How important is it to win your division in the Frontier League?
If the two years of six playoff qualifiers tells us anything, the answer is not much. In the last two postseasons, only one division champion has made it to the finals.
Traverse City and River City, two wild-card entrants, have advanced to the championships series by winning semifinal series over division champions. Traverse City swept West Division champion Normal and River City outlasted East champion Southern Illinois in three games.
Rascals rookie Josh Silver, who hit only one home run in 69 games during the regular season, smacked two grand slams -- yes, two grand slams -- during River City's 9-5 win in Game 3. He became the first player in Frontier League history to hit two grand slams in a game.
Traverse City and River City split the regular-season series at 3-3. They didn't meet at all until Aug. 11, so Game 1 will be the seventh contest between the Beach Bums and Rascals in a little more than a month.
If there is one advantage for Traverse City it might be in the bullpen. The Beach Bums' relievers were among the best in the league at protecting a lead while River City's was among the worst. Some of that has to do with Traverse City's home field being a pitcher's park while River City's T.R. Hughes Ballpark is a hitter's haven.
Below are the number of blown saves for each team during the 2015 regular season:
18 -- Greys
18 -- River City
14 -- Rockford
14 -- Southern Illinois
13 -- Gateway
13 -- Washington
12 -- Windy City
11 -- Florence
11 -- Schaumburg
10 -- Lake Erie
10 -- Traverse City
7 -- Joliet
5 -- Normal
3 -- Evansville
The Wild Things had seven blown saves in 2014, a season that resulted in a playoff berth. Of those seven, Washington rallied and won three of those games. This year, once the Wild Things fell behind late after blowing a save they usually were unable to battle back. They had a 1-12 record in games with a blown save.