What, you mean you still listen to me on matters of predicting sport, particularly baseball? I’ve been horrifically wrong since the playoffs got started. I think I picked one series right throughout this whole thing.
Given the advantage American League teams have over the representatives from the National League right now, I was always going to choose whatever AL team happened to make it out of the blocks. The bottom third of Philadelphia’s order makes this easier — you’re looking at either Pedro Feliz or Greg Dobbs in the third-base platoon, then Carlos Ruiz, and the pitcher’s spot in Philly for games 3-5, and this is a team with some decent, but not great candidates, to DH (thinkiing either Dobbs or Matt Stairs). Tampa has more flexibility and won’t lose as much when they have to go to the pitcher hitting. Going through B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, and Carl Crawford is no easy task.
As for those pitchers, would you rather take Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, or the combination of Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and James Shields? While Philly has an advantage if they take a lead into the 8th and 9th innings with Brad Lidge, their third and fourth starters (Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton) are vulnerable. Hamels should be pitching three games in this series, and if he loses one of them, the Phillies are likely sunk.
Philly has the offensive advantage, but I’m going with the Rays in 6 when their starting pitching wins out.