Tuesday, October 10, 2006

MLB: Sizing Up Round Two

OK, so I'm aiming to do a little better on my predictions for round two of the baseball playoffs than I did on round one. I mean, how many anonymous e-mails from pathetic Mets fans swearing at me can I take?

Yep, The Mets won and I thought they'd lose. That meant Mets fans waited until they won and sent me mean-spirited e-mails. Why not do it right when I put my predictions out there? I'll tell you why: Mets fans thought they were done, too. I know a bunch and none felt safe. That said, the League Championship Series presents some new wrinkles.

I totally overestimated the NL West, a division that just can't hit, even off a tee. I forgot and apologize. Who could have ever guessed the Yankees would crumble and embarrass themselves like that? I do want to take credit for being one of the few to call that A's series: That team is too deep in pitching to lose to a squad like the Twinkies.

Anyway, it all gets started tonight, here are the picks:

Tigers vs. A's
I'm not sure if it will really go only five games, but I like the A's to win the series relatively easily, even though these teams are pretty even. Oakland has a huge advantage tonight with Zito vs. Robertson and that matchup will get repeated in game five.

You have to like the A's staff better than the Tigers' starters, but Detroit has an edge in bullpen, though not by much because Todd Jones in no good, period. What sets Oakland apart is its lineup, which is better than Detroit's nine. If the Tigers really want to win, they may want to make someone put a ton of food in Big Frank's locker, hope he eats it all and gets sick.

This is the matchup that made Fox executives poop themselves, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is a very, very low-rated series, but it should be fun. Too bad ESPN isn't calling the series: We'd get to hear Joe Morgan talk about how Billy Beane shouldn't have written "Moneyball" and that A's teams aren't built for playoff success.

Hopefully Fox doesn't use that guy who called the Yankees series last week, Josh Lewin or something. He was absolutely atrocious, using "Dodgeball" analogies and letting phrases like "BMOC" roll off his tongue. He made no sense and I wonder how he got the job, seriously. He knew nothing about baseball. I wanted to take his little head and cover it with tape. Alas, I was in New Haven and he was in Detroit, so I couldn't quite reach him. I did pray for Steve Lyons to muzzle him, but it didn't happen.

Anyway, if you watch the series on mute, I still think the A's pull this one off. Who thinks the Gambler can repeat his performance? Not this blogger, that's for sure.

Series: A's in 5

Cardinals vs. Mets
Like the Tigers, the Cards backed their way into the playoffs, losing a whole bunch. But then the team ran into the Padres, a squad that can hit about as well as West Haven High's team. The Mets, regardless of the team's weaknesses, can hit the crap out of the ball.

Lucky for New York, the Cards won't be throwing any lefties, since, of course, the Mets can't hit lefties for some odd reason. The team was second to worst in the majors at it this year.

I'm torn on this series. In a seven-game contest, you'd think the Mets' lackluster pitching would be exposed for what it is: truly awful. But on the other hand, the Cards will throw Jeff Weaver in game one. Yes, I just wrote Jeff Weaver. Maybe he can make up losing the 2003 World Series to Yankee fans by beating the Mets. I doubt it.

Seriously though, how can one team in the NLCS be throwing Glavine/Maine/Traschel/Perez and the other Weaver/Suppan/Reyes/Carpenter? These are easily the worst pitching staffs in a series like this in decades. Only one pitcher from each would even make the playoff roster for the AL teams. Seriously, only Carpenter and Glavine.

At the risk of getting nasty e-mails from more starving Mets fans, I think I have to go with the Cards, as much as I hate Tony LaRussa's dumb over-managing. The reason? St. Louis has the best pitcher in the series by far (Carpenter) and the best hitter in the series by far (Pujols). Gotta go with that. Either team gets killed in the World Series, though.

Prediction: Cards in 6

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