Monday, October 05, 2009

Baseball Playoffs 2009

Another year, another playoff - though delayed, because of some other sport being played tonight in the worlds worst stadium.... Anyway - try to keep it brief, but when I start gassing about baseball, it's hard to stop.

Angels vs Red Sox - Sox own the Angels; but the Angels, as usual, have a strong, experienced team. One of these years they will win - though I'm not guessing this year. Also as usual, the Sox have the best pitchers in the series - have a deeper, better bullpen - both teams have deep, balanced lineups who can score a ton - but probably no one guy who can carry them. So go with Lester and Beckett, who if healthy, are money.

Yankees vs. Tigers or Twins - if Tigers - it's Verlander x2 or nothing. If Twins - hard to see them winning. But they have a deep set of pitchers, they have Joe Mauer and a bunch of useful role players. The Tigers even have some decent pitchers behind Verlander - and Miguel Cabrera - maybe. Not even Manny Ramirez ever pulled that shit, especially not around playoff time. It's awful hard to see either of those teams knocking off the Yankees, though not impossible - behind Sabathia (who hasn't been ridden into the ground this year), there's room for failure in the rotation - a couple pitchers get hot against them, and you get a big upset. But - as long shots go it's really freakin' long...

If Boston and NY square off in round two - we should be in for something. If the Angels win - I think the Yanks are back on top. Though either the Sox or Angels can give them a pretty good fight, if they are on their games.

Dodgers vs. Cards - both teams are dragging into the playoffs, but there they are. I'm guessing it's the Cards' series to lose - they have better pitchers (Carpenter is as good as it gets, really - when he's healthy, which is about once a decade.) Pujols is what Manny Ramirez used to dream about being.

Phillies vs. Rockies - I think the Phillies will pull themselves together like the red sox and Yankees generally do this time of year - they are a good team that has been a bit weird at times, but are as likely as not to bring it all together at once. Though the Rockies are no slouches - they have a pitching staff, including the best closer in the NL playoffs, right? But Hamels is another money pitcher - and all those hitters....

I will guess now that the Phillies get back to the series - though if the Cards are firing on all cylinders, they are a real threat. I have to think about this - and any of the four seem capable of getting there. The Phil's main advantage over the Cards is Tony LaRussa. Ditto the Rocks. But the Cards have the best pitcher and best hitter in the league - that works sometimes.

And the World Series? Here is a question - what was the last time the World Series was the best series of the post-season? we've had some series' that might have been closer than they looked - last year, maybe 06, 05 even (all those 1 run games...) - but the last loser to win 2 games was the Yanks, in 03... a string which included a few very lopsided contests (Sox-Rockies in 07 achieved almost NBA levels of inevitability), but also a huge upset (2006), and a couple series that looked a lot closer coming in (last year; the 2004 Cards team - though they lost Carpenter, which turned them from world beaters into the Angels.) League champinionships have been much better - Sox/Rays last year, Sox/Indians the year before, Cards/Mets in 06, Sox/Yanks in 04 - as good a series as you're likely to see, both championships in 03 (Bartman! Aaron Boone!) - etc. It's an odd phenomenon. Likely to change one of these years - I think the Phillies or Cards could make any of the AL teams work, if they had to. Though I'd still say, Yankees and Sox are the teams to beat. Sabathia! Lester and Beckett! Rivera and Papelbon! that's where the Phils and Cards run into trouble - they don't have that guy at the end.... or the string of guys between the starts and the closer - Hughes and Coke and company, Wagner and Ramirez and Okie and Bard - those two teams are going to be hard to beat.

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