Playoff Predictions

Over at FanGraphs we had a staff prediction article go up yesterday prior to the “Kelly Shoppach variety hour” (erm, Game 1 of the ALDS). That can be viewed here.

There, 22 of us picked our winners for each Divisional Series, Championship series, and ultimately, the World Series. I thought I might take everyone though my choices, and see if readers tend to agree.

ALDS: Rangers v. Rays
My Pick: Rays in 4.
Reasoning: The Rays are red hot, and Joe Maddon isn’t afraid to take the chances necessary to win (i.e. starting the new Stephen Strasburg in game 1 of the ALDS with only one major league start under his belt). The Rays have the pitching, just enough timely hitting, and a good skipper, which I think will propel them ahead of the Rangers, whom I didn’t think had the ideal playoff rotation to carry the club through October. Just a hunch though, and anyone suggesting anything more actually makes sense hasn’t watched too much October baseball. Anything goes!

ALDS: Yankees v. Tigers
My Pick: Yankees in 3.
Reasoning: I’m not in love with either club’s rotation, but I like the Yankees offense better than the Tigers offense. It’s really just that simple and dumbed down. With what we know now, based on last night’s rain-out/suspension, the juggling of Verlander may make it awfully difficult for the Fighting Leylanders to even win a single game.

NLDS: Brewers v. Diamondbacks
My Pick: Brewers in 3.
Reasoning:  The Diamondbacks are the darling of the postseason, the the Brewers just have the pitching to really quell any offense that it comes against this offseason. The Diamondbacks have the vibe of the Rockies a few years ago; a young cast of guys out to prove themselves with nothing to lose. It would be a great story if the D-Backs could advance here, but I just don’t see it. I also think it’s sort of a shame the D-Backs don’t still have Dan Haren, but that’s neither here nor there.

NLDS: Phillies v. Cardinals
My Pick: Phillies in 4.
Reasoning: I think I’d find this series more compelling if Adam Wainwright was healthy enough to pitch. He’s not, and I think Albert Pujols possible last series in a Cardinals uniform ends in a loss for the Red Birds here. The Phillies just have too much good starting pitching, and still have enough hitters than can get it done. This might be the last dance for the Phillies, as father time may start his work on the vets of the Phils very soon.

ALCS: Yankees v. Rays
My Pick: Rays in 6.
Reasoning: For me it just comes down to pitching, and a top three of James Shields, David Price, and Moore surely trumps anything the Yankees will trot out. The Yanks won’t go down without a fight, as that incredible offense can make any Cy Young candidate look like an also-ran, but I think ultimately the surprise story of the AL playoffs will make its way to the World Series where it shall face…

NLCS: Phillies v. Brewers
My Pick: Phillies in 7.
Reasoning:  This is basically a “pick-’em” with the Phillies getting the nod due to Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels being just a little bit better than Marcum, Gallardo, and Greinke. Make no mistake, this is going to be a pitcher’s duel from the get-go, but I just think that the Phillies squeak by here. Honestly, could go either way.

World Series: Phillies v. Rays
My Pick: Phillies in 6.
Reasoning: All good things must come to an end. This is an axiom that fits for both teams. For the Rays, the improbable postseason run stops here, at the hands of the Phillies in the 2008 World Series rematch. It was a great run, spearheaded by Evan Longoria and Dan Johnson (WHO?), but I think ultimately the Phillies get the last laugh, and make up for what many feel was a hasty exit from the 2010 playoffs. As for the Phillies, I think this’ll end the club’s run at the top of the division. The East as a whole is improving, and the Phillies are likely to age more like a bottle of two-buck chuck than a fine wine. There’s no shame here; the Phillies did what most teams fail to do, which is win when your window is open. However, with the cash committed to aging veterans, there’s a real chance it could go south quickly for the Phightins. Enjoy this one Phillie Phans. It could be a while to get one again.

Just a few notes here briefly. Oddly, I was asked to fill out a Q&A about the Baltimore Orioles organization for “Baltimore Sports and Life” online. I’ll readily admit I don’t know a ton about the O’s, but the Q&A proved refreshingly easy to fill out, and I think it turned out well for everyone who contributed.

Additionally, I did a NotGraphs post on Carl Pavano’s mustache from the final game of the season. What I found funny about the situation is that most of the work at NotGraphs is not necessarily based on facts or truths, at least not directly. In my piece, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth was funny enough to merit that sort of journalistic styling. Only on a 99 loss club…..

About Brandon Warne

Sportswriter trying to make it.
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