Wednesday, October 1, 2008

MLB Playoffs Preview

First, let me apologize for some of the missing elements of this page. The Soapbox is currently undergoing reconstruction. I'm currently looking for a really cool blogger template to brighten things here, and I have very little knowledge of HTML, so if anyone knows how to increase the width of the blog columns. I have found a really cool template, but the columns are just too freaking narrow!

Alright, enough of the house cleaning, let's get down to baseball! This is the time of year that I can't get enough of! This is the reason 32 teams play 162 games for 6 months straight. This is the Playoffs, where one loss could cost you the championship! Eight teams, four per league are vying for the right to play for the title. While I'm not going to say I did great with my picks last year, I am hoping to bounce back this year.


What I like about this series, is the story of redemption. Last year, the Sox sweeped the Angels taking two at Fenway Park then finishing them off at Angel Stadium. This year, the Angels could do to Boston what the Red Sox did to the Angels. I like the team the Angels have. Good starting pitching with John Lackey and Ervin Santana, plus the best closer in the majors in Francisco Rodriguez. Couple that with the two big acquistions of Torii Hunter and Mark Texiera, and I see a team that is being overlooked. And they will use that to their advantage to surprise the Red Sox and knock off the defending Champions.
My Pick- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 3 games.

Who would have thought the "devil" was keeping down the Rays? I have enjoyed watching the young Rays shock the baseball world this season. Really, who picked the Rays to win the AL East at the beginning of the season? And who could have imagined that it would take a one-game playoff between the White Sox and the Twins to decide the AL Central, which many handed to the Cleveland Indians right out of Spring Training? The point is, going by conventional wisdom usually leads to predicitions that are just plain wrong. I've waffled on this pick since late last night. On one hand, you have the ChiSox momentum, coming out of the regular season winning two "do or die" games. The last team to do that, was last year's Colorado Rockies, and they made it all the way to the World Series. On the other hand, the Rays have come out of nowhere this season and have left a huge imprint on the entire 2008 season. It's hard to choose, so I'm going to go with my gut here.

My Pick- Tampa Bay Rays in 4 games.

Has there been a time when Chicago has been any more excited? Both teams in the playoffs for the first time since 1906, when the White Sox won the championship. Could it be the Cubs' time to shine? Not if the Dodgers have anything to say about it! Many are considering the trade for Manny Ramirez one of the best trades of this season. It was absolutely key to getting the Dodgers to the playoffs, but I don't think it is enough to keep them going in the playoffs. It has been 100 years since the Cubs won their last World Series championship, and this series is going to be one of the biggest tests.

My pick- Chicago Cubs in 5 games.

If there's any series I'm looking forward to, it's this one. The Phillies had a rough NLDS last year, as they were swept, at home by a surging Colorado. This year, they face another surging team, the Brewers. CC Sabathia has been the best pitcher in the NL since being traded by the Indians. He has put the Brewers on his back and has carried them to October baseball. This will be Sabathia's second trip to the postseason in a row, and I hope for Milwaukee's sake he has learned from his many mistakes last year. But I do not think he has, and that will hurt the Brew Crew.

My Pick- Philadelphia Phillies in 4 games.

I like the boppers of the Angels. There is some serious power in that lineup! Having home-field advantage can only help the Angels, but as much as I like the Angels I just have this feeling in my gut that the Rays are the team to beat in the American League. I had that same feeling last year about Boston, and I foolishly ignored it. I won't be doing that again!

My Pick- Tampa Bay Rays in 5 games.

The season series between these two was very close, with Philly winning it 4-3. I like the Cubs in this series. Their pitching is good, they have the bats in the lineup to get the job done, and they have Lou Pinella who knows how to handle October baseball. Philly is good, don't get me wrong, and this series is so close it really could go either way. The one question I have about the Phillies is Brad Lidge. He won the NL Comeback Player of the Year, but I question his reliablity in pressure situations. If you recall this is the same closer who could not get the job done for the Houston Astros in 2005. That is not something you can fully recover from. And I feel like it will rear its head again in 2008.

My Pick- Chicago Cubs in 7 games.

Holy cow! Rays & Cubs? How the hell did that happen? We have a team that has never even sniffed the postseason until 2008 going up against a team that has not won a World Series Championship in 100 years! I think this series is one of the best possiblilties of the postseason. I would love to see what the Rays lineup would do against Carlos Zambrano. Or how about Kosuke Fukudome going against Troy Percival with the game on-the-line? The possiblilities are endless! Now for the tough part. Who would win in the this series? As much as I love the youth of the Rays, the Cubs' experience is a big key to this series. As much as I would love to see the Rays pull off the biggest shocker in MLB history with the ultimate worst to first story, I don't see it happening.

World Series Champions- Chicago Cubs in 5 games.

So, 100 years after their last World Series Championship, the Chicago Cubs will bring the title home to their very excited fans in a story bigger than that of the Red Sox in 2004! I'm sure that makes a lot of you happy. And I'm sure those of you who have followed my picks in the past know that I have cursed every team I picked last season. So some Cubs fans might be angry with me, but that's my preview of the 2008 MLB Postseason. So I ask you now, who are your picks?


Lester's Legends said...

Sorry, but no sweep in the land of Angels. If the Sox take Game 2 though, and Beckett pitches Game 3, the sweep could be in order

Paul H said...

Well, I botched that one! Sorry Cubs fans. I guess Rays fans should watch out, my curse is coming for you next!

Thanks for stopping by Lester! I'll know better than to pick against Boston again!

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