In my previous prediction post, I accurately called three of the four series, including the lengths of two of them. The other one I called a toss-up and went with my heart instead of my head. Sue me. I stopped there because I wanted to play video games which I felt at the time was the correct choice. I still feel it was the correct choice. Anyway, I didn’t think the Braves were going to win the World Series so this post isn’t going to look a whole lot different than it would have if the umpire had accurately called Buster Posey out before he scored the only run of Game 1. (Sour grapes? Nawww, not me.)
We’ll start in the NL because I like it more:
Game 1 of the NLCS has one of the best pitching match-ups in postseason history according to the Baseball-Reference blog. That might be a bold statement, but this game certainly won’t be one to miss. Tim Lincecum twirled a complete game shutout in that ill-fated series opener that I mentioned above, with 14 strikeouts against one walk. I joke that the umpire won the game for the Giants, but Lincecum could’ve gone 9 more innings and not broken a sweat. All Roy Halladay did in his postseason debut was toss the second no-hitter in postseason history against the Cincinnati Reds (still laughing about this). Who’s more capable of repeating his feat? Has to be Halladay. I’m not saying he’ll throw another no-no, but it’s no secret that the Braves can’t hit outside of Brian McCann while the Reds had some sluggers on that team. Lincecum did face Philly once in the regular season and he went 8.1 innings and struck out 11, but he didn’t factor in the decision. The Giants lost 7-6. Halladay actually got knocked around in his only start against the Giants. He took the loss after giving up 5 earned runs in 7 innings. But enough about them. They can’t pitch every game. Actually, Halladay probably could, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll make this simple: Oswalt + Hamels > Sanchez + Cain. The Giants are not a great offensive team so beating those three pitchers just isn’t going to happen in a 7 game series. I may give the Giants one game, but really, I don’t see anyone beating the Phils. Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Victorino, Polanco…their team is sick. Phillies in 5.
Now the other series will be a bit more interesting, I think. The Rangers have the offense and one great pitcher, but they’re kind of shaky behind Cliff Lee. The Yankees have their high priced offense and are less shaky behind their one ace, CC Sabathia, but they’re not what they used to be. The Rangers’ Game 3 starter, Colby Lewis, was literally pitching in Japan last year. Without looking at any stats, I feel like their offenses are very similar. Each team has some table setters (Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter for the Yanks, Elvis Andrus for the Rangers) and plenty of mashers that are capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark. The Rangers had four players hit over 20 homers while the Yankees had five. It has the potential to be a very offensive series after Game 1 where Sabathia and Lee will face off. The Rangers are going to need a whole lot of that offense to come from Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, just like they did in the ALDS, but perhaps more importantly, Josh Hamilton cannot hit .111 if they expect to win. On the other hand, the Yankees can have players take an off-series. ARod goes 1-15? Oh well, Mark Teixeira hit .450 with 4 homers. They can afford to do that. That’s what makes them the Yankees. It’s that advantage that makes me reluctantly pick the Yankees in 6. I’ve also adopted the Rangers as my new favorite team for the playoffs. Kinsler went to Mizzou, I love Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz and Cliff Lee have been huge for my fantasy team the past two years.
Unfortunately, this sets up a rematch of the 2008 World Series and I won’t care who wins. Boring.