Man what a beating!
Three of the four playoff series I predicted instead went the other way and the one series I actually got right (Mets vs. Dodgers) didn’t go the way I predicted.
Well, now that I’ve taken my fair share of bumps and bruises, I’m off the canvas and will attempt to pick the winner of both the American and National League championships series (and will do so with an ounce of caution).
American League: Oakland A’s vs. Detroit Tigers: No one expected the Tigers to get past the Bronx Bombers, not after the way they stumbled into the postseason, but they came together and beat the Yankees the same way the Angels defeated the Yankees in 2002: with timely pitching and timely hitting. Now they’re in the ALCS against the Oakland A’s, who finally broke their first-round jinx with a convincing sweep of Minnesota. This one is too close to call. The A’s appear to have the advantage because they have the better hitters (Frank Thomas, Eric Chavez, Milton Bradley). Plus, they can throw their ace Barry Zito in game one, while the Tigers will have to go with Nate Robertson, who struggled in game one against the Yankees. But I am not one to count out the Tigers, not after watching their bullpen come up huge in game two, Kenny Rogers completely shut down the Yanks in game three and Jeremy Bonderman take a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Plus, not having second baseman Mark Ellis will be huge for the A’s.
Prediction: Tigers in six.
National League: New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals: This should be a good one. The Cardinals, just like the Tigers, pulled together at the right time, defeating the Padres in four on the strength of Albert Pujols’ bat and clutch pitching (Jeff Weaver’s five scoreless innings in game two), while the Mets overcame the loss of Pedro Martinez on their strength of their bullpen. The Mets appear to have the advantage because of their offense and their bullpen. The rotation is still a question mark, and the Mets might not be able to get away with pitching John Maine and Steve Trachsel against Pujols and Jim Edmonds like they did against the Dodgers. All the Mets need is five to six solid innings from their starters to get to their bullpen of Guillermo Mota, Aaron Heilman and closer Billy Wagner. The Cardinals’ pitching is also suspect outside Chris Carpenter. Jeff Weaver isn’t going to pitch six scoreless innings against the Mets’ vaunted lineup and Jeff Suppan got roughed up in game three against the Padres. Plus, even without Floyd, the Mets have enough on offense to get past the Cardinals.
Prediction: Mets in six.