Baseball Playoffs

It’s playoffs time; anyone for handicapping?

All of these series, outside of St. Louis and L.A., could go either way. But even with our one “sure thing,” you have the wildcard of the Dodgers playing that “over their heads” way, where every break goes their way.

New York vs. Minnesota
Hi, my name is Johan Santana, and I’m the best pitcher in baseball. I should get serious MVP consideration, as well as the Cy Young. I’m Pedro Martinez, circa 1999.

Seriously, the Yankees have to be worried. Of the two teams, they probably would rather have raced Anaheim or, especially, Oakland. The Yankees have a lot of offense, but Minnesota has the pitching to keep them down, and a seriously good batch of relievers.

It’s a broken record to say the Yankees have no starting pitching, and a thin relief corps once past QuantGorMo, but all you have to say is this: Most important pitcher, Tanyon Sturtze? Whether the Twins have enough offense to take advantage of the Yankees pitching will determine this series.

I say Twins in 5, with Santana winning 2.

Anaheim vs. Boston
The Angels are on a huge roll, and Vlad Guerrero should win the MVP. (Sheffield will win thanks to ESPN and the east coast media bias.) But their starting pitching is suspect; their relief pitching is sick, though.

The Sox can really kill their starting pitching, and the series where the Angels–in the thick of catching the Rangers and A’s, came in an got destroyed by the Sox has to be in their memory. (The Angels lost each game by nearly 10 runs.)

The Sox are healthier, have a better offense, and better starting pitching. If the games are close, the Angels have a great chance. If the Sox get off to big offensive starts, it’s all over.

Red Sox in 4.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles
This shouldn’t be much of a series. The Cardinals offense… yikes. Their starting pitching is just above yikes, but it can be.

The Dodgers don’t really have any better starting pitching, and a considerably worse offense.

There’s almost no way to see the Dodgers winning this series, but they’re on one of those Angels-like “we win close games” seasons, which could carry them through the playoffs.

St. Louis in 4.

Atlanta vs. Houston
I’d love to bet against the Braves, but then again, I had them in third place at the beginning of the season. It’s kind of hard to figure out how they’ve done it–Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzone for the hall of fame, no doubt–but they were great this season.

That said, Houston will be a serious test. The Astros have two A-list starters and a decent offense. The Braves have no true #1, or #2 for that matter.

But I’m still going to say Atlanta in 4.

I agree with most of your picks, but I’ll take Houston over Atlanta in 5. I also think St Louis is going to sweep LA.


My brain agrees that Houston will beat Atlanta, but I also thought they’d finish third behind the Phillies and the fish. So I’m thinking I’ll take them until they have their usual collapse.

It would be funny if their worst team ended up winning it all.

I have no idea how L.A. could beat St. Louis. Maybe Pujols and Edmonds will collide in the outfield, knocking both out of the playoffs. Oh wait, but then there’s still Rolen. And Walker. And Renteria. To battle Beltre and Steve Finley and, um, the player formerly known as Shawn Green.

This Cardinal die-hard begs to dissent.

(By way of reference, I bought’s season-long internet package and have all 152 non-blackout tv games the Redbirds played this season saved to dvd…)

I think the Cards are eminently beatable by LA. The starting pitching is really bad without Carpy in there. Morris is awful–and pitching with an aching shoulder, something he finally admitted to this past week. Williams has been decent, but not great. Soup and Marquis have had some good games…but they’ve also had too many “blowup” games in the past month for me to be comfortable. Izzy is the fourth-best closer of the four NL playoff teams. In their recent home-and-home series, the Cards demonstrated that they still have no earthly idea how to pitch to Steve Finley, and also now haven’t the foggiest of notions about pitching to Beltre either.

The offense should be good…but they’ve shown a need to have everyone in there to be effective. When Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, Walker, Womack, or Rent sat in the last month, the team seemed confused about how to score runs. If everyone stays healthy, I’m less nervous. But then I remember 2000, and Scotty getting run over charging a ground ball at third.

We’ll see…but the team in the NL that’s my pick to make the Series is the Astros. In a 5-game series, the Braves will see Clemens once and Oswalt twice. Lidge has lived up to his “Lights Out” nickname. Beltran and Berkman are studs, and while Bags and Biggio are on fumes, they’ve found some life in the last month too.

The Sox better do SOMETHING this year. I’m currently standing on a chair in the hallway, rope around my neck. Saturday was not kind to the northern Bay Area, and the only thing keeping me from committing suicide is praying and hoping that the Yankees get ass raped as quickly as possible.

That, and the thought that I’d be ending my life without taking a couple relief pitchers with me.

Octavio Dotel needs to be killed. Or traded. If they’d have stayed with Zito, they’d have won it.

I think the Twins have to feel happy that they got the Yankees. The Yanks are dangerous, and I think they’ll win the series, but they’re wounded and vulnerable. I wouldn’t want to play the Red Sox right now.

The Anaheim - Red Sox series could be a blast. I live 15 minutes away from Edison Field, so I’m going to try and get tix to see the games this week. It’s a good place to see a ballgame when the fans are into it.

I have no idea how to handicap the National League, other than the fact that St Louis should rip through everyone. I think the Dodgers could push it to 5, but I can’t see them beating the Cards.

It’ll be fun to see Clemens in the playoffs again. There’s a small part of me that would like to see what would happen if the Astros and Yankees met in the Series, and Clemens came back to NY. But I think the Braves will win that series.

Yes, but how kind of the the two Bay Area teams to pull their annual choke job on the same day, instead of dragging it out into the postseason like they usually do.

