SD and Skokie Playoffs Skokie Advances 4 games to 2
Limoilou and Longue Pointe Playoffs Limoilou Advances 4 games to 2
Brooklyn and Philly playoffs Philly advances 4 games to 1.
Carolina and Indiana Playoff Indiana advances 4 games to 1.
Click Newspaper for Limoilou-Skokie details!
Philly Indiana Clemente Finals Philly advances 4 games to 2.
Skokie Limoilou Staub Finals Skokie advances 4 games to 2.
Flash =- Skokie Reporter
late this evening -- as game six was underway
in the classic Skokie - Limoilou series
Skokie was out for revenge after losing (when in
Montreal) in seven games to the Wendigos
well Skokie started out as a house on fire
, the Piazza man again showing the league
why he is the Skokie VP
Skokie led 7-0 after 3 and held on for an
8-6 win Piazza 2 run shot and 3 RBIs leading
Skokie to their first appearance in the World Series
after 3 years of trying -- and a very hard fought
series with Limoilou Skokie is prepared to
represent the Carter Conference and see
if they can bring the CBA crown back to Carter
they now wait to see who they will face
So the new from Limoilou, there is a new
face in the series .... who would have believed
Skokie, who struggled all year long betting on
their aged veterans could do it??
It shows when it comes to the playoffs
a teams record doesn't mean anything
now the question is, can the Wolfmen
handle the big bats of Staub??
The people in Skokie are shouting
from their homes this night
Wolfmen - Wolfmen - Wolfmen - Wolfmen
To conclude we had a word with the
Wolfman, what was the keys for your team
to make it to the Series this year?
Wolfman: Well in the past two years we had
problem scoring in the playoffs -- so we decided
this year to go after the veteran big bombers
(Piazza, Bonds, Jones -- also Spiezio came through
in the clutch, hit a key homer for us today) and between
these four guys they over 100 homers for us as we
set a club record
we hoped even though defensively this would be
a deficit that our hitting and good defense and
relief could hold us late and that is what happened
in our champion game today
Nathan with the save -- well he's great that is
why we grabbed him last year and although he
gave up the 2 run homer to Suzuki last week
in game 7, this year he redeemed himself
but who really came through this year
was the Pizza Man, we had a big whole at
catcher and although we gave up a lot of
stolen bases, Piazza did the job -- we give
him the MVP to get us to the series
with 4 Homers and 13 RBIs in 12 games
When we started this season I was
sure we could finally win the division but
in the other division were three very very
good teams -- I think after beating both
San Diego and Limoilou in 6 games
we showed what we are capable of.
But even though we finally made to the series
we got a big job -- if we don't win it then the
season means nothing and whether Philly
or Indy win, they both got big sticks over
there -- so it will take a great job of manuever
to do it. We expect Wang to go in game 1
followed by the Rocket in Game 2 and then
we see from there
the other key for us was our starters who had
a lot of challenges in the season came through
-- yes we got blown out a few games but overall
they did a great job and the trade for Wang
during mid-season was the reason we are here,
we needed one more quality starter and although
we had to give up Hill who is going to be a premier
pitcher one day -- we had to take the chance
also Delucci and Gambi helped us with 21 HRs, 60 RBIs
together in 300 AB.
so we tried to make the right moves, tried to have
the right squad to compete in the playoffs and it really
I am not sure if this is the best squad we have had
in the 3 years but at playoff time it is more about
momentum and our boys are ready to give the
call of the Wolfmen --- Ha---ooooh!!!!
OK Fellows, we got work to do to see who we
will face in the series -- we don't expect a cake walk
at all -- the key again will be pitching and both teams
have probably better starters then us (who we could face)
good night and lets see if this is the year of the Wolfmen
so that is the report from Limoilou as finally Skokie
breaks the jinx and for the first time heads for the
CBA World Series ... can they do it?
Let us know who you are rooting for!!
The Skokie Wolfmen Prepare for the 2007 CBA Playoffs
This is the third year that the Wolfmen (formerly the Royals) have been fortunate to participate in the CBA Playoffs. Following the guidance of the their manager the Skokie Wolfman, and working hard to create a competitive team using the draft and trades and a few free agents, the franchise has been successful.
The 2007 version of the Wolfmen is quite different from their earlier teams in 2005 and 2006. The former teams featured stronger squads with a more balanced pitching staff and defense. But one of the key weaknesses of the team was to have a better on base percentage and to score more runs. It is ultimately this weakness which caused the former teams to bow out in the first round of the playoffs.
