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


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


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


"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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  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:


    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).