The 2018 OCWA Playoffs are here, and we're doing something a little different with the previews. Here's our storylines heading into the triple elim bonanza:
Who shoulders the pitching load for the Dawgs?
The Dawgs claimed the #1 seed this year by being available and consistent. They didn't win a single tournament, but had some extremely solid finishes behind their #1 pitcher and Pitcher of the Year favorite Ari Knill. The bad news: Knill is out for playoffs, leaving Frankel and Benzing to fend for themselves. One of these guys is going to have to step up to Knill level for them to advance. My money is on Frankel to shoulder the load with the moonball.
Can the B.E.E.R.S. figure out how to win?
The B.E.E.R.S. were shut out of a tourney win for the first time in the tournament era this year. In fact, they didn't even make a tournament final. Granted, there weren't as many tournaments and Roeder missed the last one, but it seemed as if they couldn't figure it out this year. The are still the #2 seed, and that first round bye is huge, but they need to get rolling early.
Can the Franchise show consistency?
The Franchise missed the ODT, won the FDC, then finished dead last in the Night Tourney. They're the #3 seed with a -25 run differential. Slow starts have been a huge problem for them, but the two man team of Bush and Tomkins will hopefully get them going earlier in the day. In this triple elim format, it's overly important to get two wins early. They'll need to shake the slow starts in order to win the whole thing.
Will the Fire Frogs lose?
The Frogs absolutely dominated the final tournament, not losing a single game. Regis is one of the best two way stars in the league, and Mike Anderson has put together a really solid season. However, they face a tough test right off the bat with their former teammates, the Crush. Getting past them will be a huge win, and could propel them straight to the Winner's Bracket final.
Can the Crush regain their form?
Since the great Crush Split of 2018, the Crush haven't been themselves. The Cody-Eli team is back again, but didn't make a ton of noise at the last tournament. This time around, they'll get to face their old teammates in the first game. A win for them will mean they get into a hitting groove early, a they're hoping to ride a that wave all day.
Can the Jack's keep their momentum?
The Jack's were the surprise of the last tournament, riding strong pitching all the way to the final. They're hoping to build on that and are dangerous should they be able to keep it up. The issue: they have a difficult path, and a loss or two early can sink any team's chances.