Can a Wild Finish Spark a Wild Post-Season in MLB ?

Doesn’t get more wild than that. Unless you were a Red Sox or Braves fan (condolences to both sets of supporters), Wednesday night was probably one of the most exciting and shocking finishes to a season we’ve ever seen. Putting aside the fact that Boston was up on Tampa by 8.5 games with a month left in the season, the actual games finished in such a spectacular fashion that I am still not able to think of an instance where two games with such tremendous playoff implications wrapped up with 9th inning comebacks… and they did so within 3 minutes of each other (major props to the O’s for playing hard in a meaningless game). Switching back and forth between the games I thought, “well the Red Sox will still hold onto their 3-2 lead, woops there goes that”… “well the Yanks could still pull out the W and force the Rays and Sox to play a one-game playoff… wow there’s goes that too”. It was a night that defied logic.

To some extent it was a season that defied much logic… The Yankess were never supposed to walk away with the AL East after relying on guys like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia on the mound. The Rays weren’t supposed to be close after losing a third of their All-Stars to free agency. Heck, the D-Backs were supposed to finish a dozen games behind the defending World Champion Giants. But alas, parity in baseball does exist, and teams can make strong strides from one year to the next.

So if the sport is so unpredictable, why do we still try and make predictions? mainly because it’s fun. I picked the Giants as my sleeper team last year, and sure enough I was smiling out on my limb when they hoisted the Commissioner’s trophy in October. This year I liked the Brewers to win the NL Central, check! But my pick of the White Sox in the AL was not so good. So what can we expect from this year’s Fall Classic?

Tigers vs Yankees
Game 1 gives baseball nerds goosebumps, as it showcases CC Sabathia and Cy Young sure-thing Justin Verlander. Look for few runs in the opener, but then lots in the remainder of the series. Yankees starters are well rested, maybe too well rested. I’ll take Detroit, and think their red-hot hitting could actually outslug the high-priced talent of the Bronx. Tigers in 4

Maddon kind of looks like Robert Deniro with that hair right now

Rangers vs Rays
People would normally go with Texas here since they were AL champs a season ago and the Rays are still a low-budget team that plays in a crummy stadium. But Joe Maddon’s group of over-achievers will likely continue their streak and ride some more good luck into another AL Championship series. Rays in 5

Phillies vs Cardinals
While St.Louis may have taken the season series from the Phils, I’ll still take a healthy dose of Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt in any series. Pitching prevails,  it is the playoffs after all. Phillies in 4

Shameless photo of Fielder's pre-game warm-up regimen

D-Backs vs Brewers

Milwaukee actually finished with the best home record in baseball, and I know a little bit about the team after jumping on their pre-season bandwagon. I know almost nothing about Arizona, except for the fact that they have a swimming pool in the outfield… nice! I’ll take the Brewers in 5

Beyond the AL and NL Divisional Series, I really like the Tigers this year. Their line-up is quite deep, and their pitching (aside from the future Cy Young winner) isn’t as bad as their numbers might show. In the NL I’ll take the Phillies, they’ve been there and still have some of those useful veterans that can step up when the game is on the line.

Lee is in the Top 5 for post-season ERA all time leaders

In the World Series I like Philadelphia. Their pitching gives them the edge and they’ve got more guys with proven playoff experience than Detroit (or really anyone else in the AL). So will fans be eating victory cheesesteaks at the end of October? We’ll just have to wait and see… but I think it’s theirs to lose.

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One Response to Can a Wild Finish Spark a Wild Post-Season in MLB ?

  1. So now that Texas has started to choke do you think they can actually finish this off and take it all home or do you think this is just the motivation that St.Louis needed to get in there and make it al theirs? These were both teams you didn’t see making it this far so I’m interested to see what you think will happen at this point, with everything on the line for each of them.

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