I did somewhat well in my predictions for the Division series. Of the teams I picked to advance, only the Cubs failed to make it to baeball’s final four. And with all honesty, my first reaction was that the D-Backs would beat them, but I was swayed by all the pro-Cub talk here in Chicago. I should of known better.
So here is my preview of the two league championship series. Lets start with the American League.
Boston-Cleveland: This matchup isn’t getting the publicity it should, shockingly. I think its the best ALCS matchup since the Yankees-Red Sox series in 2003 and 2004. I sense that the Red Sox fans, unlike the Yankees fans, truly respect and fear what the Indians are capable of. They might be the only team in the league that can match the starting pitching the Red Sox throw out there.
But the Indians’ problem in this series lies at the end of the bullpen. There will be at least one or two games in this best of seven which will come down to the late inning pitching, and while the Indians have great 7th and 8th inning guys, their closer is absolutely atrocious. One of the biggest baseball questions of 2007 has to be how Joe Borowski, with an ERA over 5, had 45 saves. Game 4 against the Yankees was a perfect example. Joe came in with a four run lead, gave up two bombs and held on for a 6-4 win.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox throw Jonathan Papelbon out there in the ninth, a guy who was absolutely unhittable until August and is still one of the three or four best closers in the game. Consdering how good of clutch hitters the Red Sox are, I highly doubt the Indians will be able to hold one run leads in the ninth. And obviously, thats huge. These teams, outside of their closers, are relatively evenly matched….so Cleveland needs to pull out every close game they can. And I think anything less than a two-run lead in the ninth is flimsy for the Tribe.
Therefore I’m going to pick Boston in 7. I really, really want Cleveland to win. Imagine being an Indians fan right now: your team hasn’t won since 1948, and you might be able to beat New York and Boston en route to the World Series. Talk about icing on the cake. Even a fan of the rival White Sox is envious of that possibility. But I think Beckett and Sabathia will cancel each other out, and while Carmona is better than Schilling, Curt takes him game to another level in the playoffs. Plus, I think Borawski will blow a Carmona game, if Fausto isn’t able to go the distance. Look for Boston to win two games off the Indian bullpen and hold off the Tribe in a great series.
Arizona-Colorado: Let me first say I think its horrible there are still thousands of seats available for this series in Phoenix. Your team won a title in 2001, they have a great young team and a solid chance at winning another, and you can’t sell out a 45,000 seat stadium? That’s fucking horseshit. Lets contract Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Arizona, go back to the 28-team major leagues, and have a contraction draft. With the first pick the White Sox select Bradnon Webb.
Anyway, this is an evenly matched series. Everything I hear from the ‘experts’ is that about half are picking the D-Backs and half are picking the Rockies. Of course, Jesus is taking the Rockies in 6. I’m going to disagree with Jesus.
The Rockies are really hot right now, but the Diamondbacks have homefield advantage (even with the empty seats), a great bullpen and timely hitting. Those three things will outlast a hot streak every time. Also, as well as Jeff Francis and the rest of the Rockie rotation has been pitching, I think the Diamondbacks will put that to an end. I’m taking Arizona in 6.
So I suppose I’m picking Boston and Arizona. Ick.