After a thrilling conclusion to Game 163, the playoff matchups are set, and the six long months of the regular season have come to a close.
With the postseason beginning Wednesday afternoon, it’s time to make some predictions about which team will still be standing in November.
Red Sox over Angels in four games
No need to look at 2009 statistics for this one. The past few years made this decision easy. The Red Sox won in four games in 2008, in three games in 2007, and in three games in 2004. I’ll take the team that has won 10 of the last 11 postseason meetings between these two teams.
Yankees over Twins in three games
The Twins have won 17 of 21, including five straight to sneak their way into the playoffs. Their reward is a trip to Yankee Stadium and a series starting less than 24 hours after the winning run scored against Detroit.
The Yankees led the league in runs, hits, homers, RBI, total bases, and OPS. While part of that may be Yankee Stadium, the Yanks have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Plus, Game One is CC Sabathia vs. Brian Duensing. Advantage Yankees.
ALCS: Yankees over Red Sox in six games
In the end, I think this series comes down to the Yankee offense vs. Red Sox pitching. Josh Beckett and Jon Lester comprise a formidable 1-2 combo, but Beckett has looked rather human lately, and I believe the Yanks can take him down in the Bronx and ultimately return to the World Series for the first time in 2003.
Cardinals over Dodgers in four games
Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. The Cardinals' pair of fearsome duos is enough for them to outlast LA, who has question marks all over its starting rotation.
Phillies over Rockies in five games
This series can go either way. The Phillies have the edge offensively, and with the Rockies missing Jorge de la Rosa, the Phillies also have the edge in the starting rotation with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
However, the Rockies have one big advantage, which is in the all-important ninth inning. Huston Street has been great, saving 35 games in 37 chances with a 3.06 ERA. I won’t even get into Brad Lidge’s struggles.
In the end, I’ll give the edge to the home team, but with very little confidence.
NLCS: Cardinals over Phillies in six games
I’m a Cubs fan, so it pains me to do this. At the same time, I’m hoping it’s also a massive reverse jinx.
In any case, both teams have a solid offense, and both teams have excellent starting pitching. However, assuming Pujols breaks out of his homerless funk, hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park should actually benefit the Cardinals, and I believe the two Cy Young candidates from the StL will be able to shut down the Phillies.
Yankees over Cardinals in seven games
The team with the most World Series titles faces off against the team with the second most World Series titles. All my baseball expertise is telling me to go with the pitching. Carpenter and Wainwright slightly edge Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, and barring injury, each should be able to pitch twice.
The Yankees are a superior offensive team from 1-9, but the Cardinals have Pujols. The Yankees definitely have the edge in the bullpen, if only because Mariano Rivera is still coming in to pitch the ninth. From a managerial standpoint, the edge has to go to Tony La Russa.
When it comes down to it, I gave the edge to the Yankees because of home field advantage and because I could never, ever pick the Cardinals.
For more playoff predictions and our votes for regular season award winners, click on over to Cubicle GM.