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a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

2009 MLB Playoff Predictions

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who helped negotiate Michael Crabtree's contract?

Hey, playoffs start today, Cliff Lee and whatnot. I'll pick all of the opening series, offering a couple of smart things about all of them, and then give my picks for the remainder of the postseason.

NL
Phils (WARP3 68.4) v. Rox (67.8)
-Closer matchup then you think; Phils have just a tick more value over the course of the season; I'm going to pick the champs, but I wouldn't invest in it. 

-Rox swept the Phils in '07; they keep the ball in the park and the Phils rely heavily on home runs; the problem for the Rox is they will send out RH arms (Cook, Jimenez, Marquis/Hammel) against the Phils left handed power (Utley, Ibanez, and especially Howard, who has a crazy platoon split).  On the other hand, the Rox arms (Cook, Street) keep the ball down, and the Phils power is concentrated up in the zone. 

-The Rox are patient, seeing a lot of pitches (it's good to work counts, Jim offers to his beloved SFG, the two teams which saw the most pitches-per-PA this year were the Yanks and RSox, their being the two best teams in the game isn't coincidental), but the Phils don't walk anyone (2nd fewest in NL). 

-Both of the bullpens are bad.  The Rox seems to have improved recently; it's unclear the Phils have much of a pen plan.  Know whose pen was good?  The Giants.  One real bat at the deadline, this is all I'm saying.

-Phils in 5.  But stay away from this series.

Dodgers (78.3) v. Cards (69.1)
-LA, over the course of the season, was the best team in the NL.  They played badly down the stretch; there are lots of reasons baseball playoffs are hard to predict, one of them is the length of the season makes consideration of season long value numbers less valuable when trying to call a short October series. 

-The Cards, despite Pujols being Pujols, hit much better against RH than LH (they have the lowest OPS in the NL against lefties, which is the determining factor for me in calling this for the Dodgers) LA's going to run Kershaw (if he's the guy the mainstream media is talking about in a month as the new Josh Beckett, you read it here) and Wolf at them.  There are going to be a lot of ground balls in this series, as the Cards arms/Dodgers bats both trend hard that way - if there's a play in this series it might be under the daily run total. 

-LA's bullpen is bananas. 

-The Dodgers hit fastballs well - Carpenter's a fastball pitcher, the Dodgers have had good success against him.

-LA in 4. 

-I'll take the Dodgers to win the pennant, beating the Phils in 6.

AL
Angels (70.8) v. Red Sox (77.3)

-Boston's playing the best ball of the season; they're in good shape to drive past the Angels again this year. Victor Martinez and Billy Wagner were really good upgrades, demonstrating that its possible to tune up an already good ballclub during the season in an effort to win the whole thing (not that I'm complaining about the deal for Freddie Sanchez, which was obviously unassailable)

-LAA did a nice job converting to a walk/homer team (Abreu helped with the former, Morales with the latter) moving away from the small ball with which they were associated for several years.  But they're outmatched here.

-Sox in 4. 

Yankees (82.7) v. Twins (70.7)

-The Twins are good, you see their season long value was the same as the Angels - obviously they come into the postseason playing well and they have Joe Mauer, who probably wins the AL MVP Award (I'd vote for Greinke, but Mauer would be second and an equally good choice).

-But they're gonna lose.  Yanks in 4. 

-New York's been the best team in baseball all season long; they're the best team now.  Does that mean they'll win - nah - it's October, stuff happens.  The Yanks will need one (at least) of their non-Sabathia starters to step up, and a few crucial outs will cause the "A-Rod can't hit in the postseason" shouts to get louder and louder.  But if you're calling it - their weaknesses are fewer than the other clubs, their strengths are more pronounced.  Lets say Yanks in 6 over the Sox, and then in 6 more over the Dodgers.

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