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
Yankees over Cardinals in 6
Secret Sauce: Yankees
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
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.