>> Wednesday, October 07, 2009
PHI v. COL: Very. very close series. It's hard to pick a team with the Phillies' bullpen, and the last month reminds us that while he obviously does the big stuff very well Manuel makes a lot of weird decisions (let's stick with our 59 ERA+ closer! Why can't Pedro throw 130 pitches?). If the Rockies had a left-handed starting pitcher, I'd pick them comfortably. But they don't giving the Phils edges offensively and in the rotation, and it's not as if the Rockies' pen is rock solid either. My guess is that the Phillies' pen doesn't explode on them until the next round. PHILLIES IN 5.
LA v. STL Obviously, the Cardinals push the "in a short series, depth don't count" CW to the brink. But I think there's a lot of truth to it, and I think the Cards are the class of the league. I'm not unduly worried about the Dodgers's slump, and I must admit I have a hard time accepting "Joel Pineiro and Ryan Franklin, excellent starter and dominant closer" at face value, but I'm taking the Cards here. CARDINALS IN 4.
BOS v. ANA Instinctively, part of me thinks that this is the year the Angels finally beat Boston. But Beckett/Lester is tough to beat in a 5-game series, and the Angels bullpen is (uncharacteristically) a lot worse. Despite the improved Halo offense, I'm going with the secret sauce this time. RED SOX IN 4.
NYY v. MIN Normally, in the baseball playoffs you have to play hunches for series that are a coin flip. Rarely do you see a mismatch like this -- it's not just that the Yankees are vastly better, but 1)the Twins are missing one of their two premium players and 2)they're the kind of team -- with a bunch of OK starters and no real ace -- especially likely to get killed in the postseason. The Yanks are better at every spot in the lineup except catcher (where at least part of the time they have a HOF-quality player of their own), have a much better rotation and a better bullpen. So as would be obvious to anyone but a Slate columnist needing to make a buck...WORLD'S GREATEST MANIFESTATION OF EVIL IN 3.
...midwest product and djw are right to note that I blew one position comparison: Span is a lot better than Melky. I'll still take Swisher over Kubel, though.