Well sports fans I’m back on some predictions. The fact that I am neither the Prophet nor the Son of the Prophet makes no difference here, and since my picks with the exception of the Evil Dodgers sweep of the Cardinals were pretty accurate here it goes again. Now obviously since I am merely Padre Steve and not the Pope nothing I say is infallible my picks can be wrong and I hate that. Thankfully since I am not claiming to speak from the Most High a wrong pick will not leave me crushed to death with heavy stones by the faithful. At the same time I get a certain satisfaction about being right like the time I was waiting in the ER with Judy as they tried to diagnose her throat swelling. I “Googled” the symptoms and got it right, before they did, it was Epiglottis, something extremely rare in adults which they were neither looking for nor expecting. I thought that was pretty cool as did my ICU attending physicians.
So how do I get my picks? First I try to put emotion aside and look at trends, stats and intangibles. It does not matter if I like the team or not when it comes to picking such things. What I want is to be dispassionate in my analysis because I love the game.
So a quick review of the Divisional Series:
I picked the Cardinals in 4 over the Dodgers. Dodgers swept the Cards 3-0. The tow things that I believed that would bring about a Cardinals win did not happen. First the starting pitching did not get it done. Second the Cardinals hitting died like 1981 Chevette, trust me I know as we had one. It was not pretty and then if you throw in the improbable muff a ball that Matt Halliday made in Left Field with two outs in the bottom of the 9th in game two with the Cardinals ahead….. Ouch!
I picked the Phillies in 5 figuring that the Rockies would win at home. Instead they split in Philly and the Phillies swept the Rockies in Denver despite cold weather and what should have been home field advantage. The Phillies choice of Cliff Lee to pitch game one paid off in spades and the Phillies hitters did not disappoint. Rockies fans must have had their hearts ripped out when they scored three in the bottom of the 8th to take a 4-2 lead in game four only to have closer Huston Street blow the save for the second night in a row.
Moving to the American League I picked the Angels in 5 over the Red Sox. I figured that the Angels were a better team than the last few times they played the Sox and that the Red Sox had lost their edge. I thought that the “X” factor of Nick Adenhart would work in the Angels favor and I expected a close series with the Angels winning it. Instead the Angels dominated the Bosox and swept them with an improbable rally with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th when they were down to their last pitch.
Finally there was the series between the Yankees and the Twins. The Twins had a remarkable September and captured the AL Central crown in a one game playoff against the Tigers. I picket the Yankees in 4 allowing for a game three Twins win at the Hubert H Humphrey Metrosexual Dome, also known as visiting team Hell. The Yankees swept the Twins but game two and three were close and the Yankees came from behind in both to win.
So here they are: First the National League and the Phillies against the Dodgers. Pitching is a wash as the Phillies have the better starters with Lee and Clay Hammels but have a suspect bullpen. Closer Brad Lidge seems to have gotten his stuff back after a miserable season. The Dodgers have a patchwork rotation of decent but not outstanding pitchers but have an amazing bullpen. In the hitting department both teams have great offensive potential but I give the edge to Ryan Howard’s wrecking crew. In the regular season the Dodgers took the series between the two teams 4-3. This will be close and the Dodgers are capable of winning in unusual ways as evidenced by game two of the NLDS. I think this goes 7 with the teams splitting in LA, Philly taking 2 at home and splitting the final pair with the Phillies taking the down the Dodgers for the second year in a row. While I am picking the Phillies this series could go the other way. I never will forget the 1981 Dodgers who played had a miraculous series of playoff wins which culminated against the Yankees. They lost the first two games and won the next four closing the series at Yankee Stadium. So I believe that anything is possible, but I’m still picking the Phillies and watch the game in my San Francisco Giants gear. I guess I do have some emotions invested in this series after all.
Now I’ll move over to the American League and talk about the Yankees and the Angels. This should be a great series. The Halo’s won 4 of 6 in the regular season and outscored them by a pretty large margin in Anaheim. Now both teams have a lot of firepower as well as pretty solid pitching. The Yankees are coming off the best season the have had in a number of years and their 103 wins were the most in baseball. The Angels have had a very good season as well. At this point it is hard to pick a winner. I think that the Yankees have the edge in personnel and are the hungriest for the pennant that I have seen them in years. The Angels too are hungry and have something of an “X” factor in the incredible bonding and team spirit brought about by the loss of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart. The series will start in New York where the weather forecast is crappy for the weekend, especially Friday where there is an 80% chance of rain and temperatures in the low 40s. The temps will remain about the same the entire weekend and the precipitation is forecast at 40% for the weekend. These are not baseball conditions and could be a factor in who wins and loses the games in New York. With the weather as much as a factor as it could be I think that negates some of the Yankees home field advantage. I think that the teams split in New York and go to Anaheim at 1-1. When the teams get to Anaheim next week the weather should be perfect Southern California fall weather clear and temperatures in the 70s at game time. They Angels dominated the Yankees at home and I think that they will take at least two of the three in Anaheim and go back to New York up 3-2. The Yankees are a great clutch team and this year and have been awesome in the come from behind situations. The series could go either way at this point but I think that the Angels can steal this from the Yankees and put them away in game six, just as they came from behind to defeat the Red Sox in game three of their series. My pick is the Angels in six.
So my picks are the Angels and Phillies to get to the World Series. Of course I could be wrong as these are all great teams and each has something to prove. The Phillies want to repeat, the Yankees want to make up for years of disappointment of being so close but so far away, the Dodgers are trying to reclaim a winning heritage and gain the respect that they deserve and the Angels, they are playing for something so totally intangible that it is hard to put a value on, they are playing for the love and memory of a team-mate and have an almost magical and mystical feel to their season. There are individual players trying to recapture past triumphs and others still trying to escape the demons and come out from under the cloud of not having won it all. I expect some great baseball no matter who advances to the Series. The way I see it even if I am wrong on my picks this should be some great baseball.