Sunday, October 01, 2006

MLB Playoffs '06

My predictions were way off target this year, and not because the Tigers snuck in with the Wild Card (actually, the truth is they fell into the Wild Card)--but mostly because I picked the Cubs to do anything. My completely unfounded logic was that since the Red Sox and White Sox won it back-to-back, then why couldn't the Cubs do it this year, especially if they had everybody playing a full season? Silly me--no one on the Cubs can play a full season.

I got the AL East exactly right, in the AL Central I only picked the Royals finishing last correctly, and in the AL West I wasn't buying the A's and I picked the third place Rangers. Overall, (thanks to the AL East) I picked 8 teams out of 14 correctly. In the NL East, I got the Mets right and everything else wrong, in the NL Central, I got the Cardinals and the Pirates, and in the NL West, I got the D'Backs and the Rockies. So 5 out of 16 for a total of 13 out of 30. Wow. Terrible.

But the playoffs I have a much better handle on, I promise!

Division Series

Tigers vs. Yankees

The Detroit Tigers had a great season, and then they started to blow all their goodwill at the end of the season as they lost the AL Central to the Twins after being in 1st since May. I listened to the last inning of the Royals 10-8 win over the Tigers that knocked them down to the Wild Card--Detroit fans were not happy. And they shouldn't be. The Royals had only won 1 game from the Tigers all year until the season-ending sweep. Oh yeah, their reward is facing the Yankees, and the Tigers will lose soundly. Season series: Yankees, 5-1.

Prediction: Yankees, 3-0.

A's vs. Twins

A "rematch" of the 2002 DS, this one is a tougher series to pick, and of course if the Twins still had Liriano, it would be easier. But they don't, and this should be a fun series. The A's haven't gotten out of the Division Series since its inception, and now they play a team that has been on a roll in September and are very tough at home (best in the majors in fact). I don't think it looks good for the A's. Season series: Twins, 6-4.

Prediction: Twins, 3-1.

Dodgers vs. Mets

The Mets drew the streaky Dodgers, and it's hard to judge them exactly. They finished winning 7 in a row while the Mets struggled. I think this is going to be a grueling series, since the Mets have some iffy pitching, and the Dodgers have been very good in this area with some playoff veterans (Lowe, Maddux, Penny) anchoring their staff. Mets aren't shabby (El Duque, Glavine). You know what? This isn't going to be a happy series for the Mets. I might be going out on a limb, but this team has been lethargic to say the least. Season series: Tied, 3-3.

Prediction: Dodgers, 3-1.

Padres vs. Cardinals

This is the third time the Padres and Cards have been in the Division Series, a rematch of last year and if your really want to go back that far--1996. The Cards are another team that limped into the playoffs, nearly losing their 8 1/2 game lead to the Astros at the end there. The Padres, meanwhile, finished strong and I like them here as well as they begin at home, and the Cards had a losing record away from Busch. Season series: Padres, 4-2.

Prediction: Padres, 3-1.

So, rather unconventional picks probably but that's how I lean on this. I'm not going to go in-depth here, but if my picks are correct it would be Yankees/Twins in the ALCS and I would pick the Yanks there, and then Dodgers/Padres and I'd probably give the edge to the Padres. So we'd have a "rematch" of the 1998 World Series, which the Yanks swept in 4 games and I'd probably pick the same kind of result. The way the AL played out, and the way the NL is, favors the Yanks no matter what happens. Just for sheer experience alone, I'd love to be here if there's another Subway Series. I think the Mets, should they find a way to kick ass in the playoffs, pose the biggest threat to the Yanks but they're going to have to find a way to pitch.

And for fun, other potential World Series "rematches" besides Yanks/Padres and Yanks/Mets.

Yanks/Dodgers, played 11 times, with the Yanks an 8-3 all-time edge.
Yanks/Cards, played 5 times, with the Cards a 3-2 edge.

In other words, there's no team in this year's crop of NL hopefuls the Yanks haven't played in the Series.

Then there's Twins/Cards, a classic 1987 World Series that gave the Twins their first championship.

The A's, including their time in Philly, have played every team here except the Padres (how many people here want to see an A's/Padres Series? Huh? Huh?).

A's/Cards, twice, tied 1-1.
A's/Dodgers, twice, tied 1-1 but best known for the 1988 Dodgers win and Kirk Gibson Game 1 Series.
A's/Mets, in 1973 an A's triumph in 7 games.

Then the Tigers. In their long history they've had 4 championships and they've played two of the NL teams--a 1984 a 4-1 win over the Padres and in 1968 a 7-game win over the Cards.

Anyway, happy playoffs.


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