I guess we should probably make LDS predictions…
Here’s what I’ve got, but of course, the articles are only 10% of the fun! Who do you see advancing to the LCS?
New York vs. Minnesota:
Prediction: Twins in 4.
Why? Sorry Yankee fans, not seeing a repeat. Last year, the Yankees swept the Twins in a decisive manner but, as we all know, this is not 2009. Carsten Charles will win game 1, but after that, Minnesota’s superior overall rotation will be the difference. There are just too many question marks for the Bronx Bombers; will the Yanks get 1st half Hughes or 2nd half Hughes? Is Pettitte ready to go? Having the #1 offense in baseball certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at, so I could very well be proven wrong, but that offense isn’t going to be feasting off Kevin Millwood anymore. Robinson Cano has been a tremendous asset and is certainly a worthy MVP candidate, but he hasn’t been the guy that could carry the team since June. There’s nothing about the Twins that necessarily astounding (besides that one guy who hits like .800 every year despite crouching for half the game) but the overall pitching and bullpen is better (overall) while the lineup will hold it’s own. Not having Morneau is definitely a setback, but they’ve faired pretty well even without him.
Bold Prediction: Denard Span, who stole a respectable but not overwhelming 26 bases this season, will steal 5 off Jorge Posada.
Texas vs. Tampa Bay
Prediction: Rangers in 5
Why: Three times in the late ’90’s, the Rangers played in the ALDS, and three times they lost. The reason why? They had no pitching. Rick Helling? The only thing that guy was good for was proving, conclusively, once and for all, that anyone with Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Rusty Greer and co. can win 20 games. Well, this is a more balanced team now. Pitching, pitching, pitching – the combination of Cliff Lee, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter, and CJ Wilson is the biggest reason for the resurgence of Ranger Nation (is that a thing?). Obviously the Rays are favored here, this lineup could very well be limited to a single-digit run total for the series against the front 4 from Texas. The deciding factor will be if Josh Hamilton will be back to his previous self after a month on the DL.
Bold Prediction: Game 1: Price vs. Lee, both complete games, combined 10 hits or fewer.
Atlanta vs. San Francisco
Prediction: Giants in 3
Why: The momentum factor, plain and simple. Since the start of September, the Giants have gone 19-10, catching and ultimately eclipsing San Diego. The Braves have been going exactly the wrong direction, under .500 and surrendering their division lead to Philadelphia. Tim Hudson has been the best pitcher in either series, but he has to wait until game 3 before throwing a pitch and he still has to go against Jonathon Sanchez. With the Braves OPSing just .684 over the last month, Bobby Cox has got to find some other ways to invigorate McCann, Heyward and their 23 closest friends besides the sad fact that he’s going to be assumed into baseball heaven after the World Series. I have it on good authority that that’s how it will go down.
Bold Prediction: The primary commentators will mention how “rookies played such a big role in making this happen,” or something along those lines, at the beginning of each game and at least once per game during the at-bats of Jason Heyward and/or Buster Posey.
Cincinatti vs. Philadelphia
Prediction: Phillies in 5
Why: This series features the top two offenses in the league, the probable MVP and the probable Cy Young. So you know it’s going to be a good one. There’s great pitching on both sides – the Phillies “Roytation” is decent, but their bullpen is an achilles heel, while Cincy is solidly above average in both areas. If you want extra-inning affairs, this is the series to watch. The Reds have to get to the Phillie starters early to win; if those starters get 7-8 innings a piece, the Reds odds are just too low. Ultimately, you gotta go with Philly; they missed their best overall player for 50 games and still had the best record in the Majors.
Bold Prediction: Halladay will suffer a 3-run homer to Joey Votto in the first inning of the first game, and then retire the next 19 in a row.