2009 Playoff Predictions

It's the first time in 2 years that the Cubs won't be influencing my bracket. The last time that happened was in 2006 and I had the A's winning it all and the Tigers and Cardinals losing in the first round. It's always important to remember when reading my entries that I'm an idiot. If you want, MLB is running a bracket challenge that you can enter, or throw your guesses in the comments. I haven't seen a neat and tidy place with official playoff rosters, so the ex-Cub factor below is a guess at this point and it's possible I missed a Cub connection.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers

The Dodgers started off hot for 2 months and then coasted the last 4 months and their best pitcher had a 5.21 ERA in September (Billingsley). That leaves Randy Wolf as their ace, walk-happy Clayton Kershaw, and now Vicente Padilla(chuckle) getting Game 3.  The Cardinals finished below .500 in Sept/Oct after a ridiculous August, but have the most feared hitter in the game, some decent protection around him for once and a solid bullpen. This series reminds me too much of the Cubs vs. Dodgers last year, except the Cards are the Dodgers this time. 

unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Cards - 1(Mark DeRosa, Wellemeyer may still make roster, don't think Lohse counts), Dodgers - 1 (Juan Pierre, don't think Garland counts)

Secret Sauce: Dodgers

My Prediction: Cards in 3.

Rockies vs. Phillies

The Rockies were 72-41 since June and have a much better pitching staff than their Coors Field numbers suggest. Ubaldo Jimenez is as good as they get in my opinion, with Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel to follow. Poor Jason Marquis may not even get the Game 4 start, but that's probably best for the Rockies. Rockies were 2nd in the league in home runs and runs scored to the Phillies, so you'd expect some guys crossing the plate early and often, but you never know in 3-5 games what will happen. The Phillies would be wise to shelf Brad Lidge and hand over late innings to Ryan Madson and maybe Brett Myers. Cliff Lee has been beaten up since his first coupe of starts with the Phillies and Cole Hamels seems to be paying for all the innings he threw in their title run last year. I think the Phils will be tough to knock off as defending champs, but the Rockies will prevail. And when in doubt, bet against the ex-Cub factor.

unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Rockies - 1(Marquis), Phillies - 4 (Paul Bako, Matt Stairs, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre)

Secret Sauce: Colorado

My Prediction: Rockies in 5

Red Sox vs. Angels

When the Angels beat the Red Sox in a playoff series, I'll pick them. Until that happens, I'm going with the Red Sox, plus I like their starters and bullpen more.

unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Red Sox - 1(if Gathright makes postseason roster), Angels - 1 (Gary Matthews Jr.)

Secret Sauce: Boston

My Prediction: Red Sox in 4

Twins vs. Yankees

I could see the Twins taking Game 1 riding the wave of September and last night, but ultimately I can't get behind a team missing Justin Morneau and Kevin Slowey.  The Yanks have easily been the best team in baseball all year, still have Mariano Rivera closing and I think Burnett, Sabathia and Petitte along with a far superior offense than any other team should carry them through the playoffs.

unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Twins- 2(Brendan Harris, Ron Mahay), Yankees - 3 (Chad Gaudin, Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston Jr....Eric Hinske doesn't count I believe)

Secret Sauce: Yankees

My Prediction: Yankees in 3

LCS

Cardinals over Rockies in 6, Yankees over Red Sox in 5

Secret Sauce: Rockies and Yankees

World Series

Yankees over Cardinals in 6

Secret Sauce: Yankees

Comments

Cards in 4
Phils in 5
RSox in 4
Yanks in 3

Cards in 7
RSox in 6

RSox in 6

Edit: It's also worth noting that the Yankees and Red Sox are facing off not just for this year but for the title of team of the decade. Whoever has the better October can probably rightfully claim that title. If both were to bow out in the first round, I'd give the slight edge to Boston for the titles.

NYY vs. BOS payroll

* 2009: $201,449,189 * 2009: $121,745,999
* 2008: $209,081,577 * 2008: $133,390,035
* 2007: $189,639,045 * 2007: $143,026,214
* 2006: $194,663,079 * 2006: $120,099,824
* 2005: $208,306,817 * 2005: $123,505,125
* 2004: $184,193,950 * 2004: $127,298,500
* 2003: $152,749,814 * 2003: $ 99,946,500
* 2002: $125,928,583 * 2002: $108,366,060
* 2001: $112,287,143 * 2001: $110,035,883
* 2000: $107,588,459 * 2000: $ 81,200,000

...and the Cubs...for the hell of it...

* 2009: $134,809,000
* 2008: $118,345,833
* 2007: $ 99,670,332
* 2006: $ 94,424,499
* 2005: $ 87,032,933
* 2004: $ 90,560,000
* 2003: $ 79,868,333
* 2002: $ 75,690,833
* 2001: $ 64,715,833
* 2000: $ 62,100,000

Relevance?

"Edit: It's also worth noting that the Yankees and Red Sox are facing off not just for this year but for the title of team of the decade."

just pointing out that 1 team in particular spends to win even though they both spend a lot...at most of the points through the decade we're talking 50/70-ish million bucks...enough to field an entire separate team at league average at some points. crazy stuff...

the cubs payroll i threw in for the hell of it...a comparison point that's related to something we're more familiar with.

Well, they do have more pennants than anyone else this decade to show for it. (Red Sox and Cardinals have a chance to tie.) Something to be said for that. Cubs spent a lot of money this decade and couldn't even buy one.

National League
Cards vs Dodgers -- Cards in 4
Rockies vs Phillies -- Phillies in 5

Cards vs Phillies -- Cards in 6

American League
Red Sox vs Angels -- Red Sox in 4
Twins vs Yankees -- Yankees in 4

Red Sox vs Yankees -- Yankees in 6

World Series
Cards vs Yankees -- Yankees in 6

Caveat -- Best-of-five series are a crap shoot.

National League
STL v LAD... LAD in 5
COL v PHI... PHI in 4

PHI in 7

American League
BOS v LAA... BOS in 4
MIN v NYY... NYY in 4

BOS in 6

World Series
PHI v BOS... BOS in 7

good start for me, Phils win Game 1...5-1.

Twins who beat the Angels over Cards who beat the Phillies.

I could be wrong.

6-2 in the 5th...

Recent comments

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 8 hours 13 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 8 hours 19 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 8 hours 35 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 8 hours 47 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 9 hours 12 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 9 hours 52 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 11 hours 4 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 11 hours 21 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 11 hours 25 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 12 hours 10 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 17 hours 1 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 18 hours 15 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 18 hours 18 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 19 hours 37 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 2 hours ago view