Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A five game series is a crapshoot; the range of pythagorean wins among the 8 playoff teams is 92-97; there just aren't any mismatches left. That said - here are the picks.
NL - Philadelphia over Cincinnati - Phils in 4
-They both hit and catch the ball; they both stick low OBP guys at the top of the order; the Phillies hit lefties this year significantly better than had they previously, and while the Reds have a sizeable bullpen advantage, the Phils don't use that pen often. Maybe that catches up to them by the end of the month, but it's unlikely to matter in the first round. The Phils are the best team in the NL playing the best baseball. For game one - the Reds are sending the right guy to the mound, you'd still expect them to lose, but if they have any chance at all in the series, Volquez has to win Wednesday.
NL San Francisco over Atlanta - Giants in 5
-We're pretty good - the rotation, 1 through 11 is the best in the postseason (particularly if it's Bumgarner, and not Zito who is the 4th starter) we catch the ball (better is it's Ross and not Guillen who starts in right) and we don't score a lot, but with Posey/Burrell/Huff we can pop some homers. The Braves don't hit any better than we do, there's not much punch beyond Heyward/McCann, they don't have our rotation - and while the pen has been a real strength it, like the entire Braves club, is showing a ton of wear as we hit the postseason. Prior to Game 162 I wrote that even though it left us open to the possibility of a one game playoff (or worse), I was rooting for the Braves to win Sunday, as this is the most favorable matchup possible for SFG. Giants fans - you should expect to be playing the Phillies for the NL pennant and be disappointed if you are not.
AL - Tampa over Texas - Rays in 4
-Rays are well balanced, without any glaring weaknesses (they strikeout a helluva lot, which doesn't that much matter given how much they score) or overwhelming strengths (outside of their patience at the plate, it's a lineup filled with guys who will take a pitch, the Rays peck each at bat to death, exactly the approach I most like) Texas isn't as strong against lefties as they are righties, look for Price to have an advantage in his matchup. Both teams catch the ball, both pens are strong - the Rangers take a hit in a short series with Cliff Lee's inability to pitch on short rest. Josh Hamilton is just coming back from injury, David Murphy's health is questionable - Tampa's a better team with fewer questions. None of these 4 series is a lock, but A Texas win would be the most suprising result for me. Lee is not a great Game One matchup for Tampa given his pinpoint (cliche alert) control; if Tampa wins game one go all in on the Rays to win this series - even if they lose, that shouldn't overly sway you in thinking Texas is about to pull an upset.
AL - New York over Minnesota - Yanks in 5
-The Twins have Mauer/Liriano and Thome from the right side and not a lot else; they can't hit lefties at all; NY isn't built to win the whole thing, given Sabathia as their only reliable starter, but they should get by the Twins. The Yanks can still mash.
NLCS - Philadelphia d. San Francisco - Phils in 7. 'Cause it wouldn't be any fun if we didn't lose in 7.
ALCS - Tampa d. New York - Rays in 6.
World Series - Tampa d. Philadelphia - Rays in 7.