Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Baseball Playoff Preview

Division Series Edition

Say what you will about baseball, what with the ridiculous salaries, steroid controversy, etc., but you can't say this wasn't a strange year. Bud Selig's dream of parity became clearer in 2007, as there were no 100 win nor 100 loss teams in either league. Also, 7 of the 8 teams playing in the post-season were not doing the same thing last season.

We had several milestones, including Barry's 756th*, Biggio's 3,000th hit, Glavine's 300th win, and the 500th HR from Arod, Thome and Frank Thomas. I would rather not mention it, but we also saw the historic collapse of the New York Mets. There, I said it, now let's move on to the teams that are still playing ball.

National League
Phillies vs. Rockies
It is unfortunate that the two Teams of Destiny have to meet in this round, isn't it? Colorado's unlikely run to this series was just as remarkable as Philly's, no doubt. The wild win over the Padres on Monday seemed appropriate in many ways, and this is clearly a team on a roll.
For all that was made of the Mets implosion, let's not forget that the Phillies had to play lights out baseball as well to get to this spot. They're also afire, which could make this the most entertaining of the four Division Series.
The Pick: Just a hunch, but we've got a feeling the Philadelphia pitching might come back to Earth a bit, at the worst possible time. Expect some slugfests.

Rockies in 5

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
Lost amidst all the craziness in the Eastern and Western divisions was the Cubbies - a team which overcame a pretty significant deficit themselves to get to the playoffs for the first time since the immortal gag job of 2003 (can you say Bartman?). The anonymous D-Backs somehow managed to win the West despite scoring less runs than allowed.
The Pick: D-Back kiddie Corps might be too young to feel the playoff pressure, while Cub players must carry the weight of a century of failure. Still, we like the boys from Chicago, at least at this point. Come back in 1/2 and hour and the pick might change, but for now it's...

Cubs in 5

American League

Red Sox vs. Angels
Sox built huge lead, then avoided the meltdown you were secretly expecting (c'mon Sawx fans, admit it, you were waiting for it to happen). Something feels a bit off about this Angel team though. The pitching has been spottier than usual, and the power numbers haven't been there. Boston has been somewhat in cruise control for much of the second half, but can trot out a nasty lineup to go with ace Josh Beckett.
The Pick: Like the Sox here in what could be a short series. Let's give the Angels at least one, making it.. Red Sox in 4.

Yankees vs. Indians
Seems like everyone is of the mindset that Alex Rodriguez needs to have a big series in order for the Yankees to do well. We're more concerned that the bullpen and thin starting staff can hold up against the Tribe's loaded lineup (not to mention the Sabathia-Carmona 1-2 punch on the mound). It makes for a sexier sub-plot, no doubt, to focus on ARod and his recent post-season struggles, but Yankee fans should be more concerned about Roger Clemens in Game 3, and the bullpen beyond Joba Chamberlain and Mo Rivera.
The Pick: ARod does just fine, but the Cleveland pitching makes the difference and leads the Mistake By The Lake to victory. Have fun in Anaheim/Boston/Chicago/San Francisco in '08, Alex!

Indians in 5

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