For the record, I thought before the playoffs began that the Quakes would meet Stockton in the California League Championship Series, because those were the 2 hottest teams entering the playoffs. Well, I’m already half wrong, as Modesto swept Stockton in the North.
But in the South, the Quakes are looking good in a surprisingly easy sweep of the Mavericks by 12-5 and 7-1 scores. Next up is first-half champion Lake Elsinore. That best-of-five series begins Saturday at Lake Elsinore. Games 3 and 4 are Monday and Tuesday in Rancho Cucamonga.
Except for a hiccup in mid-August, the Quakes seem to be a team on a mission this season. They’ve got power (8 home runs in 2 playoff games), as well as a team that steals bases, bunts, has good pitching, and is the best defensive team in the league.
Lake Elsinore has some very good starting pitching including Anthony Bass (8-7, 3.13 ERA) and Juan Oramas (7-3, 3.00), who figure to start the first two games against the Quakes. The Storm has a slight advantage in starting pitching and their closer, Brad Brach is the best in the league. But the Quakes have some depth, too. The bullpen allowed only one run in 9 2/3 innings in the first two playoff games, so they can’t be overlooked.
My pick: Quakes in 5