Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Quick and Dirty Playoff Predictions: 2009 Edition
classic games you'll ever see. Tigers fans are going to be upset for years at the non-call on the Brandon Inge hit-by-pitch play, but they should probably be more pissed at Ryan Raburn's horrid diving catch attempt and Jim Leyland falling asleep at the wheel in extra innings. On the Twins side, Delmon Young had a miserable game and nearly cost his team the game by throwing to the wrong base in the 12th inning. Also, Orlando Cabrera is a totally obnoxious character, and that's not good because he's also just horrible.
The game had several memorable moments, but my absolute favorite came in the bottom of the tenth inning. With the winning run at third, Nick Punto hit a liner toward left field that looked like it had a slim chance of falling in for a hit. The announcer on TBS immediately broke into a breathless call that went something like, "Line drive to left field! Base Hit!"...as the ball sailed lazily into the glove of Ryan Raburn, who then threw home to gun down Alexei Casilla to save the game. Ah, Announcer Fail, you never cease to amuse me, though nothing can ever top Mike Krukow's "nasty shit" remark about Aaron Rowand last year.
Well, now that the consolation game is over with, it's playoff time again, which also means it's time for my woefully inaccurate playoff predictions. With the Giants not a factor, I have to pick one team to root for. Last year it was Tampa, since I love the underdogs. This year? I have no clue. Obviously I hate the Dodgers, and I want to see both the Red Sox and Yankees crash and burn. I'm totally apathetic to the Phils and Cardinals. I'd root for the Angels but, you know, 2002 and all. I've always liked the Twins, and the Metrodome usually makes for fun playoff hell for opposing teams. I guess I'll just root for the Twins to beat the Yankees an the Dodgers to fall on their asses and take it from there.
One thing I don't want to see is another Red Sox-Yankees ALCS. This rivalry is so overhyped now that it's bordering on parody. You have the TV networks licking their chops for this matchup and not even trying to hide it. We're forced to watch Pedro Martinez hurl Don Zimmer through the air a bajillion more times, to show that these teams hate each other, woooo. We also have to hear about "No No, Nanette!" over and over again. We have to hear drunken moron Sox and Yankee fans talk shit to one another in obnoxious accents and start fistfights like they have nothing better to do with their lives. It's just grown so old.
When the Red Sox were hapless jerks failing in hilarious ways in every attempt to win a championship, this was an exciting matchup. When they finally overthrew the Yankees in historic fashion in 2004, it was awesome. Now, though, these teams are just two high-payroll behemoths duking it out while more interesting teams lose the spotlight.
Enough ranting, and on to the predictions. Of course, the playoffs are a crapshoot, a lottery of sorts where Billy Beane's shit just doesn't work. That means I'm absolved of any accountability when it comes to these predictions. If that's not ass covering, I don't know what is. Here you go!
Yankees 3, Twins 1
Everybody is pimping the Yankees, but they have a very sketch pitching staff behind C.C. Sabathia. Would you want A.J. Burnett starting big games for you in the postseason? Their offense is so good, though, that I can't imagine them having any trouble with Minnesota and their collection of starting pitching ne'er-do-wells. Carl Pavano is their third-best pitcher? Egads! How hilarious a storyline would that make, though, if Pavano comes back to shut down the Bombers and lead the Twins to the next round? Johnny Damon would have to take back his infamous taxi cab remark.
On a side note, we have another non-story about how Jose Molina is going to be Burnett's personal catcher this postseason, and Jorge Posada is taking it as a personal affront. No one really gives a crap about Posada's hurt feelings except the jackals in the New York media, but this does hurt the Yankees because they're taking one of their best hitters out of the lineup and starting one of the most worthless players in history. Posada carries an .885 OPS into the playoffs; Molina is at .560. Bravo, Joe Girardi, for pre-emptively handing the Twins one advantage when they really had none apparent.
Red Sox 3, Angels 2
I'm desperately hoping the Angels win this series because I'm so damned sick of the Red Sox. The Angels have some really terrible pitchers behind John Lackey and Jered Weaver, but looking at the Sox behind Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, they aren't too inspiring, either. This will probably be a high-scoring, close series, much more entertaining than the last three series these teams played.
I do find it interesting how a lot of mainstream media types have continued to insist that the Angels beat you with the little things like bunting and taking the extra base, when in reality this year they've won by simply beating the crap out of other teams. The Angels were second in runs scored and fourth in slugging in the AL, and they have two guys who draw a ton of walks, so this isn't your grandpa's Mike Scioscia L.A. Angels. Their offense isn't the gritty (read: crappy) brand they've practiced in recent years. It's almost the exact opposite, really. Their hitting is terrific and their pitching, for once, is pretty mediocre.
Cardinals 3, Dodgers, 1
It pains me to even grant the Dodgers one game here, because I loathe this team so much. This season, when I was at a particularly dreadful Giant-Dodger game, as the Dodgers were in the midst of kicking more and more ass, I stood up, took in the devastation, and it hit me. I really, really hate the Dodgers.
It's not something I can even really put into words, either. I hate the Yankees because they've won throughout history and they suck in all the big name players with their huge payroll. I hate the Red Sox because their fans are loud alcoholics one step removed from Cro-Magnon Man. The Dodgers though? I hate them just because it seems like I have to. Watching the Dodgers is like watching Glenn Beck. Something this detrimental to humanity should never even be allowed to exist. In fact, the Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Club makes a great exhibit in the case for atheism in America. If God exists, why do we have the Dodgers?
Semi-related: I caught some of the special on MLB Network on the Juan Marichal-John Roseboro fight at Candlestick Park in 1965, when Marichal temporarily lost his mind and attacked Roseboro with a bat. Watching the replay of the fight, Marichal hits Roseboro upside the head not once, but twice with his bat. Roseboro got knocked down, but immediately got right back up and went after Marichal, and brother, that is one tough son of a gun. Roseboro apparently harbored no hard feelings in the subsequent years, which shows what a class act he was. He probably had every reason to want to strangle the Giants' pitcher.
Rockies 3, Phillies 2
Wait, these teams played each other in the LDS two years ago? Shows how memorable that series was. Like their matchup in '07, this series will be played almost entirely during the day, while people are at work, so it could be the most exciting bunch of games in playoff history and no one will even know they happened. The Rockies rode the hot hand into the playoffs and the Phillies seem like a team ready to bow out early after a previous season's championship, so I'm taking Colorado. That may seem unscientific, but does it really matter? It's not like you, or I, will be seeing one second of any of these games as they transpire.