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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.

2011 MLB Playoff Predictions

Friday, September 30, 2011



Rumor has it there will be a new World Series Champion this year; I'm unsure all the precincts are yet counted, however.  I'm just saying if Orlando Cabrera suddenly gets his veteran leadership gravy all over whatever golf course he's presumably going to spend next week playing, don't be surprised if the Giants sneak into the playoffs.  Maybe through a Redemption Island like scenario where we battle it out against the Sox and Russell Hantz's nephew.


(Hey, Russell's Nephew, it's me, God.  You know that one girl is trying to tempt you with her yabbos, right?  It's Day 7 and she's still flashing those dirty, firm milkdaddies all across the island.  Are you on an island this year?  It's hard to keep up.  Hey, I've been DVR'ing Simon's new show, I think maybe these music competitions jumped the shark with last year's Idol.  So, Russell's Nephew, what are you going as for Halloween this year...)

I'm picking the Phillies.  They were baseball's best team with a hundred three win pythag.  If they were to win the Series, those 103 wins put them in the top 30 greatest World Champs of all time.

I'll say they beat the Yankees; the only result from the AL which would surprise is Detroit winning the pennant given their sub-90 pythag.  There have been 106 World Series winners - 95 of them have had 90+ win pythags.  Significantly, in case you wondered what impact the Wild Card has had, a disproportionate number of those sub 90 pythag World Series winners have been in recent years:

1996 Yankees (88)
1997 Marlins (88)
2003 Marlins (88)
2000 Yankees (85)
2006 Cardinals (82)

About half of every sub 90 pythag WS champions come from the past 15 years; it's a hidden legacy of the Wild Card, the mediocre World Champion.

With that said, it still seems error to pick a sub-90 team if you're picking - and that would eliminate Detroit/St Louis/Arizona.  The Yankees are the only other 100 win pythag team in the postseason, so I'll pick them.  But the AL is a dart throw.

I'm rooting for Tampa.  I'm rooting for Tampa/Milwaukee, to be more specific.

AL:

Yanks v. Tigers
-Yanks had a dozen game pythag advantage, that's too much to turn down.  If you're just popping in for the postseason - New York's best players this year weren't names like ARod/Teixeira/Jeter; instead, the most valuable Yankee position players were Granderson/Cano/Gardner.  But those famous guys are still around too, and still good players (except for The Late Derek Jeter, who hit replacement level this season and is now officially just another guy).  Sabathia was third on my AL Cy Young ballot, and Robertson/Rivera may have been the two best relief pitchers in the American League this season.

Detroit's not a one man team - but Verlander's pretty solidly the AL Cy Young winner and should get MVP support (second on my ballot).  Alex Avila was baseball's best catcher this season; Miguel Cabrera had an OPS+ over 180.  Heck, Doug Fister probably gives the Tigers pitching advantages in games 1 and 2. Further, the Yankees primary skill is they hit lefties - and Detroit's going to throw out one right hander after another. I recognize I'm picking NYY to win the pennant, but if the Tigers knock them off in 5, that wouldn't surprise. Yanks in 5.

Ex-Giants alert - Brad Penny is the Tigers fifth starter.

Texas v. Tampa
-Rangers have a 7 win pythag advantage, that's a little closer, but I'll go Texas.  I'm rooting for Tampa, and I'd guess they get some momentum action by the public, but I'll still pick the Rangers.  Did you know how bad Reid Brignac was this year?  His OPS+ was 29.  29!  Here was his slash: .193/.227/.221.  Holy cats.  Longoria's the best third baseman in baseball; had he not been injured he'd be in the MVP discussion.  Tampa doesn't have many bats - there's Longoria and Zobrist and then a bunch of guys, particularly if Joyce sits as part of the platoon.  The arms carry them - Shields/Hellickson/Price all had good seasons.  And they've decided to go with the rookie Moore in Game One; guts are another reason I enjoy Tampa. The Rangers are back, they've added Beltre and Napoli to their core of bats, and that carries them, as the starters are slight after Wilson.

Rangers have better bats.  Rays have better starters. Rangers have a better pen and both teams have really good gloves.

I'll take Texas in 5.

Ex-Giants alert.  Yorvit Torrealba catches, Brett Tomko and Merkin Valdez logged some bullpen time this season.

Yanks v. Texas.
As mentioned, I'll take New York.  No results would shock, if it's mid October and the Tigers have won the AL pennant, even that wouldn't shock, but the only team which would surprise would be Detroit.  Either Texas or Tampa has a good path to the pennant, and I'm rooting for the Rays to win the whole thing.

NL:
Arizona v. Milwaukee
-Brewers have a tiny 2 game pythag advantage;  I'll take Milwaukee in 4; Braun was 2nd on my NL MVP ballot, and as he helped me to my fantasy win (co-win; I finished in a 3 way tie in my NL League) I can't say I didn't see it coming.  Fielder's a premium bat, and Hart and Weeks can also punch the ball.  Milwaukee's got a lot of outs in the bottom of their lineup.  Marcum/Wolf were both better than Gallardo/Greinke this season and in a short series, the Brewers have a pretty healthy rotation+pen advantage here. Arizona kicked our ass this year.  Other than Upton/Montero, I'm not sure they have the bats to go too far.  Parra and Young are really good outfield gloves, Arizona has a substantially better defense than the Brewers.   Kennedy had a terrific year; his high win total will get him more Cy consideration that he warrants probably.

Ex Giants alert - One time prospect Cody Ransom had a crucial hit to help propel the Snakes in overtaking us.

Phillies v. StLouis
-Phillies are the best team in baseball, 15 games above the Cards.  I'll take them to sweep.  The Phils position players aren't who they've been previously - Howard, Utley, Rollins - none having the kind of year that made them famous.  But the Pence trade worked and Victorino had an all star caliber season.  Obviously, it's the starting pitching that makes his a hundred win team.  Halladay got my NL Cy Young vote; Lee finished third, and Hamels wouldn't be far behind.  They'll roll those 3 guys out with Oswalt behind and look to run through the playoffs.  I'll say they do. The Cards have bats - Pujols/Berkman/Holliday (health permitting, he's out game one) are the three biggest bats in the Series but they don't have the arms or gloves to stay with the Phils. The Phillies are healthier really than at any point this season. Phillies in 3

Ex-Giants alert - John Bowker logged some plate appearances with the Phillies this season.

Phils v. Brewers
-I'll take the Phillies to sweep them too.

It's a Phils/Yankes series.  I'll take Philly in 5.  I'll take the Phillies in any WS matchup.

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