Sorry I'm a little late with my picks for the ALDS and NLDS. As you can see from the picture to the left, I had to go through lots of Studious Metsimus paperwork, culling information that I would use to make the best possible predictions. I really don't like doing these picks when the Mets aren't playing, but my contract says I must do so. You don't want to know what would happen to me if I didn't...
American League Division Series
Yankees vs. Twins
The Yankees are coming off one of their best seasons in the past few years. Their 103-59 record was the best record in the major leagues and they will have home-field advantage for as long as they continue playing, including the World Series (thanks to future Met Carl Crawford's All-Star Game heroics).
The Twins have the momentum going from their amazing September in which they overcame a three-game deficit with four games left in the regular season. Their hard-fought victory against the Tigers in the one-game playoff for the AL Central Division title might have exhausted them, but they still look strong.
Prediction: Yankees in 5. As much as I hate picking the Yankees, their pitching is more experienced than the young Twins staff and they can simply outslug you. Even though the Twins did not defeat the Yankees during the regular season, I will give them two wins so that they don't have to close out their stadium with a loss (Minnesota will be moving into Target Field in 2010). I just hope Twins' mascot TC Bear doesn't throw me out of the bear fraternity for going against his team.
Angels vs. Red Sox
Since winning the World Series in 2002, the Los Angeles Angels of Anywhere But Los Angeles have been very Atlanta Braves-like in the postseason. They've won five division titles since their sole World Championship, but have only won one playoff series. In 18 total playoff games played since 2002, the Angels are 5-13.
The Red Sox are responsible for most of the Angels' postseason failures. In each of the past two seasons, the Red Sox eliminated the Angels in the ALDS and they did the same in 2004 on their way to ending their 86-year championship drought. In those three seasons, the Red Sox are a combined 10-1 against the Angels.
Prediction: Red Sox in 4. The Angels are good enough to win one game but the Red Sox have something to prove after being eliminated by the upstart Rays last year. I'm hoping my fav'rit player, Billy Wagner, gets in a few of those games and does well. I still miss him...
National League Division Series
Phillies vs. Rockies
This is the battle of the past two National League pennant winners. The Phillies are the National League's version of the Yankees with all their sluggers. However, there is one big difference between those two teams. In the ninth inning, the Yankees can feel confident in giving the ball to Mo. The Phillies close their eyes and hope their closers don't blow.
For as great as the Rockies' postseason run in 2007 was, this year's Rockies team finished with the best record in franchise history (92-70). They didn't wait until September to get hot, as they did in 2007. They got hot in May when manager Clint Hurdle was fired and replaced by Jim Tracy, going 74-42 under Tracy.
Prediction: Rockies in 4. After leaving Citi Field on August 24, the Phillies went 8-12 in their final 20 road games. The Rockies went 51-30 at Coors Field this season, but were dominant at home over the last two months of the regular season, going 24-9 over their last 33 home games. Also, would you trust Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson in a tight game at Coors Field? We all know about Lidge going from success in 2008 to suck-yes in 2009, but did you know that Madson hasn't exactly been effective against the Rockies over his career? In fact, the Rockies' combined batting average against Madson over his career is .327! If the Phillies can't get a huge lead in Denver, this series isn't going back to Philly.
Dodgers vs. Cardinals
The Dodgers held a commanding lead in the NL West until the Rockies started their run late in the season. The Dodgers avoided falling back to the wild card spot by defeating the Rockies during the final series of the season. They have something to prove this season after being ousted by the Phillies in the NLCS last year.
This is the Cardinals' first postseason appearance since winning the World Series in 2006 (I hate you, Adam Wainwright!). It is also their seventh playoff appearance of the decade (six division titles, one wild card).
Prediction: Dodgers in 5. Since Fred Wilpon's team broke his little heart by moving from Brooklyn to Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers and Cardinals have combined to win 17 pennants over the past 51 seasons. No two NL teams have appeared in more World Series than the Dodgers (nine pennants, five titles) and the Cardinals (eight pennants, four titles). Therefore, it shouldn't be unexpected if the series goes the distance. Wouldn't it be something if Wainwright comes back on short rest for Game 5 or comes out of the bullpen and blows it this time? Joe Torre will be drinking wheat grass in celebration of his return to the NLCS.
So it looks like we'll have two sets of division rivals becoming reacquainted with each other in the NLCS, as Studious Metsimus is predicting a Yankees-Red Sox matchup in the ALCS and a Rockies-Dodgers showdown in the NLCS.
If one or both of these matchups don't happen, don't blame me. Besides, how many people have gone to Las Vegas to place bets on the word of a teddy bear blogger?
I'll be back next week when each division series is over to make my predictions for the next round. Now can someone get me down from these files? I didn't realize it was this high up when I climbed onto them looking for my data.