Last year at this time, I posted an article of my predictions for the 2008 MLB playoffs.
Of the seven postseason series, I accurately called four of them, including the NLCS showdown. I had the Phillies knocking off the Dodgers in five games last year, which turned out to be 100 percent accurate!
However, before I give myself a congratulatory pat on the back, I should also inform the reader that I whiffed on the World Series. I had predicted that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were going to defeat the Phillies for the Fall Classic. Unfortunately, the Angels were knocked out in the ALDS by the Boston Red Sox. To see what I wrote last year, here is that article:
Will I be better this year? Let us roll with 2009!!!
2009 ALDS; MINNESOTA TWINS versus NEW YORK YANKEES
These Yankees are not like the previous A-Rod Yankees who crashed and burned in the opening round of the playoffs three times under former manager Joe Torre.
These Yankees are well-equipped in the pitching department and have no safe place in the batting order to pitch to. The Yankees had five players this year smash at least 25 home runs [Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, and Mark Teixeiria]. While CC Sabathia did accumulate 19 wins this season with the Yankees and is likely the top candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, he has not been a reliable pitcher in the postseason.
Check with Cleveland and Milwaukee fans for tales of old! However, Minnesota will be without its strongest hitter for this series, Justin Morneau, and Sabathia will have a powerful lineup supporting his every pitching effort. With the Minnesota Twins providing a respectable effort in the latter half of the season to clinch a playoff spot for the AL Central, they exhausted a great ton of their starting rotation and bullpen to accomplish that effort. The ace of Minnesota's staff this season, Scott Baker, had to be used for the one-game playoff and will likely not see any action this series until Game 3 at the earliest. By that point, the Yankees would be up 2 games to 0, courtesy of a couple of blowouts at home. Baker will not be enough for the Twins to avoid the sweep.
2009 ALDS; BOSTON RED SOX versus LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
Prediction: Angels will defeat the Red Sox three games to two.
Well, I got this exact same prediction wrong last year. Am I an idiot for going with the Angels edging the Red Sox two years in a row? I doubt it. These Angels do not have the world's most impressive hitters; however, they play the most fundamentally sound baseball unlike many teams in the game today.
They have two players who have stolen at least 30 bases this season [Bobby Abreu and Chone Figgins]. In addition, while Josh Beckett is a good postseason pitcher, Boston's Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield are not always reliable in October. Instead, the pitching combination of Los Angeles' John Lackey, Joe Saunders, and Jared Weaver is a far more consistent trio.
The addition of Torii Hunter in center field also provides the Angels with a huge defensive stud which is vital for winning ball clubs in October. This series will be ugly. There will be a split in Anaheim for the first 2 games, a split in Boston for the next 2 games, and a nail-biting Angels victory in Game 5 at home over the Red Sox.
2009 ALCS; LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM versus NEW YORK YANKEES
Prediction: Yankees will defeat the Angels four games to one.
The Yankees will prove to be unstoppable in this series. They will ride their momentum from the ALDS against the Twins and take the first 3 games of this series before dropping Game 4 in Los Angeles before finishing the Halos off in Game 5. Although the Angels have a good trio of starting pitchers, the Yankees have a better batting lineup.
The New York Yankees will win the AL Pennant!!!
2009 NLDS; COLORADO ROCKIES versus PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Prediction: Phillies will defeat the Rockies three games to zero. This will be a sweep.
In 2007, the Rockies humiliated the Phillies by sweeping them in three straight games. But, that was 2007.
The following season, the Phillies returned and won the World Series. Now, the Phillies have entered October not only for the third consecutive season but also as defending champs. And there is a golden rule in sports that champs remain champs until someone can defeat them. I hate to break it to Colorado fans, but the Rockies do not match at all with the Phillies. Any batting order which features Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley is extraordinarily intimidating.
Who do the Rockies have to counter that? Not Matt Holliday! He left the Rockies before the 2009 season. He is now with the St. Louis Cardinals. Long story short, the Phillies will beat the Rockies as badly as the Rockies were beaten by the Red Sox in the 2007 World Series.
2009 NLDS; ST. LOUIS CARDINALS versus LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Prediction: Cardinals will defeat the Dodgers three games to one.
The Cardinals had arguably the greatest starting pitching rotation for the season. This trend will continue in the NLDS against the LA Dodgers. Here are the four biggest reasons why the Cardinals are better than the Dodgers:
No. 1: Tony LaRussa [LaRussa has an incredible postseason record in the LDS, having won his last 4 appearances in the LDS. Joe Torre has lost three of his last four appearances in the LDS.]
No. 2: Albert Pujols [47 home runs, 135 RBIs, enough said]
No. 3: Pitching [Chris Carpenter has 17 wins, Adam Wainwright has 19 wins, and neither has an ERA above 2.70 this season. The LA Dodgers do not have any starting pitcher with more than 12 wins this season.]
No. 4: Head-to-head [The St. Louis Cardinals were 5-2 this season against the Dodgers.]
2009 NLCS; ST. LOUIS CARDINALS versus PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Prediction: Phillies will defeat the Cardinals four games to three. This will be one of the most exciting playoff series in MLB history.
Ryan Howard versus Albert Pujols! Cole Hamels versus Chris Carpenter! Jayson Werth versus Matt Holliday! This series has classic written all over it. And it will not disappoint.
Both teams are loaded with World Series experience and postseason glories. Both teams are led by very effective managers. Both teams have good batting lineups with superstar sluggers. This will go the distance...but the home-field advantage which the Phillies have will earn them the edge. Hosting a Game 7 is always a great advantage.
The Philadelphia Phillies will win the NL Pennant!!!
2009 WORLD SERIES; PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES V. NEW YORK YANKEES
Prediction: Phillies will defeat the Yankees four games to two.
The Philadelphia Phillies have the same balanced, yet powerful batting order that they had last year when they won the 2008 World Series. CC Sabathia will be hammered twice in this series for crushing Yankee losses. This will give the Phillies the momentum they need to finish the Yankees off in New York in Game 6 and repeat as World Series champions.
Once again, I would take a batting lineup with Rollins, Utley, and Howard anyday over Jeter, Teixeira, and A-Rod. Why? Because look at who supports these trios. For the Phillies, it is Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, and Shane Victorino. For the Yankees, it is Robinson Cano [decent but not great], Johnny Damon [very unreliable], and Jorge Posada [inconsistent these past few seasons]. The edge is clearly with the Phillies!
The Philadelphia Phillies will repeat as champions and win the 2009 World Series!