Taking On Sheinin, Boz, and Probably Regretting It
Let me be perfectly clear about something, Pt. II: My baseball knowledge pales in comparison to that of Dave Sheinin, whose baseball knowledge pales in comparison to that of Tom Boswell, whose baseball knowledge pales in comparison to nobody but Bill James, and even on that one might get you an argument, because I doubt Bill James wears a pair of tan shoes that have faux baseball seams woven into them. Anyway, that's just my long-winded means of warning you not to take this advice seriously. If you have any money left, don't stake it on the advice herein. I saw about 20 televised minutes of Tim Kurkjian while on the treadmill this morning; that's the extent of my expertise.
Now, some first-round predictions...
We'll start with the series I'll be covering tonight: Cub-Dodgers. Right now, I'm all swept up in Wrigley love -- read this beautiful hagiography, if you want something similar -- and I gotta say, things just seem primed for a Cubs' miracle. They've got the best lineup in the National League, no question. They've got the best bullpen. Even their No. 4 starter, Ted Lilly, won 17 games. If they get past the Dodgers, I see them winning the NL. But Los Angeles, in the last month, has been pitching better than anybody. Derek Lowe, the league's best pitcher dating back to August, goes tonight, which means that Chicago will be lucky to have one run entering the eighth. They follow that with Billingsley and Kuroda -- yes, Kershaw and Maddux are in the pen -- and that will be enough to neutralize the Cubbies lineup. Chicago will need to match the Dodgers pitch-for-pitch. If Carlos Zambrano is healthy and strong, it can happen. I'll say it does... but barely. In the best series of the first round, Chicago takes it in five.
Philly fans, too, are hoping these playoffs can overwrite a history of misfortune -- though let's be honest: Their gripes are petty compared with those of the Cubbies' devotees. Plus, any team with Jamie Moyer going strong at 45 can't say it's been neglected by God's graces. Philadelphia gets the perfect situation here: The Brewers have little pitching but for CC, and though no doubt Dale Sveum will try to use that left arm as often as he uses his BlackBerry, it won't be enough. Milwaukee is powerful, but can't out-mash the Phillies. Philadelphia starts strong tonight and doesn't look back, taking the series in three.
The Angels, who play the Red Sox in the first round, are certainly the AL's most complete team. The Sox would normally present a dynamite challenge, but Josh Beckett is battling oblique problems, which means he might start in Game 3... if at all, and by then the erstwhile Anaheimers will already have their grips on this one. Let's say the Angeles sneak away in four.
Finally, we've got the White Sox and Rays. This seems like the hardest first-round match-up to forecast, because both teams come in riding very different waves of momentum, and whether those waves break or surge remains impossible to know. Do the White Sox, for instance, follow the Colorado script from '07 and take their down-to-the-wire win-or-die act straight into the postseason? Or does the grind of those last few days finally catch up to them? And do the Rays, for instance, keep going as the AAU superstar team too young to know what it's really doing? Or does the pressure finally wake them up and tighten them up? Chicago is the pick here, in five. The veterans carry the ChiSox, same as they did last night, and Tampa comes back stronger next year.
Posted by: PTBNL | October 1, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Philly Phan in Phairfax | October 1, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse
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