After careful analysis of the LDS matchups, I am prepared to offer my predictions as to who will win each round and why. Feel free to comment on my predictions and offer suggestions for me to reconsider. This process was very elaborate and required deep reflection.
So, without further ado, here we go:
1) NLDS: Milwaukee Brewers v. Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: Phillies will sweep the Brewers 3 games to 0.
Reason: The Phillies quietly put together a "Murderer's Row" lineup in the latter stages of the season. Any batting order where Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are batting consecutively makes a pitcher's responsibility an utter nightmare.
The Phillies were humiliated last year by being swept out of the NLDS by the Colorado Rockies. However, the Phillies suffered a case of the "October Jitters" for a team that had never experienced a postseason in 14 years. The Phillies have gotten over that; however, the Brewers are just beginning.
The only weapon the Brewers have to go against the Phillies is C.C. Sabathia. However, Sabathia has been neutralized by the fact that he had to pitch the season finale on Sunday and will be pitching Game 2 this Thursday on only 3 days rest. Also, as Cleveland fans will probably remind Brewers fans, Sabathia is unreliable in the postseason.
2) ALDS: Boston Redsox v. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Prediction: Angels will defeat the Redsox 3 games to 2.
Reason: The Angels are the only team in MLB this season to win 100 games. They did so with a balanced attack of clutch hitting, power hitting, good defense, great starting pitching, and a fierce closer. Francisco Rodriguez boasts a record this year of 62 saves!!!
The starting rotation for the Angels led by John Lackey, Jared Weaver, and Joe Saunders is impressive, especially for a best-of-five series. The Red Sox do not match up well against those three.
Josh Beckett is good in the playoffs, but, beyond him, everyone else in the Boston rotation is unreliable in the postseason and would not matchup well against the comfortable rotation of the Angels.
One more reason for why Boston will lose? No Manny!!! Say what you want about Manny Ramirez and his clubhouse issues and teammate conduct, but Manny is clutch in October. Unfortunately, Manny is playing in October...but not for the Red Sox. This series is likely to go the distance with the home team winning all the games. Since the Angels would host a Game 5 if necessary, that would mean...advantage Angels.
3) NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs
Prediction: Dodgers will defeat the Cubs 3 games to 1.
Reason: The Cubs choke in October. They always do. I do not see this season to be any different. Last season, all of baseball thought that the Cubs would break through only to be swept out of the playoffs in the Division Series by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers actually have a decent lineup that can stay toe-to-toe against the Cubs. The addition of Manny Ramirez has given the Dodgers a powerful weapon to go up against Carlos Zambrano, the only Cubs pitcher who may steal a game on behalf of the Cubs.
Long story short, Joe Torre's postseason magic will live on with this incredible upset as the Dodgers will knock off the Cubs!!!
4) ALDS: Chicago White Sox v. Tampa Bay Rays
Prediction: Rays will sweep the White Sox 3 games to 0.
Reason: The Rays have a young, fun team to cheer and root for. Plus, the Rays will have their injured veteran Carl Crawford back in action.
On the other hand, the White Sox remain depleted. Carlos Quentin, who had 36 homeruns prior to his injury in mid-September, is done for the whole postseason. Paul Konerko, the veteran White Sox firstbaseman and 2005 ALCS MVP, is playing injured from a knee injury sustained in late September.
James Shields and Scott Kazmir are a good one-two punch that the Rays can throw at the White Sox in Games 1 and 2 at home in this best-of-five division series which should give the Rays a quick two game lead in the series.
With their backs against the wall, Ozzie Guillen will probably have a mental meltdown which would affect the team and the White Sox would blow Game 3 in Chicago and all hopes of a northside v. southside Chicago World Series dies in the LDS!!!
ALCS: Tampa Bay Rays v. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Prediction: Angels will defeat the Rays 4 games to 3.
Reason: The Angels are seasoned, but the Rays are fiesty. This is a similar matchup to last year's ALCS between the seasoned Red Sox and the fiesty Indians. The Rays will overachieve early in this series, like Cleveland last year, but they will break down when they have the opportunity to clinch the pennant, thus, experience will save the day for the Angels.
Thus, THE ANGELS WILL WIN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT!!!
NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: Phillies will defeat the Dodgers 4 games to 1.
Reason: Mismatch!!! The Phillies are WAY too good versus the Dodgers. Although the Dodger lineup could stand up to the Cubs in the NLDS, the Phillies' lineup is far too good. This NLCS is no contest at all. The batting lineup for the Phillies is filled with two former MVPs and a potential third. Brad Lidge never blew a save all season long and the defense for the Phillies has been extraordinary. The Dodgers have had a mediocre bullpen for most of the season and a batting lineup that misses depth beyond Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez.
Thus, THE PHILLIES WILL WIN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE PENNANT!!!
World Series: Philadelphia Phillies v. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Prediction: Angels will defeat the Phillies 4 games to 1.
Reason: Pitching, pitching, pitching!!! The Angels have a comfortable starting rotation; however, the Phillies do not. Cole Hamels is the only starter that the Phillies have who is slightly capable of staying pitch for pitch with Lackey, Weaver, and Saunders.
Thus, THE ANGELS WILL WIN THE 2008 WORLD SERIES!!!