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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Monday, October 03, 2005

World Series Predictions

I imported this post from my other site, A Cub Fan Rants, just so you know. Double the pleasure, double the fun, ya dig?

Well, it's playoff time in baseball, on of the best times of the year. Who will win? I'm not sure, but I've got my picks anyway. I've researched the numbers and heard the ESPN prattle and read the MLB dissertations and have come to this conclusion: No One Really Knows.

However, here it goes anyway, quick and to the point:

The Cardinals will beat the Padres. I know, looks like a no brainer, but believe it or not, I've heard some people pick the Pad's, including a senior writer over at Baseball Prospectus. So, I figured there must be something to it, so I did some research. That guy is crazy. Everyone is talking about the pitching of the Astros, and Pettitte, Clemens and Oswalt are truly great, but the St. Louis Cardinals have the best team ERA in the NL and the second best team WHIP. As far as offense, the are 3rd in BA and OBP, 4th in SLG and 7th in SB. What else do you need to know. This one is easy. Jake Peavy or no Jake Peavy, this one goes to the Cards. Maybe in three but most likely in four.

The Astros will beat the Braves. OK, the Astros offense is weak. 14th in BA, 12th in OBP, 11th in SLG, but their pitching will come through in a five game series. The 'stros team pitching is 2nd in ERA, 1st in WHIP, 3rd in K's and have allowed the least walks in the NL. Their bullpen has converted 77.59% of their save opps, the best of all the playoff teams in both leagues. The Braves certainly have the offense to make the difference and they have Hudson and Smoltz, but their bullpen is a wreck, saving only 61.29% of their opps, far and away the worst of any playoff team. They have Kyle Farnsworth as their closer now. Although I personally root for the guy, we all know here in Chicago that he's quite likely to have a meltdown out there. Houston is too tough at home and their pitchers will love the cavernous Ted Turner field. The Braves are good, but will go down in five (sorry Matt).

The Red Sox will beat the White Sox. With apologies to my brother, the White Sox simply don't have enough offense to match up with the run scoring machine that is the Boston Red Sox. This is a great traditional matchup of great pitching vs. great hitting, and I'm going against the grain here by saying the hitting will come out on top. Only two starters on the Red Sox have and OBP below .350 (one being John Olerud, so perhaps it's only one starter, but you get the picture). The White Sox have two, Konerko at .375 and Podsednik at .351. The ChiSox are 12th in team BA, 11th in OBP, 9th in SLG. Their staff is 2nd in ERA and 4th in WHIP and, surprisingly, their bullpen has converted 74.97% of their opps. Boston's pitching is very suspect, 11th in team ERA, 9th in team WHIP and the bullpen only converting 66.67% of their save opps., but with the lack of offense coming from the South Siders, I don't think that'll matter. Chicago is simply going to be outscored. Boston's #1 in BA and OBP and #2 in SLG. Yeah, yeah, the White Sox have won 99 games, but the Yanks, Red Sox and Angels won 95. 52 of Chicago's wins came from the AL Central. Jose Contreras has an 11.74 ERA vs. the BoSox and is starting game one. The White Sox go down in five.

The Yankees will take out the Angels. This one was tough to pick, but the Yankees offense will take out the Angels pitching. Again, I'm going against the "Pitching Wins" philosophy. The Yankees are 2nd in BA and OBP, 4th in SLG and 6th in SB. Sure the Angels are #1 in SB thanks to Chone Figgins (the ChiSox and Podsednik are #2), but their offense surrounds one guy and that's Vladimir Guerrero. He's definitely great, but if the Yankees are smart, which they are, they won't let him beat them. Not like you can pitch around him, he'd hit it if you bounced it up there, but they'll make someone else do the damage. The Angels are a well balanced team, however, 6th in BA, 9th in OBP, 9th in SLG (but 16 pts behind #8), 3rd in ERA and 5th in WHIP. Also, K-Rod and the bullpen have converted 76.95% of their save opps. The pitching staff also leads the AL in K's while being 4th in Walks Allowed. I just think there are some intangibles in the NYY offense that won't be taken out by LAA. Again, this is the closest matchup of the four, but I believe the Yankees will beat the Angels in five. Yeah, yeah, that means they win game five on the road, thanks to the tom-foolery of ex-Yankee skipper Buck Showalter pulling out his starters for applause and letting the Angels come back and win game 162. Weak. Anyway, I predict the Yanks.

Then we have the League Championship Series. So, now that I've screwed up all the Division Series calls, I'm going to mess up the LCS as well. Why Not, Right? Heheh. So, here it goes.

OK, So the Astros up against the Cardinals. In a seven game series, you'll need more than three pitchers. This is bad for the Astros. Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Backe just don't match up with Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis. The lack of offense will be a bigger factor against the better Cardinal pitching staff as well. The hitting of the Cardinals prevails, and the Astros go down in six. The Cards are on a mission. Cub fans don't really want either of these teams to go to the Series, but, alas, I think it'll happen.

Now, the big series the Network's are hoping for, as are the entire American North East. The friggin' Yanks up against the defending champion Red Sox. Who takes this one? Who the hell knows. It could go either way. I truly do hope it comes down to these two, because it's the best matchup of any two teams. It sort of makes the World Series anti-climactic (right Redbirds?). But, since I'm stupid enough to try and pick the winners here, I'm calling the Yankees. Why? Because they're still stinging from last year and are desperate for some payback. This one will go seven. It'd go eleven if they let them play that long, but I'm picking the Yankees over the Red Sox in seven. My Dad (Yankee Fan) would be so proud.

World Series, Yankees over Cardinals. Wtf am I saying? Yeah, I know. I'm crazy. I just can't pick the Cardinals. I realize, on paper, the Cardinals offense is good enough and their pitching staff is superior to the Yanks. Plus, they have the bad taste of being swept last year, and they won't let that happen again. So, maybe they'll win a game and go down in five. I guess I really don't know at this point, but for shits and giggles, I'm making the call of Yankees, World Champions, in six games. Watch them lose to the Angels in the first round. If I picked the team I actually liked the most to be in the Series, it'd be the White Sox vs. the Braves (see bro?, I'm not a hater). I just think the Cards and Yanks are the best two teams this year. I don't want the Yankees to win another one, but I think they have the intangibles to win and it's hard to deny them. There pitching staff is suspect, but they'll bring it together in October. Basically, whoever wins the NYY/BOS series ought to win out, but who knows? I know the Cardinals have the second most championships, and the franchise knows how to win (but they're WAY back of the Bronx Bombers - 26 v. 9), and yes, they have Tony LaRussa running the show, but I just can't see them taking out either the Yanks or the BoSox. The AL is better, by far, and they have the home field advantage due to the All-Star Game thang. Will So Taguchi be the St. Louis DH? Yankees in six. I don't want either to win it all, actually, being a Cub Fan. However, someone has to win it, and it won't be pretty, personally speaking, no matter who of the eight win it all.

Aaarrrggghhh. Maybe there will be an alien invasion during game four and they won't be able to crown a winner at all this year due to too many players being abducted and neither squad can field a team.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

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