With the 2007 Regular season behind us, the major challenge was for all the teams was to find good pitching. There really wasn’t a dominating pitching team as there had been in years past. And actually, the normally Dawson Conference which featured teams that had success more on good pitching changed in 2007 to teams that paralleled their Clemente opponents with more hitting and power.
To build the 2007 Wolfmen, once again key players via the draft were acquired as well as via trades. Most of the key power hitters (Bonds, Piazza, Jones, Valentin) were acquired in this way. There were six players who hit 20 or more homers for this squad, the 2007 version had a much higher on base percentage and set a team record with 26x homers for the season ranking 2nd in the league. But the starting pitchers were much weaker (a key trade to bring in Wang definitely was absolutely necessary) and the relief staff was at best in consistent. Perhaps the Wolfmen would have won a few more games if Nathan was more available but he had to sit out the last 40 games of the season.
A key part of the managerial strategy to play the Wolfmen, was as always to work with positional players to deal with any type of team, park and pitcher. Skokie took a big gamble to bring on board and keep a number of very older players (late 30s or 40’s, including Bonds, Piazza, Jones, Edmonds, Giambi and Clemens. The Skokie of 2007 sacrificed on their defense as they were willing to start poor fielding players in the corners in the outfield as well as at 1B & 3B. The Piazza trade was a big gamble as Skokie decided to go with more hitting and power at catcher but sacrificed on stolen bases by their opponents with Piazza poor arm and several pitchers who were unable to hold base runners close. Skokie had never tried before to play with such wholes in their defense on the field but the thinking process was, if we could bomb the other team there was the defense to come in during the late innings and their closer Joe Nathan, one of the premier closers.
So the 2007 Skokie Wolfmen took a big gamble, they felt they could do it because they were in a weak division and if they could just get back to the playoffs, using all the players properly, in a short series, that they could be competitive. Another key aspect of the Wolfmen was that they lead the league in giving up the least amount of home runs. Being that they live in Wolfie park which is a hitters park, this was crucial to balance the less then perfect defense on the field and weak ability to stop opponents to steal bases.
So this version of the Skokie team won 9 less games then in 2006. It comes into the playoffs with the worse record of any playoff bound team. With its clearing weaknesses as discussed above, few people will give them a chance against the better teams in the CBA. If they are going to go far, it will require all the tricks and skills by their manager the Wolfman to do it and perhaps some lucky rolls of the dice.
There was a big debate over whether to go with Piazza at catcher but he won up tied for 2nd on the club with 28 homers in somewhat limited due and was second in RBIs. His memorable four homer game is a record in the CBA. Barry Bonds was another gamble with his poor knees and fielding if this would more adversely affect the team then his bat but he tied the record of 37 homers done by Beltran in 2005 and had 100 RBIs in again a bit of limited duty. Valentin a middle inning pick in the draft (Skokie wait as long as possible to grab their old friend and former player) was also another key to Skokie’s success as he provided a good strong bat and power which was needed and lead to Grudzielanek seeing limited duty but valuable for late inning defense. Edmonds also hit a bit more for power then expected and came through in some key games plus his consistent defensive in CF was key. The late addition of Giambi and Dellucci added some more power for the clubs and left handed hitters who could hit lefties, Dellucci began a backup for Bonds. 1B had been a challenge for Skokie rotating four other players to fill the void (Aurilla, Shelton, Sheffield, Spiezio) but with Giambi on the scene it added another power hitter with good on base. Skokie tried to create their own version of the famed Yankees murders row. Especially against right handed pitchers – just about every hitter in the lineup was capable of hitting the ball out. Gary Matthews Jr. may have been Skokie’s most consistent hitter who did a great job as a leadoff hitter. Normally the Wolfmen like to have more speed in their lineup but the roll of the dice didn’t allow this to occur.
L. Hudson was a surprise starter for the team and thus earned a place on the playoff squad, was perhaps the most consistent starter. Nathan is Nathan and set a mark in the age of the Wolfman with 20 saves. He was almost unhittable and will be a key player in the playoffs. But the relief staff was a lot more inconsistent in times past and will have to be used wisely in the playoffs. Look for the Wolfmen to count on their starters to go long into the game. As far as the other Skokie starters, at times they look brilliant but overall their effective was very questionable and far less in performance then prior years. Clemens just wasn’t his usual self winning only 6 games, Lilly and T. Hudson were inconsistent – Redman and Patterson gave some help in limited starts but the trade for Wang brought that other starter that Skokie deeply needed.
