October 1, 2008

The playoffs are here!

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Picks

It only took two days and two intense games after the season was supposed to end for the final MLB post-season matchup to be set.
 
If those two must-win games for Chicago were any indication of what is to come in October, the White Sox are going to be very tough to hit. That bodes very well for them when you consider what they rode to the World Series a few years ago — strong starting pitching. The Rays have built their team around strong pitching as well but while they’re superb defensively, they aren’t that stunning on the offensive side. With so many kids in their lineup, experience may be a negative factor as well. I think that the White Sox can ride their hot streak and defeat the Rays by putting the ball where their D can’t gobble it up, in the seats.
Pick: White Sox in 4.
 
In the other AL matchup, the Angels face the Red Sox in what I think is the series that gives us the eventual World Series winner. My biggest concern is the health of the Red Sox. I’d feel a lot better about the defending champs if they had a healthy Josh Beckett pitching twice in the series but instead, the wild card Dice-K and the youngster Jon Lester will have huge responsibilities. With the pitching staff that Anaheim… err… Los Angeles has, it’s hard to envision that the Red Sox will be able to pound them with their vaunted offence. Throw in that Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew aren’t 100% and that Jason Bay is playing in his first playoff series and I’m a little uneasy taking Boston too seriously.
Pick: Angels in 5.
 
On the NL’s side of the bracket, the more intriguing series I’m looking forward to is the Dodgers-Cubs. It’s been a hundred years since the Cubbies, those lovable losers won the Series last and while I don’t see them taking it this year, they should be able to beat the Dodgers. That is, unless Manny Ramirez keeps up his torrid pace — and do you honestly think he won’t? Manny could be Manny and hit .800 this series if the Cubs pitchers aren’t careful and do we really know if this starting rotation is going to hold up in the post-season? I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden melt down in the October pressure. I do, however, still think the Dodgers rotation won’t be able to avoid a bruising or two of their own.
Pick: Cubs in 5.
 
The Phillies versus the Brewers can go one of two ways: It’ll be a pitching duel won by the arms of CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets and the Milwaukee Brewers or it will be a slugfest won by the Philadelphia Phillies. If it goes the pitching route, the Brewers may be able to wrap up the series in four games, or maybe even sweep the Phils depending on the Game 1 matchup of Hamels and Gallardo. But if it’s the latter, the Brewers do the bats to make it a long series. Looking over the rosters and remembering the way that Sabathia couldn’t put away the Red Sox last October, I think I’ve got my pick.
Pick: Phillies in 5.
 
Also, looking back at my beginning of the season predictions, I have a few comments: Nobody picked the Rays and I mean all-caps NOBODY so I’m not upset about that miss. Their season effectively bounced my Yanks-wild card pick … Wow did Detroit disappoint. Last in the AL Central? Seriously? … In retrospect, I can’t believe I picked two NL West teams to be playing in October … I guess you can’t really say the Rockies were most disappointing after mentioning the Tigers …  While Jose Reyes didn’t exactly light the league on fire, he was a solid performer and picking Manny Ramirez in the AL should count for something since he had MVP-like numbers after being dealt to the Dodgers … Ryan Howard thanks for stepping up late in the season and making me right … Finally, looks like Bonds was even too cancerous for the Yanks.

1 Comment

  1. How about this headline “Cubs vs Sox in subway series”. It makes for great Tv ratings and could prove to be great baseball.

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