Here is some info on the the best-of-3 series. The winners meets the North Division champ - either Daytona or Dunedin - for the league championship beginning Saturday.
Records: Fort Myers 82-57; Bradenton 78-61.
Head to head: The Miracle won the season series 13-5 and went 8-1 at home. The teams played all their first-half meetings in Fort Myers and their second-half games in Bradenton.
Projected Game 1 starters: Brett Lee (Fort Myers) 10-5, 2.45 ERA vs. Tyler Glasnow (Bradenton) 12-5, 1.74 ERA.
Players to watch for Fort Myers:
- Adam Brett Walker II paced the league in home runs (24) and RBIs (94) and stole the show at the All-Star Game at McKechnie by winning the home run derby and MVP award. He struggled against the Marauders, however, hitting .152 in 66 at-bats while striking out 22 times.
- Brett Lee has a 2.71 ERA in 266 innings and has lost just nine times in 60 professional games, including 42 starts. The Marauders hit .366 against him this season with Adam Frazier (5-for-9), Max Moroff (5-for-6) and Jose Osuna (5-for-8) doing the most damage.
- Stuart Turner hit .249 this season but slugged .481 against Bradenton and went 6-for-10 with five RBIs during an Aug.25-27 series at McKechnie Field. He made just three errors in 92 games while throwing 32 percent of runners trying to steal this season.
Players to watch for Bradenton:
- Jose Osuna gave Bradenton a huge jolt during the second half and wound up leading the league in slugging (.458) while finishing fourth in batting (.296). Osuna hit .500 over the last 10 games of the year to help the Marauders pass Palm Beach. Four of his 10 home runs came against the Miracle.
- Tyler Glasnow rolled to the league's pitcher of the year award while striking out 157 in 124 1/3 innings. He went 5-0 in August. Glasnow lost both of his starts against Fort Myers despite allowing three hits in seven innings, though he walked eight. Glasnow has not seen the Miracle since May.
- Jacob Stallings may be the Marauder with the hottest bat, a bit of a surprise considering he is a career .230 hitter. But he hit .429 with 16 RBIs in August and .278 after the All-Star break. A catcher, Stallings greatest asset is his defense, and he threw out 32 percent of runners trying to steal and committed four errors in 68 games. Thanks to Stallings and fellow catcher Jin-De Jhnag, the Marauders caught 63 runners trying to steal, tops in the league.
BRADENTON'S KEYS TO THE SERIES
- Win Game 1: The Marauders couldn't have dreamed a better scenario than giving the ball to Glasnow in Game 1 at McKechnie Field, where he went 7-1 with 0.85 ERA in 11 starts. It's a great opportunity Bradenton can't pass up, especially since winning two games in two days in Fort Myers may be a lot to ask considering the Marauders won one game there in nine tries during the season.
- Three outs an inning: Bradenton's defense had its moment and some lapses, too, as the Marauders placed sixth in the 12-team league in fielding (.975). The Miracle scored a league-high 712 runs this season, so giving them extra outs is not a good idea. Pitching is Bradenton's strength, but a porous defense could make things hard on the Marauders hurlers, especially against an offense as prolific as Fort Myers.'
- Jump ahead early: One thing the Marauders lack is power - they hit 50 home runs this season, second-lowest in the league to Jupiter's 49 - which makes it hard to play from behind. Bradenton's bullpen was one of the league's best, which is why the Marauders lost just five games when leading after seven innings. Bradenton's best course of action is to get a lead early and get the ball to their relievers.