2009 Playoff Predictions
It's the first time in 2 years that the Cubs won't be influencing my bracket. The last time that happened was in 2006 and I had the A's winning it all and the Tigers and Cardinals losing in the first round. It's always important to remember when reading my entries that I'm an idiot. If you want, MLB is running a bracket challenge that you can enter, or throw your guesses in the comments. I haven't seen a neat and tidy place with official playoff rosters, so the ex-Cub factor below is a guess at this point and it's possible I missed a Cub connection.
Cardinals vs. Dodgers
The Dodgers started off hot for 2 months and then coasted the last 4 months and their best pitcher had a 5.21 ERA in September (Billingsley). That leaves Randy Wolf as their ace, walk-happy Clayton Kershaw, and now Vicente Padilla(chuckle) getting Game 3. The Cardinals finished below .500 in Sept/Oct after a ridiculous August, but have the most feared hitter in the game, some decent protection around him for once and a solid bullpen. This series reminds me too much of the Cubs vs. Dodgers last year, except the Cards are the Dodgers this time.
unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Cards - 1(Mark DeRosa, Wellemeyer may still make roster, don't think Lohse counts), Dodgers - 1 (Juan Pierre, don't think Garland counts)
Secret Sauce: Dodgers
My Prediction: Cards in 3.
Rockies vs. Phillies
The Rockies were 72-41 since June and have a much better pitching staff than their Coors Field numbers suggest. Ubaldo Jimenez is as good as they get in my opinion, with Aaron Cook and Jason Hammel to follow. Poor Jason Marquis may not even get the Game 4 start, but that's probably best for the Rockies. Rockies were 2nd in the league in home runs and runs scored to the Phillies, so you'd expect some guys crossing the plate early and often, but you never know in 3-5 games what will happen. The Phillies would be wise to shelf Brad Lidge and hand over late innings to Ryan Madson and maybe Brett Myers. Cliff Lee has been beaten up since his first coupe of starts with the Phillies and Cole Hamels seems to be paying for all the innings he threw in their title run last year. I think the Phils will be tough to knock off as defending champs, but the Rockies will prevail. And when in doubt, bet against the ex-Cub factor.
unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Rockies - 1(Marquis), Phillies - 4 (Paul Bako, Matt Stairs, Miguel Cairo, Scott Eyre)
Secret Sauce: Colorado
My Prediction: Rockies in 5
Red Sox vs. Angels
When the Angels beat the Red Sox in a playoff series, I'll pick them. Until that happens, I'm going with the Red Sox, plus I like their starters and bullpen more.
unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Red Sox - 1(if Gathright makes postseason roster), Angels - 1 (Gary Matthews Jr.)
Secret Sauce: Boston
My Prediction: Red Sox in 4
Twins vs. Yankees
I could see the Twins taking Game 1 riding the wave of September and last night, but ultimately I can't get behind a team missing Justin Morneau and Kevin Slowey. The Yanks have easily been the best team in baseball all year, still have Mariano Rivera closing and I think Burnett, Sabathia and Petitte along with a far superior offense than any other team should carry them through the playoffs.
unoffical ex-Cub Factor: Twins- 2(Brendan Harris, Ron Mahay), Yankees - 3 (Chad Gaudin, Jose Molina, Jerry Hairston Jr....Eric Hinske doesn't count I believe)
Secret Sauce: Yankees
My Prediction: Yankees in 3
Cardinals over Rockies in 6, Yankees over Red Sox in 5
Secret Sauce: Rockies and Yankees
Yankees over Cardinals in 6
Secret Sauce: Yankees
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.