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.