Monday, October 04, 2004

 

MLB Playoffs

Yankees v. Twins
Angels v. Red Sox

Cardinals v. Dodgers
Braves v. Astros

That is the playoff matchups with home field advantage team listed first. There are no clear cut favorites in any of the series; there are not even clear cut favorites to win the World Series. The two best records over the last 2 months of the season belong to the two wild card teams, the Sox and Astros. The Angels have heated up as of late, but they were also facing Oakland and Texas so who knows what they are actually capable of. The Twins have Santana, Radke, and the Metrodome for 2 games at their disposal, but then again they were in the middle of the pack offensively this season. The Yankees have a top of the line offense, but their pitching has been weak until lately. Javier Vazquez is in the playoff rotation though (to justify his salary and because there is not really anyone else) so that is a weakness for the current form.

The Red Sox have Schilling/Pedro/Arroyo/Wakefield in their playoff rotation, but one of the two latter may not pitch if Schilling is needed on 3 days rest on Game 4. That is a strength, and it pushes Derek Lowe to the bullpen, where he did succeed in the highest of high pressure moments for the Sox up to that point against the A's in Game 5 inthe 2003 ALDS. Their offense is even better than last year's in some respects, with better pitching and a better bullpen. If Timlin, Embree and Williamson pitch anywhere near like they did in the playoffs last year any series could be easily won. That is a bunch of if's though...The Angels are hot as of late as I mentioned and Vlad Guerrerro is playing like he is the MVP (which he may be.) If the Angels get to the 6th or 7th inning with a lead that game may as well be over most nights. Their rotation is weak, but it may be strong enough considering the bullpen. I do like Colon against Schilling matchups though, especially if there are two of them. I don't understand at all why Kelvim Escobar is not starting Game 1.

Cardinals v. Dodgers is going to be very interesting; the Dodgers were fading late down the stretch but may be reinvigorated thanks to the Steve Finley walk-off grand slam Saturday night. Their bullpen ERA has actually improved after trading Guillermo Mota and Tom Martin away to the Marlins and Braves respectively, despite the attacks from critics. As long as their starters can stay healthy, the Dodgers have a chance to win. The Cardinals are going in to the playoffs weaker than they may have liked. Chris Carpenter, their best starter during the regular season, is not starting in the Division Series due to an arm injury that would keep him out until the NLCS if St. Louis advanced. Steve Kline still is not 100%, and he was one of their best relievers all season. This will not be as scary a Cardinals team as we have read about all season long.

The Braves are also hurting, as John Thomson and Chipper Jones both had injuries to report this weekend. Thomson has a stiff back and Jones was hit on the wrist by a pitch. The Astros on the other hand may have been helped in their playoff chances by Roger Clemens stomach flu (if it subsides in time) because now Clemens is able to start Game 1 and possibly Game 4 (with Oswalt doing game 2 and 5 honors if necessary) because he was not forced to pitch Sunday. This series will be incredibly interesting, because the Braves and Astros have a tendency to both lose in the Division Series (Braves as of late anyways.) Last time around the Braves beat the Astros, but they also had Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz then (not to take anything away from Wright, Thomson, Hampton, and Ortiz. Wright has pitched incredibly this season under the tutelage of Leo Mazzone and Bobby Cox.)

What I want to see is Twins/Red Sox and Dodgers/Astros in the Championship rounds, but you might have guessed that from previous ramblings on how things are done in baseball. Watch as much baseball as you can this week.



Comments:
hey marc, this is turner, i keep forgetting to mention who i am when i post, sorry...about the jackass comment i was refering to the online conversation we had when you were amazed that williams was not on the starting rotation for the nlds...sorry about the confusion...the playoffs are going to be intense with the growing parody in the league, you made a great point about how this is anyone's championship to win...on schilling pitching in game 4 on three days rest, i heard that no matter the situation schilling would be held off for game 5 (like last year with burkett in game 6 vs the yankees) there was an interview on how both wallace and francona had agreed on that philosophy...you are doing a great job marc and i cant wait to read you once the playoffs begin!
 
turner- the pitcher who i was thinking of in the 99 playoffs who came from pittsburg at the deadline was pete schourek, thankfully i just remembered or i would have been a troubled lil pup trying to figure out who the hell i was thinking of...vintage pedro...angels cant win with absolutely no power whatsoever and esspecially not when we score off of k-rod...bring it on home bronson
 
Slight problem with the Schourek comment...We got him from Houston, and it was after the deadline. It was also in 1998. I remember because he pitched well against Cleveland even though we lost. It was a waiver deal: Schourek for a Player to be Named Later.

He did go to Pittsburgh in 1999 though, and then in 2000 and 2001 he pitched for us again...did you know he went 18-7 for Cincinnatti in 1995?
 
Quick correction...we purchased Schourek from Houston, sorry.
 
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