Navigating Our Way Through Bud Selig’s 40 Day Dream
American League: Yankees, Twins, Angels, and Red Sox (wild card).
Actual: Rays, Twins, Rangers, and Yankees (WC).
Ok, not great, but I still had two of the playoff teams. In all fairness, I also had the Rays winning 90 games. And I think if the Red Sox and Angels weren’t snake-bit by injuries, they could have made a run at their respective divisions. Honestly, who thought a team with a bankrupt owner would land Cliff Lee? Let’s check out the National League:
National League: Phillies, Cardinals, Rockies, and Braves (wild card).
Actual: Phillies, Reds, Giants, and Braves (WC).
Not sure what’s more amazing: the fact I had half of the teams correct or that I am still allowed to write for this website. Then again, one of my editors claims to be an honest-to-God primate, so who the hell knows what’s really going on here?
Chimps aside, I’m willing to bet my monkey butler that this will be one of the more memorable playoff series we’ve had in the last ten years. For one, there is a collection of incredible arms in these series: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, C.C. Sabathia, Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Brad Lidge (sometimes). Not included on this list: a guy who once won a Cy Young (and 23 games) and a few other guys who have tossed no-hitters during their careers.
For those of you more interested in story lines, is this the last we see of the “true Yankees?” Rivera, Jeter, and Pettitte are all free agents after this season. There’s no indication any of them will definitely be back. How about Cliff Lee? The guy who is breaking all kinds of playoff records (by the way, we DO NOT appreciate what El Duque Hernandez did when he burst onto the scene. Yeah, he played on a juggernaut, but most of these records Lee is breaking belong to El Duque) yet may be pitching against the team that he’ll be playing for next year. Or Pat Burrell playing against the team that gave up on him after a decade of service and a World Series victory. Could Joe Buck actually be more pompous than ever? Has Tim McCarver drifted further into oblivion? Will “fisted” be unseated as the broadcaster’s overused cliche of the playoffs?
So many questions. Let’s make some predictions.
I think the Phillies match up pretty well with any team left on the board, especially the Giants. Their offense is too experienced, too overwhelming, and their pitching is obscene. The Phillies take the NL crown in 5. The Yankees’ biggest win of the postseason took place last weekend when the Rays forced a Game 5 – meaning Cliff Lee would most likely only be available for Games 3 & 7 in the ALCS. Well, the guess here is behind the old guard of Pettitte, Posada, Jeter and Rivera, the Yankees use their good fortune mixed with a devastatingly patient offense to get past the Rangers. Yankees in 6.
If there ever were two teams that took divergent paths back to the same place, it was last season’s finalists: the Phillies and Yankees. While the Yankees spent the offseason being lauded for acquiring Javier Vazquez and Curtis Granderson while shedding expensive old bats, the Phillies spent an entire season taking potshots for giving up Cliff Lee and resigning Ryan Howard years before he was due to hit free agency. They fought their way back to the division title by beating the Braves and they absolutely cruised past a tough Reds team that had the best offense in the National League. If the Phillies make the World Series they have the potential to pitch their Big 3 in at least six of a possible seven games. While the Yankees took down the original Big 3, that was 11 years ago. And none of those guys were tossing no-hitters in their playoff debuts.
Last year, the Yankees feasted on an ineffective Hamels and Joe Blanton while an over-the-hill Pedro Martinez tried to recapture some magic from his Boston days. Well, Hamels is back to his 2008 World Series MVP form and Roy Oswalt ain’t no Joe Blanton… or over-the-hill Pedro for that matter. Phillies in 6.
And what happens if I’m completely wrong and we get Giants v. Rangers? Well, consider this a preemptive peace offering. Enjoy the playoffs, everyone.
Tagged with: Andy Pettitte • Brad Lidge • Braves • CC Sabathia • Cliff Lee • Cole Hamels • Derek Jeter • Giants • Joe Blanton • Joe Buck • Jorge Posada • Kenny Powers • Mariano Rivera • Phillies • Rangers • Rays • Roy Halladay • Ryan Howard • Tim McCarver • Yankees
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