Wednesday, October 3, 2007
2007 MLB Division Series Predictions
NLDS: Rockies v. Phillies
Honestly, this is the series that intrigues me most. It really is a shame these two have to meet in the first round because they are the two hottest teams in baseball right now. Other than Cole Hamels, the Phils have no front-line starting pitchers. Do you really want to go to battle with Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick in October? Didn't think so. The Rockies on the other hand, have some young studs (Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales) with some nasty stuff to go along with their anchor, Jeff Francis. And we all know about their bats, and the more I watch and read about Troy Tolowitzki, the more I like the guy. It is very difficult to pick against guys like Rollins, Rowand, and Utley though.
Prediction: Rockies in 5
NLDS: Chicago v. Arizona
At the other end of the spectrum is this series: I could care less. The Cubs sneaked into the playoffs as the best team in the junior varsity league (the NL Central). There were three weeks in mid-summer when Sweet Lou had his team clicking on all cylinders, but, predictably, they faltered (so did the Brewers). When they 'click' they can be nasty, but that is a rare occurrence. The postseason comes down to pitching for the Cubbies. They will beat the D-backs, but their NLCS hopes and beyond ride on Carlos Zambrano and that bullpen. It's time for Big Z and those relievers to start earning their paychecks.
Prediction: Chicago in 4
ALDS: Boston v. Los Angeles
Mike Scioscia's team gets from first to third better than anyone in baseball. They have to, they are no friend of the long ball. That ability to manufacture runs will be key in this series as runs will be scarce for both squads. They'll each be pitching John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzka twice. Plus, both bullpens are stellar, although the Angels bullpen has lost a bit of its luster as of late. And, don't underestimate the loss of Tim Wakefield. His knuckleball can be a serious weapon in the postseason, in any role. The difference in this series should be the Red Sox lineup.
Prediction: Boston in 4
ALDS: New York v. Cleveland
This should be a great matchup. Though New York has owned Cleveland throughout the regular season, Cleveland will be throwing two of the top three Cy Young candidates (Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia) at New York during this five game series. Add to that, Cleveland's formidable lineup top to bottom. Of course, the Bronx Bombers are in a league of their own. Their patience at the plate should allow them to get to the Cleveland bullpen by the sixth or seventh inning of each contest, where they'll encounter the league's best lefty, righty combo, Rafael Perez and Rafael Betancourt. Expect many of these games to be decided in the later evenings. We'll see if Cleveland manager Eric Wedge's decision to keep Joe Borowski as closer was the right move. One interesting twist, and perhaps not so positive for the Yanks, Joe Torre has elected to start four different starters in games 1-4 (Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, and Mussina). How that effects the outcome remains to be seen.
Prediction: Cleveland in 5
It should be noted that I made these predictions with my head and not my heart. Had I done them with my heart, the Yankees would not be losing in the ALDS.