With the League Championship Series starting this weekend (and with my team not in the mix yet again), I would like to share my picks for the remainder of the playoffs.
Though you could say my picks are grounded in a personal bias, much research went into these picks, and I stand by my selections.
To be honest, right or wrong in my picks, I could really care less about how the playoffs wind up. I’d like to see some good baseball on all ends, maybe a couple of long-lasting Phillies’ injuries and hopefully no blown calls by umpires.
Texas Rangers v.s. New York Yankees
Upon first glance at this series, everyone expects the Yankees to roll over Texas. Texas has never made it this far and how in the world could they defeat the juggernaut Yankees?
Well, it could happen, and I’d love to see it happen. Texas has the offense, they have the pitching but more importantly they have the drive to compete in the postseason. For most of those guys, this is their first time on the big stage, and they’re making the most of it.
We should see a few good pitching matchups, even though the strengths of both teams lie with their offenses. Nelson Cruz is a beast, and I’m expecting him to have a big series. Despite his age, Vlad Guerrero still can produce and deserves a shot to compete in a World Series.
After reading his book, I have grown to idolize Josh Hamilton and his journey back to success in the big leagues after battling a drug addiction. I would love to see him carry this team on his back throughout the ALCS.
As for the Yankees, I bet you have figured out, I am not too fond of them. However, I will not let this bias cloud my overall baseball knowledge. The Yanks still have the pieces to win the World Series every year.
I have a feeling this series will come down to situations where the two poster boys, Jeter and A-Rod, are asked to perform in the clutch. If they come through, the Yankees win the series. If they do not, Texas may sneak into the Fall Classic.
If Texas defeats the Yankees, then at least one part of the Mets 2010 season would have made it to the World Series (Jeff Francoeur). Good luck, Jeff.
My prediction: Texas wins in seven games.
San Francisco Giants v.s. Philadelphia Phillies
As much as I dislike the Yankees, I hate the Phillies that much more. Since the Mets collapse in 2007, no team has benefited more than the Phillies. As the Mets get weaker, the Phillies get stronger.
The trend continued this year with the addition of Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Not to mention possibly the league’s most potent offensive attack. H2O (Halladay, Hamels Oswalt) will be tough to defeat.
As for the Giants, it’s all about pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Their offense is considered rather weak, but their pitching has the potential to be great.
This may wind up being an interesting series despite the fact that the Phillies are heavily favored. In my view, whoever wins the highly anticipated “Chicks Dig the Fastball” matchup between Halladay and Lincecum may have the upper hand in the series.
With strong pitching on both sides, it will come down to who can come through in clutch offensive situations. The Phillies have been doing that all year, and I expect that to continue.
An upset is not totally out of the cards, but I would be more surprised if the Giants upset the Phillies than if the Rangers upset the Yankees.
My prediction: Phillies win in six games.
I hate to do it and I apologize Met fans, but I have to go with the Phillies over the Rangers in six games.
As a baseball fan, it would be great to see each series go at least six games with a few closely decided games or even walk-off victories. Hopefully next year or the year after, I will be giving my picks that involve the Metropolitans in some way. The Mets could maybe learn a thing or two from a team like Texas. Develop young talent and then acquire veteran pieces (Guerrero, Lee, Molina) when the time is right to make a serious run.