So to summarize, the 2007 version of the Skokie Wolfmen was a collection of the old and new. The team has the ability to explode at any moment but comes in with a number of holes where they could also be crunched just the same. It will be an interest challenge to see if an improved scoring machine is enough to take the Wolfmen to a higher level. The keys for their success will be how effective Wang and Clemens can be as consistant starters and if the club can score runs which has doomed them in the playoffs in the last two years. There is no doubt the Wolfmen like Skokie’s park but with the worse record as a playoff team after the 1st round they could lose home field advantage.
Analysis of San Diego VS Skokie
During the regular season the two teams split the twelve games played. Even though San Diego had a better regular season record, Skokie gained home field advantage for this series due to winning their division (finally after losing out the past two years on the last day of the season). Skokie’s true advantage then was having possibly four games in their park as their club is really suited for the long ball. Thus for San Diego to win the series they would need to win in Skokie. The Surf is a better hitting team but the key weakness of the surf, if any, as Mr. Wallace had put a good squad together was in their pitching as their 3rd and 4th starters were not strong and the bullpen could be a bit stronger. The strategy for Skokie was to bomb the Surf starters, then bring in their defense and have Nathan waiting at the end. The Surf had better speed then Skokie and could take advantage of the weak arm of Piazza and also several of Skokie’s starters inability to hold runners. So in comparing the two teams their strengths and weakness were pretty even, the key would see if San Diego could win in Skokie. And with San Diego being more of a pitcher’s park (low ball park home run) if they could win 3 in San Diego, then Skokie could be in a lot of trouble. Finally a last key for Skokie in the series was if their starters could take up a lot of innings as three of the Skokie relievers are more geared for more conditional spots. So if the Skokie starters got bombed early, Skokie could be in a lot of trouble.
Now lets move on two the actual games and see what happened:
Game 1: At Skokie (Haren vs Wang)
Surf............ 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 - 3 9 1
Wolfmen......... 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 - 6 10 0
Skokie started out the gate as the “Pizza” man hits a two run homer to begin the first inning. This bodes badly for the Surf if the Skokie bats start blasting home runs. Wang was pitching very good and the Surf were consistently unable to come through with clutch hits when men were on base. Edmonds hits a solo shot for Skokie to make it 3-0 and then Shelton shocks the Surf (Note: Shelton almost was not kept on the squad for the playoffs, it was between keeping him or Sheffield) with a 3 run dinger in the 5th. So with a commanding 6-0 lead and Nathan waiting in the wings if needed, it looked like Skokie had the game in hand. But then the Surf bats came alive in the 8th and they threatened but good old reliable Nathan, who relishes this type of spots came in and shot the door for a 6-3 Skokie win. Was this a sign that Skokie could break their first round jinx and move to the finals? The Surf now needed a victory in Game 2.
Game 2: At Skokie (Peavy vs Clemens)
Surf............ 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 9 1
Wolfmen......... 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 - 3 9 1
This was definitely a key game in the Series. If Skokie went up 2 games to none, and especially if Skokie could beat Peavy one of the best pitchers in the league, it would be tough for San Diego. This was a classic game, a pitchers duel between two of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game.
The Surf would take the lead and Skokie would battle back. Neither team could get ahead and it went into extra innings. Skokie knew if they could get past Rodriquez, the ace closer of the Surf and outlast him, they might have a chance. (BTW, C. Jones was up with the bases loaded earlier in the game and had a chance at a ball park homer which would have been a Grand Slam but missed but he did homer later to tie the game in the 6th). Anyway in the bottom of the 11th with two on, Matthews who had a great season (and also had 7 doubles in 6 games for the series) came through in the bottom of the 11th and Skokie won game 2 by the score 3-2. This was the turning point of the series. With Skokie up 2 games to none, San Diego had to do some miracles in their home park.
Game 3: At San Diego (L. Hudson vs Meche)
Wolfmen......... 0 0 1 0 6 0 0 2 0 - 9 12 0
Surf............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 1 7 0
This was a due or die game for San Diego. Skokie surprised the world by going with Luke Hudson instead of Tim Hudson (who won 13 games for the Wolfmen). But Luke Hudson had been one of Skokie’s most consistent starters all year long and he earned this game 3 start. And boy did Hudson pitch his heart out. He was virtually unhittable and only in the bottom of the 9th could the Surf score. Shelton came through again in the 5th with a two run homer and Edmonds also hit his 2nd. A big six run 5th put the game away for Skokie. Matthews also was a star hitting 3 doubles and driving in two runs but the real star with L. Hudson. Well Skokie had a command 3 games to none lead. The question was, could Skokie do a sweep? Game 4 featured the starters of Game 1.
