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October 1, 2008 - Seth Staskey
The greatest time of the baseball calendar begins soon. The Major League Baseball Playoffs get under way with the divisional series round.
The matchups include:
National League: Dodgers vs. Cubs and Phillies vs. Brewers.
Personally, most who know me know I am a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, so I am taking them and that pick includes very little bias. The Cubs pitching is too good. Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden are three of the premier pitchers in the N.L. The Dodgers lineup -- outside of Man-Ram -- is a little suspect. I agree with most that Derek Lowe is as good as you get especially this time of the year. That makes the opener with Dempster -- who has been lights out at Wrigley Field -- meeting Lowe as just a huge game. Chicago needs to win both at Wrigley.
On the other side, I like the Brewers. The way they had to go about it to take two of three from the Cubs and then scoreboard watch as the Mets choked again. CC Sabathia has pitched his last three outings on three-days rest. He'll have full rest and could pitch twice in this series. Phillies lineup is tough with the given, Ryan Howard, right in the middle. The back end of their bullpen is also solid, but the starting pitching will make the difference.
NLCS Prediction: Chicago vs. Milwaukee.
Cubs pitching is too much. Remember in middle of August when they went to Miller Park and took four straight to seemingly win the division at that moment. The Cubs are one of just two teams to beat Sabathia since he arrived to the Brewers clubhouse. However, he did shut them down last Sunday in the regular-season finale.
We'll take the Cubs in 6 to advance to the World Series.
In the American Leage, the matchups are: Boston vs. Angels and Tampa vs. White Sox.
We like Anaheim and Tampa Bay. The Rays are as good as anyone and not many casual baseball fans can name too many of thier players outside of Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford. Heck, I can't name hardly any of their pitching staff. Chicago has had to win three games vs. three different teams to even reach the playoffs. I like the make-up of their team, but Tampa has been lights out at Tropicanna Field despite the fact that hardly anyone ever shows up to watch.
I am going with Tampa in four games.
I look for the Red Sox reign to end to Anaheim. The Angels have K-Rod at the back end of their bullpen, who has 63 saves and yes, he blew seven to lead the American League. Doesn't matter, the Red Sox are beat up. They have had to jockey their rotation and last year's playoff ace Josh Beckett has been banged up with a strained oblique and Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew have also been battling nagging injuries.
Look for Anaheim to also win in four games.
I look for the Angels to take down Tampa Bay in six in the ALCS.
Then the prediction you've all been waiting for. I am taking the Cubs to break the curse and take the Angels down in what will be one of the more entertaining World Series of all time. I am taking the Cubs in six.
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