Tuesday, October 03, 2006

MLB LDS Preview-ish

MLB LDS Mania! My favorite part of baseball's LDS playoff round is the weekday day-games. There isn't a weekday-workday sports event more intriguing (aside from the first two days of the NCAA Tournament).

The 1 p.m. game is by far the most intriguing: Barry Zito and the Moneyball A's vs. Johan Santana and the low-budget Twins. If you saw my picks in the previous post, you'll see I noted this series is the biggest toss-up of the four.

The 4 p.m. game is unlikely to generate much heat: The Cards stumbled into the postseason; the Padres throw out an "ace" who couldn't even hit a .500 record.

The primetime game is a must-win for Detroit: The only way the Tigers are going to advance is by stealing one in New York, then hoping to win two at home. Considering Wang was one of the Top 3 pitchers in the AL this season, it's not going to be easy.

(Oh, and I don't want to overlook the Yankees' lineup, which might be the most loaded -- on paper -- in the last 50 years of MLB playoffs history.)

I'm sticking with my picks:
A's in 5.
Yankees in 4.
Mets in 5.
Padres in 3.

Comments Question: Along with offering up your picks, here's a bigger question: Who are your biggest X-factors in each series (and WHY?)


TBender said...

An NL guy, so:

Dodgers in 5.
The Mets pitching is vulnerable.

Cards in 4.
More experience, the pitching is setup, zero pressure, and Albert Freakin' Pujols. (Disclosure: Card fan)

SF said...

A's vs. Twins = Santana: He is the Twins...

Yankees vs. Tigers = ARod: Needs to get the playoff monkey off his back, and if that happens, the Yanks are pretty much unbeatable...

Padres vs. Cards = Carpenter: If he loses tonight, the series is all but over...

Dodgers vs. Mets = Furcal: When my man Raffie gets on base, the Bums are a considerably dangerous squad...

Jake C said...

Twins-A's: Can the REST of the Twins staff win ONE game (cause that's all they need with Santana). I still would rather of faced the Yanks in 5 games with Santana twice instead of 7 with the same.

Yanks-Tigers: Time for the young boys to be taught a lesson...nice run Tigers.

Cards-Pads: Does anyone think the Cards have a chance? Um, I do...when you have Pujols, that could be enough (just ask the '04 Astros).

Mets-Dodgers: Why is everyone bailing on the Mets now that Pedro's definitely out. He won 4 games, FOUR, since April. They were the best team without him. If anything, this is better because they don't have to worry what Pedro they'll get, and if he only lasted 3-5 ininngs, killing their bullpen.

Oh, matchup of the DS is NOT Santana-Zito. It's Glavine-Maddux. Talk about something we've always wanted to see.

Still sticking with my March prediction of A's-Mets (although, I wish Dan would back off of this so it DOES actually happen).

Matt Berg said...

How can you pick against the team with the best pitcher in baseball, the best hitter in baseball, arguably the AL MVP, one of the top 3-4-5 combinations in the game, the best bull-pen in the game, and the best home-field advantage in the playoffs? Are you absolutely out of your mind?

Kurt said...

Dan, as long as you keep sticking with your gut and choosing the A's to play in the World Series, I'm happy. No need to curse my team.

Sean said...

If you think the A's are going to beat the Twins in 5 that means you think the A's are going to win Game 5 at the Dome against Johan Santana. That's just dumb.

Unknown said...

Sorry...I really see Detroit taking New York to the woodshed for some reason.

It's probably just indigestion...

Kurt said...

Biggest X Factors:

In the Twins/A's series I think it's the Morneau/Mauer. If they can continue to hit like they did in the regular season, the Twins will win the series. We already know Santana will be Santana, but will the Twins offense bail out the other pitchers.

In the Detroit/NY series it's the Yankees bullpen. If Scott Proctor and Ron Villone can pitch in midseason form, Detroit has 0 chance.

And the NL I'm not even going to bother with because I don't follow minor league ball.

Brian in Oxford said...

Not to bring outside sources into the conversation, but the Mikes on ESPN Radio were asking would it be so bad to schedule playoff games simultaneously, rather than stagger them all day in weird time slots (10 am for the A's.....meanwhile the East Coast teams play past midnight). It would eliminate the Tuesday-Thursday, two-pitchers-going-on-normal-rest, series in the NL, if games didn't have to be staggered during the week (you could play all 4 series on the same day).

