"Yanks over Tigers in 4
Stat of the Series: Kenny Rogers pitches for
the Tigers. This is the post-season and this is New York City. Ergo, a
Detroit upset is impossible. Rogers will walk in the winning run in
each of the Yanks’ 3 victories."
Thus began my first annual post-season picks post from last season. Now, I was wrong, but there’s something uncanny going on here. Who would have thought that Kenny Rogers would be a factor either way last year? And as we all know, Kenny was the story of the post-season. Kenny and Jeff Weaver. And this is what makes the post-season so special. It’s those unassuming players who, for one two-week stretch or one moment, take center stage. Jeff Suppan, Aaron Boone,
David Ortiz, that small guy on the Braves last decade, Jim Leyritz, Cormac McCarthy, D’Angelo–you just never know who’s going to step up and say, "Hey everybody! I’m somebody and you thought I was a nobody!… Is anybody out there?"
And so my psychic energy picked up something emanating from Kenny Rogers. He was going to be an it player. As far as I know, no one else in the world of baseball bloggery and expertise mentioned Rogers in their ALDS previews. In other words, there is something special about what I do. I sit in front of this computer and the future somehow channels itself through me. I can’t help you in precise and useful ways but I can at least give you a sketch of what will happen. And so it begins with a round-up of the AL division series.
Cleveland over Yanks in 5 or vice versa
Cleveland Strengths: The Indians feature the best 1-2 combo in the league and are especially well-designed for a short series like this. Kenny Rogers does not and has not ever played for them.
Cleveland Weaknesses: The offense can disappear for long stretches. Joe Borowski is the worst closer in the play-offs. The Major League sequels might have further cursed this franchise.
Yanks Strengths: God’s team. A-Rod leads a lethal offense. Derek Jeter is inoffensive, even savvy, during post-game interviews–a skill of immeasurable value during the high-pressured post-season according to certain scouts. Joba Chamberlain is so good that the Joba Rules will turn into the Proctor Abuse this week. Good strategy in the short-term, bad in the long-term. Doug Mientkiewicz will be an "it" player this post-season.
Yanks Weaknesses: They care too much. Their beautiful story-book history is a burden. Also, the pitching past Pettitte and Wang is sketchy. The bullpen is Cecilio Guante-ian.
Boston over Anaheim in 3
Boston Strengths: The pitching is excellent as evidenced by the fact that they gave up the fewest runs of any AL team this season. JD Drew is on fire. Manny is back. David Ortiz is David Ortiz. Julio Lugo will be an "it" player.
Boston Weaknesses: Job-like history of franchise suggests they will lose in Mets-like fashion. Dave Henderson no longer plays for them. The pitching is tiring. Papelbon might still be hung-over for games 1 and 2. The pending RSN presidential election is a poorly-conceived and ill-timed event sure to distract some of the players.
Anaheim Strengths: Thunder stix support a poorly designed low OBP offense. The sound is such that fielders are rendered helpless when an Angel hits a ball in play. John Lackey looks like Napolean Dynamite but throws fastballs that act like dynamite! on opposing batters’ bats (ha!). Vlad Guerrero is good. Orlando Cabrera will be an "it" player in this series.
Anaheim Weaknesses: Fanbase is lethargic and Travoltian. The offense is not especially strong when you get past the thunder stix effect. The Sox pitching staff will have an easy time of it.
I’m not sure about the NL at this point. We’ll wait a day after all the opening games and then I’ll have a better sense of what will happen. One thing I’m sure of is that the Rockies are the team to beat and that Matt Holiday is a clean-shaven robot that haunts my nightmares.