Game 4: At San Diego (Wang vs Haren)
0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 - 3 7 0
Surf............ 0 1 0 2 0 3 3 0 - 9 10 0
(Personal note: I was hoping that we could finish the series in four, as I had to stay up very late to play due to our difference in hours but Joe was not to be denied this game.)
started as many being close and tied 1-1 after 3 innings, but then the Surf bats
came to life and they were unstoppable. They sliced and diced Skokie starter
Wang and Skokie saw their dream to sweep fading. Skokie tried to use Wang as
long as possible but the Surf was taking batting practice and then when the
relief came in, finally Skokie was able to stop the party by the Surf. C.
Duncan feasted on Skokie pitching hitting two homers. So Skokie just let the
Surf enjoy their day as Manager Wallace earned his first playoff win in
convincing fashion. We could hear Joe saying in the dugout as the game was
nearing completion if only I save some of these runs for the other games. Well
could the Surf do a Boston Redsox and take the final four? With the jinx of
seven games in the past, the Wolfman was becoming a bit worried.
Game 5: At San Diego (T. Hudson vs Peavy)
0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 - 3 8 2
Surf............ 0 1 0 1 3 6 5 0 - 16 15 0
the Surf were facing an elimination game. But this club which almost won their
own division is a very gutsy club and they never say “Die”. Again the game
started out close but starting into the 5th through the 7th
innings, the Surf could do no wrong. They literally destroyed the Skokie
pitchers, it didn’t matter who was brought in, they were cannon fodder – on this
day no team could have beat the Surf, they were unstoppable. Dye hit his 2nd
homer and Victorino hit an inside the park homer. Three of the Surf hitters had
3 RBI’s each. So Skokie basically gave up in the 6th and let the
Surf enjoy their day. They decided than, that when they went home to Wolfmen
Park, they would win the series for the fans. Besides, they had Clemens coming
up next and he didn’t have to face Peavy again. Peavy is darn tough and Skokie
was happy they could win that very hard fought Game 2 against him. 25 runs in
two games for the Surf, they were now on fire and ready to win in Skokie.
Game 6: At Skokie (Santana vs Clemens)
Surf............ 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 - 2 5 0
Wolfmen......... 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 - 3 7 0
With Skokie at home and with Clemens going, San Diego must have been a bit concerned. Clemens had pitched great baseball in Game 2 and Santana was a bit vulnerable to go against right handed hitters. But the Surf showed they are a good team and began to continue their hitting against Clemens by scoring in the top of the first to take an early lead. Skokie was struggling against Santana and starting to think the curse of 7 games was coming back but finally HR and RBI team leader, Barry Bonds, who had been quiet the whole series hit one out of the park in the bottom of the 4th to tie the game. And Bonds must have inspired the Wolf guys because shortly later, Piazza, who may well be the MVP of the Skokie squad during the regular season, launched his 2nd homer of the series (he batted in Skokie’s first runs in Game 1 and their final runs in Game 6 with homers) for Skokie to take a 3-1 lead. With Clemens on the mound, would this be enough? Clemens continued to dominate but then that squirley Victorino came to bat in the 7th, he did it again and hit a inside the park home run to make it 3-2. Just one run separating the two combatants. Clemens made it into the 9th but walked the first hitter and Duncan was up (he was killing Skokie pitching) so the Wolfman brought in Sherill to face him (or to not allow Duncan to be the guy who could defeat the Wolfmen) and Sherill was able to get pinch hitter Nady to line out). Then it was Nathan time, for the chance for the Wolfmen to go into round 2 for the first time, this is why Skokie jumped to trade for him last year giving away Bedard one of the best starting pitchers, and Nathan in his normal fashion shut the door down and the Wolfmen are now headed to the conference championship.
Series Notes and Conclusion
The keys for this series were the following. First of all the Surf bats fell silent in Skokie and you will never beat the Wolfmen there if you can’t score runs as Skokie won all 3 games in their home park. Clemens is probably the MVP for Skokie pitching two game gems. During the regular season the Wolfmen’s starters had a lot of problems but with the two good starts by Clemens (both games won 3-2) and the strong outing by Wang and especially L. Hudson, it was actually Skokie’s starting pitching which won the series. All year long, Skokie had to conserve Clemens (due to a limit of innings) but in the playoffs they could turn him loose. Could Clemens be the Skokie X Factor?
Special achievements by players from each team:
San Diego Surf:
Duncan was a tear to the Wolfmen, hitting .714 in five games with 2 HRs and 8 RBIs.
