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Hawks Conference Semi-Final With Bru Crew A Coin Toss

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Reprinted with permission from The Rawken Times
By Rawken Times Sports Editor Jonah Lizsym

Hawks Conference Semi-Final A Coin Toss

Before the first round of the season 25 playoffs, the two favourites to go to the Jenkins Conference Championship series were the Tijuana Psychos and the Bru Crew because they had won their divisions and had series byes.  But with those initial series played and the Hawks beating the Wannabees three games to one, is it better to have played and won or to have been idle?
Only time will tell, but certainly looking at other metrics, there is not much to choose from between the two teams.  The Hawks won 5 more games than the Bru Crew, 97 to 92 but the Crew had the better run differential (117 to 86).   The runs against were almost exact, 602 for The Hawks and 603 against the Bru Crew.  Bru Crew scored 32 more runs, 720 to 688.
The Hawks were the number 2 team batting average in the league at .270 while the Bru Crew hit .267 and were ranked number 3.  For team ERA, The Hawks were number 4 at 3.31, the Bru Crew were again right behind at number 5 (3.54).
Over the 162 game season, there was not much to choose from in the other offensive categories as The Hawks had a team on base of .321 and slugging of .404 while the Bru Crew were at .335 and .401 for those two categories.  The Bru Crew lead in home runs 138 to 124 while The Hawks lead in both doubles and triples, 304 to 267 and 45 to 37.  That meant the total for extra base hits was a difference of only 29 in favour of The Hawks, 473 to 444.
Drilling deeper, The Hawks batters walked 401 times while Bru Crew had 534 walks, Hawks batters struck out 1067 times and Bru Crew struck out 1140.  Hawks pitchers walked 506 and struck out 1411 while Bru Crew were less in each category, 406 walks and 1226 strike outs.
The head to head stats in the 10 games between the teams reflect those overall stats as Bru Crew walked 38 times and struck out 74 while the Hawks walked 27 times and struck out 58 times.  The fact Bru Crew batters struck out more and Hawks pitchers had more strike outs in the overall season totals could be a factor.
One advantage for the Hawks is that they have no lefty pitchers on their roster.  Bru Crew had the following split stats:
LHP .280 .344 .433
RHP .268 .331 .390
So hitting against an all righty staff could somewhat limit the success of the Bru Crew batters.
The bullpens could be an important area.  The closer and #1 set up roles are well staffed by both teams, Strickland and Strop for Bru Crew with Familia and Rodriguez for The Hawks.  Manship is a wild card for Bru Crew.  He has excellent splits, 7.1 BR/9, .215 OB, .225 SLG, but only 3 innings to play.  If he is absent for the later games it would be a negative.  The balance of the Hawks bullpen is a good group with O’Day, last season’s closer who was re-acquired in a change of scenery trade with the Stros for AJ Ramos, Kelley, Fields and Allen.  Baez, Duke (10HR in 59.2 innings), Lopez (also 3 inning limit) and Neris can’t match that group.
Hawk Sqawks:  Hawks LF Michael Brantley had 7 multi-hit games in the 10 versus Bru Crew….Crew 1B Eric Hosmer hit 2 homers and had 5 multi-hit games….In the final regular season game between the teams, Jered Weaver threw 7.1 shutout innings in a 3-0 win, Brantley went 4-4 with 2 doubles in that game....A change of scenery (or conference) worked for Crew starter David Price who won 20 games with a 2.67 ERA after a 12 win season with an ERA of 5.22 for the Stros in season 24….Hawks and Bru Crew combined for 12 quality starts, 6 each…There were 12 homers hit in the 10 games, also 6 by each team.

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I agree that all the stats seem to point to a close series.

The Crew is counting on starting LHPs Price and Sale shutting down Hawks top batters, a number of whom are "portsiders", is all I will say for now.

Good luck Warren.

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