTUALLY managed to sort of hold his own in the actual stats portion of this battle as well. NO REALLY LOOK AT THE FULL STATS:

Tatis (44 GP, 171 ABs): .310/.407/.655 (180 wRC+), 45 Rs, 10 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 15 HRs, 39 RBIs, 8 SBs

Anderson (32 GP, 136 ABs): .353/.390/.596 (167 wRC+), 35 Rs, 10 2Bs, 1 3B, 7 HRs, 15 RBIs, 5 SBs

ADMIT IT, closer than you’d think……and that shall likely need to remain the same this week.

ARMED CONFLICT — Sixto Sanchez (Bears) vs. Jacob deGrom (LTBS)

Certain members of the Backyard loveeeee posting shit about their young pitchers in the GC and for that reason you should all be THANKING me. Sixto Sanchez has been the best young pitcher out there and it hasn’t been particularly close and I shudder to think what the chat would be right now if he was on certain rosters. 25-2 K-BB PEOPLE. ANYWHO the Bears will have him for two starts this week, first one went swell (6 scoreless, QS/W, 6 Ks) and they’ll gladly take a repeat performance over the weekend. And even WITH that repeat performance the hope is that adds up to a few more Ks than deGrom racks up in his one start (13.13 Ks/9). Jacob racks up alotta Ks and throws the ball really hard. But Sixto throws it pretty hard too 😉

PREDICTION: This league has been terrorized by the Butt Sliderz for FAR TOO LONG. Like one entire year, where they terrorized the entire league and only lost once (to me). And then the previous year where they snuck into the 6th seed and won the championship like bastards. And then now here they are, 6th seed a-fucking-gain. YES they’ve won the championship two years in a row. But doing it three years in a row is really hard. So… BEARS SLAY THE DRAGON, 8-6

#4 Barnegat Banana Slugs

vs.

#5 East Coast

close enough…

OVERVIEW:

This one’s the long-winded chat post replete with *laugh crying emoji* versus the occasional GIF dropped into the chat out of nowhere. The guy I would never ever pick to win the championship because it’s more fun not to versus the guy I picked to win the championship but not because we are related. The Slugs are probably a tad peeved to have fallen all the way down to the 4 seed, with their 90.5 POINTS and all. But that’s life in the NFL and also life in a strange 11 “matchup” season. Fortunately their counterparts can empathize, as the East Coast franchise was in first place last time I wrote about this godforsaken fucking league and here they’re the 5th seed. But it’s the Backyard Bracket Baybay (I know because James Paxton is hurt) so both of you buck up.

GUYS™ TO WATCH:

BATS BATTLE — Luke Voit (BBS) vs. Nelson Cruz (EC)

SURE I could have made this about MI “stars” like Story & Lindor but uhhh I didn’t fucking wanna, so I didn’t. This one’s gonna be about the BIG BOPPERS. THE DONG DADDIEZ. THESE TWO GUYS. Luke Voit has managed to maintain the GAINZ from last year, in fact he’s increased his slugging percentage from .468 in ’19 to .SIXOHFOUR in ’20. Which is pretty dang good. But a number that’s better than that number is .SIX EIGHTY FIVE and that’s what Nelson Cruz is slugging these days, tops in the majors (Trout in 2nd at .671). Nelson is ageless and Luke is singlehandedly holding the Yankees offense together with glue and masking tape, and both of these boppers operate out of their respective teams Utility spots and I think it will be important for one of them to hit better than the other one this round. Cruz with the early advantage in Dongs 2-1, due to Doubleheader Dongs. But PLENTY OF ABs TO GO (which is why it’s okay for this preview to come out now)(go fuck yourselves)

ARMED CONFLICT — Max Scherzer (BBS) vs. Sonny Gray (EC)

If the Slugs were gonna set their rotation they’d likely set it for Mad Max to get two starts this week and that is PRECISELY what they’re getting. And Max has already given them one great start (7 scoreless, QS/W, 8 Ks) and you gotta figure he’s fixing to give them another one on Sunday. Maybe. So if you’re ~East Coast~ you’re going to need one of your best K guys to come out and match that sorta performance and the PROBLEM with Sonny is his last start came on 9/1 and he got 2 outs and gave up 6 runs. So then they skipped him once through the rotation. So now East Coast fans have to hope that mental refresher pays dividends and he comes out guns blazing Thursday.

PREDICTION:

Can’t back off that Pre-Season Prediction now baybay, East Coast advances 7.5-6.5

BACKYARDBRACKET2020: HELLSCAPE YEAR’S APPROPRIATELY CHAOTIC (AND LATE) OPENING ROUND PREVIEW

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