The 2005 Major League Baseball playoffs start tomorrow… and the team I love is in it. I still don’t think it’s hit me, but I’m sure around 3pm tomorrow, I’m going to be sick to my stomach.
Before I give my predictions, I’m not sure how I’m going to handle the playoff games… I’m going to blog about them, but in what why and how, I haven’t decided. Since tomorrow is a day game, I’ll do a journal again, but that might be my last since it’s someone else’s gimmick and I should probably think of something my own thing. I’ll handle game two probably after the game, jotting down notes during the game… then again I might be really drunk by the end of that game… so who knows (and for that matter, all bets are off on when I start drinking tomorrow, Jose Contreras can do that to a man). Game Three I’ll be in New Haven, CT and I’ll be in damn Boston on Saturday for the BC game, which I may try (let’s face it will try) to go over to Fenway and hope that I’m not murdered (seriously, I’m curious to see if Red Sox fans have any compassion. Us White Sox fans have suffered much longer than they have/had (okay it was only a year, but now it’s been 88 years for us compared to their 86. Will they be truly upset if they lose to us? In a way won’t they be sort of happy for us? Am I just dreaming about this? I mean we rooted for them last year, and the year before, and in 1999, 1995, 1986 and so on, will they be cool with us White Sox fans just hoping/praying/willing to do almost anything for them to win? I have huge doubts. Then again, we aren’t the Yankees, so at least I’ve got that going for me). Hopefully I won’t have to think about Sunday… but let’s get to the task at hand, so without Freddy Adu…
St. Louis Cardinals vs San Diego Padres
I’m sorry, but I just can’t see the Padres winning a game in this series. The Padres have allowed more runs than they’ve scored, they have the worst offense in the playoffs, and only the Yanks and BoSox have worse pitching. It’s just not going to happen no matter what the pitching matchups are. The Padres might steal a game, but they probably won’t. Cards in Three.
Atlanta Braves vs Houston Astros
Everyone seems to be picking the Astros, which would scare the shit out of me if I was an Astros fan. Also tells me that the Braves are being under estimated. Yeah, Houston doesn’t allow any runs, but they don’t score any runs. The Braves would look a lot better if this series started on a Tuesday, but the Astros caught a huge break by getting tomorrow off, so that they can start Pettitte in Game One (if you ask me, this is a totally unfair advantage for the Astros. It’s almost as if the Braves are being punished for being a better team. A very NFL move by baseball, but whatever). The big games in this series will be Game One and Game Four. In Game One, it’s Pettitte vs Hudson. If the Braves win that, I like Smoltz over Clemens. But if the Braves go down 2-1, they’ll (obviously) have to win Game Four, and if they can some how get this back to Atlanta for Game Five, I like the Braves. And, like last year, they do send this back to Atlanta for a Game Five next Monday. Braves in Five.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County (LAAofAinOC) vs the New York Yankees within the Bronx (NYYB)
To be honest, I really have no clue. My brain says the Angels, but the Yankees are the Yankees. Things just happen to work out for them… but! they haven’t won a World Series since 2000. They’ve been to the playoffs in ’01, ’02, ’03, and ’04, but they never got a ring (partly because Torre played the infield in instead of at double play depth in 2001). That bloop single that should have been a single my have turned the tables a bit… just a little, and maybe just enough so that they can be beat year in and year out. In 2002, they got steam rolled by the Angels, in 2003 they got that home run from Boone and then looked flat against the Marlins, then last year was the choke of all chokes. And I think the media is under playing that by the way… they were up 3-0 and winning in Game Four and blew it. Yet no one talks about this now. What gives? And more importantly could things be changing?
I think the Angels, man for man, are a better team. But the Yankees are going to win a game 9-3 or something. The Angels are going to win a game 3-1. So the question is, who wins those other three games? This one has five game series written all over it… and the fact that the Angels get to throw Colon out there for Game Five may just be the difference. Then again, maybe Mussina pitches one of those games that he still has in him. I really just don’t know… but I think in the end, the fact that the Yanks have probably three, maybe four, of the five best players in this series and I think gives them the advantage. But then again the Angels just have such better pitching… and that’s why if I had to had to pick a winner, I’m going with the LAAofAinOC. Angels in five.
Chicago White Sox vs Boston Red Sox
People seem to forget that the White Sox won 99 games, have great pitching, hit home runs, do the small things like moving runner over, have won 8 of their last ten, have a true #1 starter in Buehrle (not to mention Garcia (though not this year) and even Jose Contreras has been pitching like a #1 starter, he’s maybe the hottest starter going into the playoffs), they have a good bullpen, they’ve played great in one run games (and they’ve played a TON of close games this year), and they are a great defensive team. This team was built for the playoffs. The only really worry is that Garland doesn’t strike out a lot of guys (neither did Derek Lowe I might add) and they do struggle to score runs at time. But their pitching is so much better than Boston’s that I won’t touch the Red Sox. Sure the Red Sox probably explode for 9 runs in one of the games, but Boston isn’t the same team as last year. I know they play great at home, but if this goes five, they have to win Game Five in Chicago. And there is a good chance the Sox will take one in Boston. The Red Sox don’t have the guys that do those things (like steal bases or play great defense) that creates winners (which they had last year). And their pitching isn’t good enough to beat a team with good to great pitching. Especially since the Red Sox bullpen is even worse than their starters.
Game One might be the key game here. If the Red Sox can get to Contreras, then all bets are off. Yet Clement hasn’t been good all second half. So if the BoSox lose to Contreras, then it’s David Wells vs Mark Buehrle. I’ve seen Well’s last two starts, he’s been okay and good. If he’s good the BoSox have a shot, but if he’s just okay the White Sox will win. Game Three with Wakefield vs Garcia has 6-5 written all over it. This is probably a 2-1 White Sox lead going into Game Four when Schilling takes the mound against Garland. Even though the Red Sox will probably get to Garland for four or five runs, Schilling has not been good this year. Unless he’s been holding back, I won’t feel too comfortable with Schilling on the mound. I like the White Sox in four.
I’m stopping there, who knows what happens in the LCS and who gets hurt or who stinks up the joint… so I’ll wait for the LCS predictions until they’re all set.