October 7, 2009

A great setup for the playoffs

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Picks

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more intense than having your entire 162-game season boil down to a single play-in game with a heated division rival, the game went into extra innings. Both the Twins and the Tigers were even able to score in the 10th to try to end it, but the intensity continued. Heck, there was even a runner thrown out at the plate that would have won it for Minnesota. I seriously have no idea what was going through Ryan Raburn’s head as he caught Nick Punto’s line drive and threw it to the plate to get Alexei Casilla in time. Then you also have to figure in that this was only minutes after Raburn botched the triple to lead off the inning. Could you imagine the pressure?

But, after losing a play-in last year to the White Sox, the Twins were able to come out victorious and exhausted after some solid hitting in the 12th. But with their series against the Yankees starting today, how could these guys have any energy and emotion left for a big Game 1 in the Bronx? How well will some of their key relievers perform after a long night and plane trip to the east coast? Well, those two questions are a nice setup for both the post-season and RTP’s post-season preview.

New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
Like I said above, can the Twins keep up their momentum and their emotions after a tough race and play-in game? Against a team that is as stacked as the Bronx Bombers, very doubtful. Minnesota is missing one of their two key bats with Justin Morneau on the shelf and will try to play small ball. But at the rate that the Yanks can crush the ball, A-Rod’s annual October slumps shouldn’t affect this first round matchup.
Pick: New York Yankees in three.

Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox
For years the Red Sox have owned the Angels in the post-season, can they do it again? Well, these aren’t the same Red Sox we’ve seen in recent seasons and have struggled at times this year, but the same can said for the Angels. The key to this series could be Anaheim’s late acquisition of Scott Kazmir, a pitcher who has owned Boston in the past with Tampa Bay. But, when you figure that a clutch playoff performer like Josh Beckett could possibly pitch twice – the second time in Game 5 – it’s hard to go against the Red Sox to meet the Yanks in the ALCS.
Pick: Boston in five.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
The red-hot Rockies charged down the stretch to take the wild card after firing their manager early in the season, but will that be able to hold up against the stunning starters of the Phillies? You can’t forget about Philadelphia offence either and the Rockies pitching staff aren’t exactly top-notch. Will the Rockies, with a home-grown lineup be able to handle a rotation with an ace like Cliff Lee throwing twice in the series, not to mention Cole Hamels in Game 2 at least? I doubt it.
Pick: Philadelphia in four.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
One hand you have a team with two Cy Young contender and two big bats, on the other hand, you have a big lineup with a rotation that fell apart late in the season. When you go with the old adage that a good defence will beat a good offence, it’s hard to argue with the great arms that the Cardinals possess. The best contrasting point of this series will come in Game 3, when the Cards will send the wildly under-rated Joel Pineiro to the mound against a mid-season castaway from Texas, Vincente Padilla. Even Manny and the rest of the bats around him can’t make up for a disparity like that.
Pick: St. Louis in five.

1 Comment

  1. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

Leave a Reply