Friday, October 08, 2004

 

The Playoffs

Sorry for not posting sooner, been very busy with tests and finals approachinig. Regardless of current scores, these were what I had as my prognostication before the first pitch was even thrown. (I'm also going to try my best to write this retroactively).

Twins/Yankees-Twins in 4
Johan Santana is a game one win, and Radke is a 50/50, but they're the Yankees, so we'll play it safe and say they split in Yankee Stadium. The Twins then head back to the Metrodome, where Carlos Silva would presumably pitch a game 3 against Kevin Brown (which will probably end in Kevin Brown punching another wall, as Twins decimate him at home.) Game 4, if, and I guess with my thinking when, the Twins are up 2-1, they will (and Gardeinhire announced this) pitch Santana in Game 4. He'll be on short rest, but he'll be lights out at home, and provided Ron doesn't channel Dusty Baker again when pitching Joe Nathan, the Twins should be headed to their first ALCS in a long time.

The best friggen team ever/Angels-Red Sox in 4.
Hi, my name's Curt Schilling, and in the playoffs, I make people cry(Co-World Series MVP like whoa). Hi, my name is Pedro Martinez, and I have something to prove, and I own the Angels. I'm calling that 2 wins, and since we all know they won, it was 2 impressive wins. Game 3, I'm expecting the Angels to come out playing for something, and I just don't see us sweeping them out. Game 4, I'm looking for Tim Wakefield in Fenway to shut the door on whoever the Angels start (especially if they try starting Washburn on short rest). It's entirely possible we could sweep them out, with that whole doomed flight across the country factor, but I'm playing it safe, either way, GO SOX!

Cardinals/Dodgers-Bust out the brooms boys, Cards in 3
There was a sign at game 1 of the nlds in St. Louis that had a picture of the St. Louis lineup depicted as Murderer's Row (and since I like them more than the Yankees, they can have the title). Let's just make a few quick points, Jeff Foxworthy style.
-When Larry Walker is number 2 in your line up, you might be a murderer's row
-When the league leader in SLG (not named mini deity Bonds) is in your lineup, the man who would have won the RBI crown had he not been injured, and oh ya, Jim Edmonds batting 5th, you might be a murderer's row.
-When even Tony Womack hits over 300, you might be a murderer's row.
-Did I mention any other of Albert Pujols stats?
Ok, but to be serious, Cardinals will, and have, tee off on Dodger pitching, Gagne + cortizone shot = series lost, especially when you can't even get him the ball with a lead anyway.

Astros/Braves-The toughest call, Astros in 4
May I just first make a rude gesture to Juan Cruz for hitting Carlos Beltran after his 3-3 day. When not even Roger Clemens retaliates, you know you did something pretty assholish. Beltran was en fuego as the sportscenter anchors of old would say, and looked like he was poised to carry Houston on his back single handedly to the NLCS. Last night he was 0-5 when I turned off the game, and was running noticably different. So screw you Juan Cruz, but back to sports.
Between Clemens and Oswalt in Atlanta, you know they're going to take 1 game (and they did). That's 1/1 back to Houston, where the Astros have won almost as many games in a row as the Patriots. I am a little worried that Phil Garner rode Brad Lidge like (insert another Dusty Baker reference here) in game 2, but I think he'll be ok with the day's rest. Astros will be lights out at home, and I wouldn't put it past Roger to demand a ball in Game 4, not that he'd need to, they have Brandon Backe, and broken bullpen phones! I wonder if Bobby Cox's protest still gets filed even though he won? Bagwell and Biggio are both playing with something to prove, Lidge is lights out when used properly, and if Beltran isn't hurt, we're going to be hearing an awful lot from the killer B's this post season.

So that's how I see it, Twins/Sox, Astros/Cards, how those games go, well we'll just have to wait and see if I'm right..

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.



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