Not to mention that gas-can Mecir. Why Macha kept using him in critical situations this year is beyond me. Although why Macha even has a job is beyond me as well.

Two words: Lima time.

Seriously, have you seen the Dodgers starting pitching? It’s awful. Odalis Perez as your #1? Or Jeff Weaver? Lima?

And what bats do you fear? Beltre and Finley, and that’s about it.

It’s possible that Dodger mojo continues, but yeesh, they’re not a good team.

THe only issue with the Astros is their legacy of failure in the playoffs. And whether Clemens, at his age, can come back on three days rest.

(Does anyone think his “sickness” was planned, that he/Garner had no intentions of bringing him back on three days rest, that they did this just not to spook the rookie?)

I’m going against all of your opinions and picking the dark horse. The Angels. They’re the hottest team now and Vladimir is absolutely on fire. If you recall Juan Gonzalez playing with the Rangers several years ago, you’ll know how a white hot batter can have a huge effect on a short series. I pick the Angels to beat the Red Sox in 4 and meet the Yankees (in 5 - they know how to outlast outstanding pitchers [see how they handle Pedro, who is sub .500 lifetime against them.])
Angels in 6, because they play better hit and run ball than the Yankees.

In the NL, I don’t think it’s much of a contest. The Cardinals are well coached and well managed. They have Gold Glovers at every position. They have the look and feel of a champion this year, with a solid bullpen. The only real problem they have is Matt Morris. He’s the wildcard (no pun intended) to their chances of winning it all.

I’m torn. I want the Yankees to lose to the Twins because a 1st round exit may cause stroke in Steinbrenner. However, a loss to the Red Sox may actually kill him. I do think the Red Sox will have a harder time mentally with the Yankees, though.

The Twins will need to win in New York, which I think they’ve done once in like 18 tries. Granted, that one did come in the playoff opener last year, so who knows. Santana alone might be enough in the 1st round, because if he wins 2, you only need to steal one other game (likely pitched by Radke), which is very possible against the Yankees rickety starting past Mussina. Especially with El Duque starting to hurt.

I feel the same about the Red Sox. I think Schilling can win 2 on his own, and that means that they just need to steal one to beat the Angels. I think the Angels have at least some chance of being “spent” from beating the As, and Pedro, while not the Pedro of yore, doesn’t fear the Angels like he does the Yankees.

Side note: I think Vlad’s september puts him over the hump for MVP, over Sheffield. Especially his last week, more or less carrying the Angels on his back to the West pennant.

The Cardinals have all the makings of the first round upset. Carpenter is hurt, the other starters are hittable. The Dodgers are almost doing it with smoke and mirrors and Eric Gagne. I’m not saying they will lose, but it won’t surprise me. I think it’s a 3 or 4 game series, and not really close however it turns out.

The Astros/Braves series is something that might tear a hole in the space-time continuum (sp). Of late, both teams have stunk in the post season. The Braves got waxed by the Cardinals and the Cubs in first rounds, and the Astros weren’t declared dead a handful of times this year because of a Texas bias. I keep thinking both teams will lose this series, so whoever wins will likely get whupped by the Dodgers/Cards winner.

I would like to bump this thread to make passing mention that my mancrush on Jimmy EyeshadowBallgameHollywood continues unabated.

Does anybody here find Joe Buck’s voice to be annoying after awhile?

Go Sawks! (My real team, the fookin’ Cubs are… out of it.)

How dumb were the Angels for letting him go? For Kent Bottenfield? Yikes.

How dumb were the Angels for letting him go? For Kent Bottenfield? Yikes.[/quote]

Believe it or not, there’s still this bizarre coterie of Cardinal fans out there who are so blinded by their hatred of Walt Jocketty and Tony LaRussa that they’ll sulk about losing Adam Kennedy in that trade as well…

…or moan about the price of Placido Polanco being “too much” for Scott Rolen…

…or whine about “only” getting Daryl Kile (who was, uh, “damaged goods” or something) and Dave Veres from the Rocks for Manny Aybar and Jose Jimenez…

Think I’m kidding? Check out the near-mythical, now 2-year old thread “David Bell-World Series Hero”. At 1448 replies over the last 24 months, it makes the Huffman/Derek Smart wars look tame (and sane, and reasonable) by comparison.

“Too much”? WTF? Rolen is pretty much in the top 5 current players with his stick and glove skills and intangibles.

I’d say the playoffs are off to a terrific start. All the teams I hate (So-Cal posse, Yankees) are down by one, and the teams i like… well, let’s not talk about them. Their year is over anyway.

You’d have to be a lifelong Cardinals fan to understand the infatuation that some folks in Cardinal Nation have with overachieving marginally talented players. If the wingnuts in Cardinal Nation had their way:

Joe McEwing would be in left field for Larry Walker.
Placido Polanco at third for Scott Rolen.
Adam Kennedy would be at second in place of Tony Womack.
David Bell would anchor first in place of Pujols.
50-year-old Ozzie Smith would still be at short.
49-year-old Willie McGee would still be in center.

They’re nuts. And there’s no arguing logic (or, say, statistics) with 'em.

Injuries aside, that would be an improvement.

Of course it would be at the expense of Edmonds, who I hear is sorta good.

Wasn’t McEwing long gone by the time they acquired Walker??

Or is the point that they would just rather that the Cards had never let McEwing go in the first place?

Exactly. There’s this brainwashed splinter faction of Cardinal fans who despise Tony LaRussa and Walt Jocketty for being California guys. This group wants a Cardinal team of scrappy overachievers who manufacture runs and pitch great. Whitey Herzog is to them what Mike Ditka is to the football crazies in Chicago.