Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Playoff Predictions

ALDS: Tigers vs. Yankees

What advantages do the Tigers have over the Yankees?

  1. Defense
  2. Middle relief
  3. Starting pitching depth
The Tigers defense has probably been the best in baseball, and has made all those pitchers look good. The Tigers do have a nice set of arms in the bullpen, even if their closer isn't all that great. And I'd trust Jeremy Bonderman over Jaret Wright any day, even if Wright had a pretty decent season.

The Yankees real weakness is going to be the middle innings - with Rivera supposedly only pitching an inning per game, that leaves a lot of innings in the hands of fairly untrustworthy relievers, particular when Wright starts.

I wouldn't go as far as some to say that the Tigers have no chance, since anything can happen in a short series. But I wouldn't bet on it. Yankees in 4.

ALDS: Twins vs. A's

As usual, the two teams I'd most like to root for in the AL face each other in the first round. The Twins have become a very popular pick, but I'll defend the A's as usual. I'm usually not a fan of first-half, second-half splits, since I think they're often just noise, but when there's an injury involved, I think they can be real meaningful. Esteban Loaiza was hideous at the beginning of the season, but he's gained somewhere in the range of 5-8 MPH on his fastball since then, and he was pretty decent in the second half (8-4, 4.01).

Rich Harden is the key here - with him at full strength, they have perhaps the best starter among the AL playoff teams outside of Santana. No team can match up with Zito at #2, Haren at #3 and Loaiza at #4, even the Tigers.

The question with the A's, of course, is their offense. But even with two MVP candidates in their lineup the Twins only outscored the A's by 30 runs on the year. And even with Minnesota's second-half surge, the A's outscored them after the All-Star break.

It all comes down to Santana's starts. And while Santana is clearly the best pitcher in baseball, the A's get to counter with Zito, no slouch himself. I think the A's steal one of the Santana/Zito matchups. A's in 4.

NLDS: Cardinals vs. Padres

No healthy Edmonds. No good starters after Carpenter. No closer. No offense from half the lineup. No wins. Padres in 3.

NLDS: Dodgers vs. Mets

The Mets aren't looking so hot right now, and the Dodgers have played well recently. This reminds me a bit too much of 1988, but the Dodgers don't have Orel Hershiser this time. Mets in 5.

ALCS: A's vs. Yankees

Unlike their matchup with the Tigers, I think the A's pitchers have a decent shot of, well, not stopping the Yankees lineup, but at least minimizing their destruction. It's an interesting matchup, because the Yankees have such obvious strengths and weaknesses, and the A's are much more balanced (fewer holes, but fewer stars). It's time for the A's to put their playoff problems behind them. A's in 7.

NLCS: Padres vs. Mets

The Mets need to save Fox from an Oakland/San Diego World Series. Mets in 5.

WS: Mets vs. A's

A rematch of the 1973 Series, but this time the Mets are actually good. But I'll stick with my preseason prediction, and try not to jinx my team. A's in 6.

1 comment:

Sully said...

Here's the short, short version of my picks:

Yankees in 3
Twins in 5
Padres in 5
Dodgers in 5

Yankees in 6
Dodgers in 7

Yankees in 5

I'm rooting hard against every one of my first round predictions except for the Padres.