Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quick n' Dirty Division Series Predictions

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Myth: The Angels are the best team in the American League.

Fact: Notwithstanding their 100-win season, the Angels finished 10th in the AL in runs scored, 11th in on-base percentage and 9th in slugging. Boston played in an infinitely more difficult division, finished 2nd, 1st and 3rd in runs, OBP and SLG in the AL and features a pitching staff that can match-up arm-for-arm with Los Angeles. Should we ignore the Angels' 8-1 record vs. the Red Sox this season? You bet'cha.

Prediction: Red Sox in 4.

Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Myth: Three games in three days against three different opponents have sapped the White Sox dry.

Fact: Chicago is a much more challenging match-up for the Rays than Minnesota would've been. While the Twins success was based on putting the ball in play and doing just enough to eke out 'W's, the White Sox swing for the fences (1st in AL home runs – 234) and bludgeon opponents into submission. Tampa has a couple of starters who don't miss many bats and a couple of relievers prone to the long ball. Sorry, Cinderella.

Prediction: White Sox in 5.

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Myth: The Brewers have a puncher's chance with CC Sabathia potentially pitching twice in this series.

Fact: Milwaukee isn't starting one dependable arm in any other game of this series. Game one starter Yovani Gallardo has thrown 24 innings this year and just four since May 1st. Who does that leave? Jeff Suppan? David Bush? Ted Higuera? Now, dig that Phillies line-up and commence with the bed wetting, Brewers.

Prediction: Phillies in 4.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs

Myth: THIS is "next year", Cubs fans!

Fact: The Dodgers finished near the bottom in runs scored, home runs and slugging percentage, but I think they can get to this Cubs rotation. Carlos Zambrano hasn't looked at all impressive since his September 14 no-hitter and Rich Harden is reportedly enduring the same drop-off in velocity that plagued him during a brief ineffective stretch in Oakland earlier this season. "Good pitching beats good hitting" is one of the most tired (and inaccurate) clich├ęs in baseball, but what the hell…

Prediction: Dodgers in 4.


Jeremiah said...

I gotta say, I only agree with you on the Brewers / Phillies series.

- The Red Sox pitching isn't nearly as good as their stats indicate. Dice-K will give them a nice 110 pitch, five inning, five walk, two wild pitch outing that will get by when playing teams that hack, but the Angels will gladly take those walks and small ball the Sox to death in one game. The Angels are loaded with righty gap power, so they can get to Lester. 2008 Beckett is not quite 2007 Beckett or even 2003 Beckett. Bullpen? Advantage - Angels. The Sox are depending on freakin' Masterson and Delcarmen to be the righty set-up guys. One's a glorified junkballer and the other throws a nice fastball, but it straightens out and becomes very hittable when he's under pressure. Angels in 4.

- The White Sox will hit some homers against the Rays, but the Rays will, too. The Rays have torched everybody but Jenks in the Sox's bullpen all year. Thorton? Walk-off bomb to Gabe Gross. Linebrink? Walk-off bomb to Cliff Floyd. Dotel? Puh-leeze. Rays will steal a couple of games late at home and win in 5.

- I know Big Z is struggling, but he always mans up in the playoffs and Lilly has been pitching his ass off the last few weeks. I can't trust Kuroda or that bullpen or any other bat but Manny. Plus, that Dodger defense? Ut oh! Cubs in 4.

Tim Salmon said...

for a sabermetrician like yourself, Carlos Zambrano "hasn't looked impressive since a no-hitter" and Rich Harden "reportedly losing velocity" sound like wishy washy nonsense that could be covered in ESPN the Magazine.

I know it's suppsed to be quick hits but c'mon...the DODGERS??? THE FUCKING DODGERS?

Dodgers swept in 3 and score 5 total runs.

Rays in 5.

Red Sox with no Beckett could be a bit more of a toss up...I hate both the Halos and the Sox so with any luck they will elimnate each other and the Rays can go directly to the World Series.

That Bootleg Guy said...

"Sabermetrician"? Nah. The most esoteric stat I use is OPS which is just A + B = C. Nothing against VORP, etc, but still...

I still think the Dodgers might be the most underrated team in the playoffs - and I'd say that if they didn't win Game #1. *Great* starting pitching and guys like Ethier, Loney, Martin to hit around Manny.

Problem with the Angels is that they don't take a lot of walks. They're an older, hacktastic team that isn't the "small ball" squad the media would have you believe. Still likey Boston.

And, I didn't mention it before - mostly cuz it's generally overrated - but, I think there might be something to be said about the ChiSox experience (and talent) trumping the callow kids in Tampa.

Tom said...

Can we expect "Sounds of Fall"? Or, at the very least, a play-by-play of Craig Sager's suits?

Thank God I have a bridge to get me to NBA on TNT.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I will say that Chip Caray just might be the worst play by play announcer alive. Teaming him with Buck Martinez's monotone cache of cliches was torture to my ears.

Jeremiah said...

Well, after one night, my picks look like crap. I didn't think Dempster would throw 70 pitches out of the strike zone, but the Dodgers are truly different with Manny. He makes everybody in that lineup better. That lineup is very well-balanced.

You were also right about the Angels. Did Torii Hunter take a pitch last night?? I really like that guy, but he came up real lame last night after Guerrero kept finding ways to get on base. Also, Kendrick sucks and shouldn't be hitting sixth. Eighth maybe. If Hunter doesn't start driving in runs, the Angels are screwed because the bottom part of that Angel order apparently can't do crap.