I think the Yanks beat Detroit, but not embarrass them in a 3-game dooming that everyone's predicting. probably 5. I mean the Tigers *did* win 95 games, and have a pretty good manager to screw their heads back on for the series. Twins should beat the A's, but it wouldn't surprise me if the A's win games 2 through 4 (especially if Johan comes back on short rest for 4, and can only go six and a third).

In the NL....I think the Mets will be okay....kinda like my feelings on the Tigers....everyone's fearing their demise, but they're still good, even without Pedro. They should be good in 4. I can't say I'm looking forward to repeated shots of Grady from the dugout watching Pedro's 2003 melting. The Cards did right the ship the last couple of days. I wonder if it gave them a renewed sense of confidence mixed with urgency. However, the Padres have better pitching and have been sustaining the urgency for a while now. I like them in 4.

Tony E said...

I am an A's fan and I wanted no part of the Twins, but when you look at their rotation outside of Santana, you have to give the A's a chance, I still think they will break their spell and win it in 4.

other then that
Yanks in 3
Pads in 3
Dodgers in 5

Terry_Kelly said...

This isn't really about the playoffs but a thought about the Marlins. Do you think the firing of Girardi is a move by Loria aimed at gettin the fan base pissed at ownership? And if they're pissed and nobody wants the team around . . . then he can move it? I realize that's incredibly hypothetical, but doesn't that seem like something a manager would do?

Aly said...

tbender i agree with you..its albert freakin pujols..and scott freakin rolen etc..though
Cards lose to Dodgers in the NLCS
Dodgers go to WS lose to Yankees with Grady forgetting to pull Derek Lowe in the 7th and then watching Grady Little make the Grady Little 2004 ALCS face and send Derek Lowe back out for the 8th

Aly said...

I mean if you were the yanks and joe torre wouldnt you want to look into the opposing dugout and see Grady Little. I sure would

Matthew B. Novak said...

Big Twins fan here, and I'm really nervous for Oakland. They've been way under-rated for most of the season.

That being said, I think people are being pretty harsh on our starters (other than Santana). Boof's season numbers aren't great, but for a rookie they're solid, and if you look at his numbers since he was brought back up from the minors, they're awesome. Radke looked good his last start out, and he has plenty of post-season experience, and throws strikes, which matters when one of the A's strengths is drawing walks. Count Santana twice, and that's 4 solid starts in a 5 game series. Plus, we only need 6 innings from any starter. So I'll take the Twins. But I'm still very afraid of a very good A's team.

Blockage said...

The Padres might take the Cards in the series, but I don't think it will be a sweep. Peavy is shaky at best and facing Carpenter isn't going to help. Young has never pitched in the playoffs before so it will be interesting to see how he does, but pitching at home should help.

Twins could make it interesting against the A's, and don't forget Oakland's history with their inability to win the series clinching game.

Yankees line-up = sick.
Detroit's line-up = not so sick.
But I still think the Yanks pull this one out even with shady middle relief.

Mets are on the downslope with no Pedro. Dodgers are riding a high and hitting that stride at the right time. Rookies will be a factor, but the Mets are ripe for a fall.

Anyway you look at it though, I'll take exciting, extra-innings, close series any day.

Unknown said...

Hey smack - might be a bit early to dub Santana Twins Messiah. A's up 2-0 after the second inning including a Big Hurt dinger to lead off the 2nd.

This could turn out poorly for the Twins if they can't count on Johan to pick up the win today.

Unknown said...

Seriously every time I turn around I've missed two innings of this game. Are they trying to set a speed record? Did Zito just have a no-no broken up by Rondell White?

Seriously the twins 3-4 hitters are Rondell White and Phil Nevin and the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs? Yikes.

Christian Thoma said...


Orlando Hernandez, slated to be the starting pitcher for the New York Mets in their playoff series with Los Angeles tomorrow, suffered an injury today running in the outfield.

Manager Willie Randolph says the extent of the injury isn't known and that he's considering his options in naming a replacement.