Victorino also hit .429 with 2 HRs (both inside the park) and 5 RBIs
Dye also hit .348 with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs.
(most of the hitting by the Surf came in the two games they won, by a combined score of 25-6. Unfortunately they couldn’t split part of their hitting in the other four games, especially games 2 and 6, both lost 3-2)
Peavy 2.81 ERA, 1-0 was very tough for Skokie and deserved recognition, if he would have had more run support he might have been 2-0.
Relievers Embree / Oliver / F. Rodriquez shut the Skokie bats down
San Diego had a better ERA and batting average then Skokie.
Shelton .429 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, helped to win two key games with his blast
Mathews .400 7 doubles, 4 RBIs, was a key to helping Skokie score runs
Piazza .273 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, he knocked in the first two runs for Skokie and the
Last two runs via Home Runs in Skokie
(Skokie teams as usual spread out key hits amongst its players, as the teams success depends on using their players to their max capability. Skokie had 11 homers in the six games hit by 8 different players)
L. Hudson 1.00 ERA 1-0 12 Ks – pitched a masterful game 3 (unexpected)
Clemens 2.12 ERA 1-0 – two stellar outings including clinching game 6
Heilman 0.00 ERA 1-0 4 innings of shutout relief
Nathan 0.00 ERA two saves in 2 innings, saved game 1 and game 6
WHAT IS UP NEXT? SKOKIE VS LIMOILOU
While some experts might have felt Skokie could take round 1 in the playoffs due to their home field advantage where they played very well in the regular season and being that they have been in the playoffs the best two years, coming to the Conference championship, this is a different matter entirely. During the regular season, Limoilou humiliated the Wolfmen winning 11 out of 15 games. Limoilou is heavily favored to go to the Series again.
Limoilou and Skokie have a history together. In the 2005 Playoffs, Skokie was up 3 games to 2, and was unable to put Limoilou away in their home part (as Montreal). There was the grandslam by Glaus giving Limoilou a 4-1 victory in game 7. Limoilou and Skokie have made key trades with each other. On the current squad Lofton and Beltran and Betancourt were once wolf guys where Skokie has Edmonds and T. Hudson plus via Limoilou draft pick, Skokie picked up Speizio, a very capable backup and spot starter. Some people think Skokie was crazy to trade Beltran but it was a half to do trade for Skokie and Edmonds has been a steady player for the Wolfmen although they would have loved to have Beltran in their lineup this year. So now we will see if these trades come back to haunt Skokie.
Comparing the two teams, they are a bit similar, both have tremendous hitting and power with Limoilou having better starting pitcher and each has a key closer. Skokie tried to improve their team with more on base this year as Limoilou always has this. So the key factor to this series will be which teams starters can contain the other teams spoilers. Skokie had a big decision to make whether to use T. Hudson or Lilly as there 4th starter but due to the stronger hitting vs lefties by Limoilou, they chose to go with T. Hudson.
It will be interesting to see if the Skokie weaknesses at corner defense and Piazza throwing arm will be their downfall. Again Skokie needs for its starters to go long as they did in the San Diego series. Limoilou going into round 2 is the only favorite who won their first playoff games. Can the Wolfman, using his guile and intuition prevail at what looks like a much stronger and balanced team. The only reason Skokie may have a chance is that it’s a short series – and they can use a bit more in a balanced way their top starters. Due to Clemens pitching game six in the San Diego series he will then start in Game 3 and if needed Game 7. Will he be the key again.
From the Skokie point of view, they need for Bond (.118), Gambi (.143), Delucci and Aurilla (.000) to pick up the hitting otherwise with the power of Limoilou (Beltrans / Thome / Hall / Glaus) it will be a long series.
So can the Wolfmen avenge their 7 game playoff loss in 2005 and make it to their first series or will the very successful and dominating team of Limoilou led by the legendary Jeff Boutet prevail again to make another appearance in the CBA World Series, we will find out shortly.
And last but not least, who will the the champion of the Staub conference face. Normally the series is the pitching of Staub vs. the power of Clemente but this year, the final four teams have all had their success more via their superior hitting and power. Will Indiana be the first team in a long time to take the crown in back to back years, or will the very proficient CBA managers who have been to t he series before Hite and Boutet do it again or last but not least, will the willy Wolfman guide his team to victory after having his worse record year and the worse record of any playoff bound team. If there is one thing we all know, who takes it all is completely unpredictable in the CBA playoffs.
Good luck to the remaining four teams!! (Limoilou, Philly, Indiana & Skokie)