Playoff predictor...Division Series version
I should put a random number generator and assign it to each of the 8 teams and it might be just as reliable as what I'm about to spell out to you. Here's how I usually look at the playoffs.
-First find the teams that have been playing well for longer than a month....a good 2 month stretch or longer is nice
Boston, Houston & St. Louis
- Find teams that have a knack for coming from behind
(2002 - Angels, 2003 - Marlins, 2004 - ????? Dodgers lead the league with 53 but I can't find stats for the rest of the league)
- 2 dominant starters on staff equals trouble for other team
Boston & Houston, Radke has been good this year but he doesn't qualify as dominant. Pedro just barely qualifies Boston.
- Aggressive managing is better than the same old thing works managing
This spells trouble for Cox & LaRussa. Edge to Scioscia, Tracy, Torre and maybe Gardenhire. The jury is still out on Francona & Garner.
-Never go for a team with a bad defense particularly up the middle (CF, 2b, SS & C)
Not sure that applies to anyone this year...it did in 2002 with the Yankees though. The Red Sox improved enough with their trades, Anaheim might be in trouble though. Garrett isn't spectacular in CF, Eckstein doesn't make errors but doesn't get to a lot of balls, they lost A. Kennedy who should always be a Gold Glove candidate, Molina is great though. Yanks might be in trouble as well here.
It's a series of tradeoffs as always, but Boston & Houston are my favorites at the moment.
Here's my bold playoff predictions:
St. Louis vs. Dodgers
Toughest one to call in my opinion, the Dodgers and their remarkable comebacks, great defense plus the fact that Tracy will probably outmanage LaRussa. That being said the Cardinals have had a lights out bullpen, have good to great defense almost everywhere on the diamond and we all know about their offense. The Dodgers limped though to the postseason and their starting pitching is less reliable than the Cardinals.
Cards in 5, winning all of them at home
Houston vs. Atlanta
Houston has played great ball the last 2 months and has 2 GREAT starters. Atlanta has been playing great ball since the All-Star Break and no great starters. Cox still believes what gets you through the regular season works in post-season. I don't know what Garner thinks.
Astros in 4
Boston vs. Anaheim
I have serious rooting interest in the Angels, but Boston has been playing better than anybody the last 2 months and weren't all that bad before that. Since the Angels will have to win 3 straight (games 2-4) to win it in my opinion, I don't see much of a chance for them. Angels had a great last week to mask the fact they played poorly versus the Mariners & Blue Jays in the middle of the month. Don't be fooled.
Red Sox in 4
Minnesota vs. New York
I'm not really sure how this team got the best record, teams must have been playing the pinstripes rather than the team on the field. If Mussina and Brown go crazy they have a chance but that offense will fall back to Earth against the Twins (& Red Sox if they face them). I like this Twins team for whatever reason, especially with the way Santana has been pitching. Solid pen and defense and the mediocre Yankee pitching tells me the Yankees may exit early again this year.
Twins in 5
The Championship Series
Houston vs. St. Louis
St. Louis had a chance to beat these guys in the regular season and rolled over to rest their starters. The baseball gods will exact their revenge.
Astros in 6
Boston vs. Minnesota
Fun matchup and what I think will be a great series to watch. And if Schilling meets up with Santana in a start, that would make it better. That Red Sox offense is a little too good though and the Twins 3 & 4 starters are a bigger dropoff than the Red Sox's.
Red Sox in 7
The World Series
Houston vs. Boston
Until Boston beats New York in the playoffs I'm not betting against any curses. Plus Clemens beating the Red Sox in game seven would just be lovely. The Red Sox fans will have something more to moan about.
Astros in 7