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Taking on Boz

Let me be perfectly clear about something: I pale in comparison to Mr. Thomas Boswell when it comes to attire, prose and baseball knowledge. I might be able to spell a little better, but nothing more. That said, I'm here to offer my two cents on the first round and give you the real winners.

Boz was right on when he selected the Rays in the first round. Chicago can't compete with Tampa Bay's pitching or defense or speed and it can't play indoors. The White Sox were swept last week in Minnesota when one victory would have given them the AL Central and they lost three of four in Tampa Bay at the end of May. The Rays will win in three.

There is no reason to think the Red Sox should win their series against the Angels for a variety of reasons: Los Angeles beat the Red Sox in eight of nine games during the regular season, it was the only team to win 100 games this year, it has home-field advantage, its manager is one of the best in the game, Josh Beckett, J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell are hurt, etc., etc.

But Boston is the last team Los Angeles wanted to see. The Angels have lost three consecutive postseason series to the Red Sox and they've lost NINE STRAIGHT postseason games to Boston, dating from Dave Henderson's homer off Donnie Moore in Game 5 the 1986 ALCS. Call it a hunch. Call it a homer pick (I grew up in New England), but if Boston steals either of the first two games I like its chances. Red Sox in five.

I can't say that I know as much about the Brewers or Phillies as the other teams playing in October, but I'm smart enough not to pick against CC Sabathia at this point. Given the fact he's already made three straight starts on three days' rest, what's another? He's set to go Game 2, and if the Brewers can extend it to a Game 5 he'll take the hill again -- on full rest. Milwaukee in 5.

Finally, the sexiest series of the first round, Dodgers and Cubs. I love everything about the Cubs. Their field. Their uniforms. Ron Santo. I know what it's like to suffer as a baseball fan and no fan base deserves a world championship more. Sadly, it's not going to happen.

While the Dodgers have not won a postseason series since shocking the Athletics in the 1988 World Series, they've now got people in place who know how to win this time of year. Joe Torre, anyone? What's more, Derek Lowe, an accomplished big-game pitcher, gets the ball in the opener. Throw in the Manny factor and Los Angeles wins it in five.

So there you go, Rays-Red Sox and Brewers-Dodgers. If they don't pan out, you should have listened to Boz.

By Tom Heleba  |  September 30, 2008; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Brewers , Cubs , Dodgers , Phillies , Rays , Red Sox , White Sox  
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I've listened to Ron Santo plenty of times on XM Satellite Radio, and he is probably the worst color commentator in history of the world. What is to like about that guy?

And as for CC . . . he's very good, but all those games on 3 days rest will catch up to him (and cost him a huge contract next season). Plus, he is only 2 for 4 in his last four starts (a loss against Griffey-less Cincy?). If the Phils see him for two games, I'd expect to see a split.

Finally, the Phillies took 5 out of 6 against the Brew Crew this season, including a crucial four-game sweep earlier this month.

Phillies in four.

Posted by: Philly Phan in Phairfax | September 30, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE Ron Santo ... he sounds like the guy who sits next to you at the ballpark and lives and dies with his team on every pitch.

I don't like or dislike the Cubs - but I especially enjoy Santo when something bad happens to the Cubs - clutch HR, bases-loaded walk, dropped fly ball - because his agony is palpable.

I guess I like him because I feel that way but I'm embarrassed to actually make those sounds myself :)

My least-favorite guy on XM is Houston's Milo Hamilton ... like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Of course, the best reason for XM is Vin Scully. The man is a genius - actually speaks in perfectly-edited prose.

Posted by: Aw Geez | September 30, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

My mom is in love with Ron Santo. When I was in Chicago once and actually heard him on WGN for the first time, I was stunned and wondering what there was to love - as far as being a radio broadcaster goes. However, he's very near and dear to Cubs fans, particularly those who saw him play in the 60's (at least I think it was the 60's!). He's just a good 'ol Cubbie, so us outsiders don't really get it, I think.

Posted by: misschatter | September 30, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Uh, yeah, we're done.

Posted by: NR Twins | September 30, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

With Furcal back at SS and Saito back in the pen, LA finally appears to be at full strength in a season where they've been plagued by injuries. Andre Ethier is 5-11 lifetime against game one starter Ryan Dempster. On an Ethier long ball and some great pitching by Derek Lowe, the Dodgers capture game one tonight and cause Cubs' fans to wonder if this really is their year.

Posted by: Va Dodger | October 1, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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