Well, after having a .750 winning percentage in my preseason predictions last season, I’m a mess this season. At the All-Star break everything was intact in the NL for me, while the Yankees and Indians continued to surprise with the Red Sox trading spots with the Yankees every few days and the Tigers and White Sox gaining on the Indians.
The one thing that I blew right off the bat was the Toronto Blue Jays winning the Wild Card. They were well out of it by June, in what looked like the Yankees and Red Sox both in the playoffs again. It seemed like the story for the NL East also, with Phillies and Braves would both make the playoffs. Then the craziest few minutes of baseball happened.
11:40pm – Atlanta loses and has blown a 10.5 game lead that they held over the Cardinals, Cards in the playoffs
12:02am – Papelbon blows the game for the Red Sox to the Orioles
12:05am – Evan Longoria hits the game winning home run to put the Rays in the playoffs over the Red Sox.
Best.Night.Ever. If you didn’t like the Wild Card before, you’d be insane not to love it after last night.
So needless to say, in a 25 minute time span I lost two of my predicted playoff teams, so I did not fair very well. Now I shall burn some more brain cells and try to guess my way through the playoffs. It worked last year, I called it 100% correctly through sound logic; good pitching. Here’s the problem, good pitching comes in the form of one or two startera per roster except for Philadelphia, Arizona, Milwaukee and Texas, yet pure power propelled the Yankees to the best record in the AL.
The Rangers have four starting pitchers with an ERA less than 4.00, the Yankees and Rays have three, and the Tigers have two but they are insanely low, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister. Verlander’s ERA is 2.40, but even more amazing is Fister’s ERA since joining the Tigers is 1.79 (2.83 for season) in 11 starts. Let me put it to you this way, if Verlander and Fister pitch like that in the playoffs; it’s over.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned teams in the NL match-up quite well, even the Cardinals do in a short series. The main question is “how big is the chip on the Phillies shoulder?” I’m not sure if it’s big enough…
St. Louis vs. Philadelphia
Does LaRussa have any magic left after being the surprise story out of the NL Central this year, making up a 10.5 game deficit to catch the Braves for the NL Wildcard spot. With Carpenter having to pitch the Cards into the playoffs, the game one match-up of Kyle Loshe vs. Roy Halladay doesn’t seem fair. Phillies win this series with some drama.
Prediction: Phillies in 4
Arizona vs. Milwaukee
The Brewers went out and added solid veteran pitching to go along with their solid offense and the won the NL Central quite easily. Arizona is the surprise story of the year, stealing the AL West from the Giants this season. The Brewers have the advantage in this one because they have the more veteran staff.
Prediction: Brewers in 3
Detroit vs. New York
The Yankees may have a pitching staff that is actually better than the Tigers for an extended series, but in only a five game series you do not really need more than two solid pitchers, and the Tigers have that. However, I’m struggling with the Curtis Granderson effect and his incredible season. I can’t help but think that Granderson will come up big in this series and help the Yankees make another run. As much as this pains me, the Yankees win the series.
Prediction: Yankees in 5
Tampa Bay vs. Texas
Deja vu! The Rangers hold the home field advantage in this one this year, and the Rays are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now, in fact, so hot they will upset the Rangers.The Rangers have a solid team, but sometimes you just go with the hot hand.
Prediction: Rays in 4
Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia
The aces of the Philly staff will fail again this year, I see no reason why they would not. The pressure to make up for last season will crush the Phillies and their fans again. The Brewers will power through the Phillies and keep their aging team in check.
Prediction: Brewers in 5
Rays vs. New York
Yawn… I actually hope I can write how I was wrong and the Tigers are here, but I’m following my gut as I did last season, part statistics part feeling. Anyway, I think we know how this one ends, with the Yankees going to another World Series.
Prediction: Yankees in 5
The World Series
Brewers vs. Yankees
My second thought is I’m completely wrong and this is Philly vs. Detroit, but I’ll stick with my first instinct if for no reason other than pure laziness and having to rewrite the whole post. So, who wins this series? The teams match-up well, but can the Brewers beat the evil empire? I’m really not worried about being wrong after my horrible regular season predictions. I’m backing the Brew Crew!
Prediction: Brewers in 7