So, now that we’ve locked up that last AL playoff spot thanks to a Jim Thome home-run in the bottom of the 7th in what was a fucking epic pitching duel between John Danks and Nick Blackburn, it’s worth taking a quick look at the Division Series.
Red Sox vs. Angels – In previous years, I would have said that Boston is moving on in four or five games. NOt this time. My objection has less to do with any offensive factor missing since Manny Ramirez has been traded than it does with the questionable status of Josh Beckett — he’s set to start Game 3 right now, and is probably the one to go for Game 5 even though the preview says Daisuke Matsuzaka would start a Game 5. Nothing but impressed with Jon Lester, but until proven in the playoffs, he ain’t Beckett. In a battle where both offenses can be very productive, this is a bulllpen matter — and I like the guys the Angels use to get the ball to Francisco Rodriguez better than I like the guys that Boston uses to get to Jonathan Papelbon. Halos in 4.
White Sox vs. Rays – Whether John Danks and Gavin Floyd can do it in the playoffs has yet to be seen; starting a series with Javier Vazquez does not inspire confidence against the general good work that Tampa’s starting staff has done. Another concern: not sure how Chicago will hit outside the bandbox that is Not-Comiskey (or U.S. Cellular Field, whatever) in the playoffs. Tampa in 4.
Brewers vs. Phillies – Never count the bats of guys like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder out, and it was enought o see the Brew Crew battle back to get into the Wild Card slot with plenty of help from a failing Mets team. However, unless CC Sabathia could be run out to start every game, the rest of the Brewers’ staff will be run down by having to face Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Pat Burrell every game (although Burrell is suffering a slight injury.) Phillies in 4 games.
Dodgers vs. Cubs – It’s not that I don’t think the Dodgers’ rotation has some good pitchers in it; it’s that outside of Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux, we’re not dealing with anyone particularly experienced in the playoffs. You could say the same about Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly, who were there only for a short time last year. However, the Cubs are much better and more consistent offensively, and while this isn’t a sweep to me, Manny Ramirez alone can’t bring enough playoff swagger to beat a better team. Cubs in 4.
Filed under: MLB, MLB Playoffs, previews | Tagged: AL Division Series, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, NL Division Series, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays |