Wednesday, October 1

MLB playoff preview

Well, it's baseball playoff time once again, one of the most exciting times of the year! Except for when the Indians aren't in the playoffs, when it's only mildly interesting. Who the hell wants to see these teams play?

Anyway, keep in mind that baseball's a pretty random thing, especially in the 5-game first round. I will feel no shame even at going 0-4 this round. OK, maybe a little.

AL Divisional Round

New York Yankees vs. Nobody
I've been lobbying for weeks now for TBS to show an inset video during the Rays series of various Yankee players and management sitting at home watching the games, looking bored and disinterested, but I doubt it will happen.

Tuberculosis Devil Rays vs. Chicago White Socks
The Rays are America's team, make no mistake. I think it's safe to say that, unless you root for whomever the Rays are playing, you're behind Joe Maddon and the boys. I'd love to see underdog, low-budget Tampa in the World Series, as lousy as their stadium and attendance are. The question is: do I think they'll win?

As I write this, it is not known who the Rays' opponent will be, nor does it especially matter for answering that question. Minnesota and Chicago have the same record, same home-away split, and are only four runs off in run differential from one another (Minny has scored 19 more runs and allowed 15 more, big deal). BP thinks the Socks are right on their expected win value, while the Twins have lucked into five extra victories; in the Adjusted Standings, it is in fact the Indians finishing second behind Chicago in the Central race. Anyway, my point: whatever I write about the Rays' chances applies the same to either AL Central entrant. Which is this:

TB is 57-24 at home. CHI is 35-46 on the road. TB has home field advantage. Later, White Socks.
Rays in 4

California Angels vs Boston Red Socks
Is there some way both of these teams can lose? They're both so noxious; Boston with its irksome fans and sense of self-importance; California with their preposterous name; both with their big money. Ugh.

Strong pitching matchups here: California sends Lackey, Santana, and Saunders, while Boston counters with Lester, Matsuzaka, and Beckett. Both have strong bullpens, especially California. For the year, the teams' runs allowed differed by only three runs - virtually identical pitching-wise. Boston, however, outscored CA by eighty runs this season! I've written about this before, but the Angels were exceptionally lucky in 2008, outperforming their 3rd-order wins by an unfathomable SIXTEEN GAMES. That's nearly 10% for those of you scoring at home. The Socks, for their part, ended up seven games below their expectations, the most in baseball. Boston has a run differential of +151, best in the AL. California: +68, good for just 6th in the AL. That's only 6 above the Yankees, 24 atop the Indians, and, get this, 36 WORSE than the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yes, Toronto. Did you realize the Jays were this good? Did you realize how deep the AL East is? Toronto's run differential was +104 and they finished FOURTH? That's even one run better than the Rays! It's 4th in all of baseball. The Yankees were an afterthought this season in the Al East, which could easily have had four 90-game winning clubs, yet New York's record, as is, would still have taken the AL Central. Plus, had they been a Central member, that record would have likely been better from easier competition. They might have won 120 in the NL or AL West, but then again, so might my company softball team.

What were we talking about, again? Oh, right, how Boston should have 102 wins and California 84 - the same as the Tribe should have. Yes, that's right.

No, Boston doesn't have Manny Ramirez, and that's a big loss, but they do have the insanely scary Kevin Youkilis, who never gets out, and they're a much better offensive club and it's extra-hard to win in Fenway.
Red Socks in 4

NL Divisional Round

Cubs vs Dodgers
I don't know anything about the NL, let's be honest. But remember what I wrote in the first part about home-field advantage (Cubs 55-26 at home this year, Dodgers 36-45 on the road)? And in the second part about run differential (Cubs +184, Dodgers +52)?

Cubs in 3. Cubs win! Cubs win!

Phillies vs Brewers
Both teams have roughly the same actual and expected wins. At risk of totally phoning this in, Philly has a nearly 50-run better differential (all on offense) and home field advantage. Milwaukee has the tireless CC Sabathia. I'd love to see the Brew Crew win, but I'm not sure they've got enough.
Phillies in 5


Figgs said...

Rays in 4.
I hope Ozzie gets a foul ball to the temple.

BoSux in 5.
I went back and forth with this one. I wanted to pick against Boston, but hatred aside, I think they're the better team.

Cubs in 4.
The Dodgers steal one with a Casey Blake walk-off.

Brew Crew in 5.
Without Sheets this could be a stretch, but how can I go against CC the way he's going? He should pitch 4 out of the 5 games.

How sweet would a Rays/Brewers Series be?

Andy said...

Your comment on the Brewers reminds me of the old Onion headline: "Terry Francona announces Josh Beckett to start games 1, 4, 7, 2, 6, 3, 5 of ALCS."