Almanac Baseball: ABLCS Aces v Giants

My punting has taken a turn for the better recently. I backed the Sunwolves over the Rebels for instance, at $7 in the opening round of Super Rugby… but more on that in my weekly Super Rugby column.



The punt, or more of a wish, I had with the ABL playoffs was that we would end up with an Aces v Giants Championship Series decider to replicate, to some extent, the glory days of regular Vic v SA Claxton Shield finals. On Friday night, proceedings kick off at Melbourne Ballpark with Games 2 and 3 in Adelaide over the weekend. Just like the ABLSF series against the Auckland Tuatara, the Aces get a huge boost by hosting the opening game. The Giants, however, are a gritty team and showed that in their semi final.



The Aces looked in control in both games of their semi final. Their league-leading hitting talent stepped up. Solid starts by Downs and Helsabeck meant their opponents never got away from them. The relieving by Lars Liguori in Game 2 was exceptional and rightly got him the win.



When the Cavalry won Game 1 of their semi in such impressive fashion, despite needing a walkoff in the 10th, it seemed they had all the momentum heading to the City of Churches. The way the Giants regrouped and won both Games 2 and 3 by comfortable 3 run margins illustrates it was no fluke they had the best record of the regular season.



So it’s a tale of two styles coming up. Aces will be looking to do their thing and apply early offensive pressure. The Giants, on the other hand, tend to pace themselves and really on clutch players in pressure moments late in games. No matter who wins, we will have a new name on the ABL trophy. Both sides know the pain of getting to the decider and falling short. One will continue to feel the pain while the other will feel sweet relief.



Not much separates these two teams in most markets. I’ll be backing the Aces and that’s not just parochialism (hence the Sunwolves bet). While the Giants won more games in the regular season, I felt the Aces had the best January. Momentum means a lot in baseball and the way the Aces despatched the Tuatara on the weekend should be a portent of what they can do this weekend. Let’s see. If they lose, I’ll just have to rely on the rugby for my punting interests!





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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

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