In order to prepare my predictions for the National League division series I had to watch the opening games. This increases my chances of being correct by a factor of 10. Using linear weights and regression analysis, I have concluded that knowing the results of one game helps a predictive system such as mine a lot. These charts tell the story more visually:
Here is what I am now sure of.
Rockies vs. Team Rocky (as played by Sylvester Stallone)
Rockies in 4
Colorado Strengths: I watched my first Rockies game the other day and was blown away by Matt Holliday’s appearance and manner of being. I mentioned yesterday that he was a clean-shaven robot that haunts my nightmares. Let me explain. Watch the game tonight and notice if he displays any emotion. Actually, you don’t have to watch the game because this predictive system guarantees that he will not. I have now watched 18 innings of Matt Holliday baseball and the guy, outside of making strange mechanical faces when he’s at bat, is the new Manchurian Candidate. There should be a Matt-Cam (surely there is one at the CIA) that focuses on him throughout the game so that we are all witness to the truly scary inhumanity of this player, and learn to appreciate the foibles and imperfections that characterize the human condition. That said, Holliday leads a very strong offense. Troy Tulowitski probably should win the rookie-of-the-year award over Ryan Braun based on his glove work. And keeping with the theme of the later part of the season, Kaz Matsui is sure to shine as Mets fans watch in disbelief.
Colorado Weaknesses: It has been suggested by a few people here that the Rockies’ literal proximity to the heavens means they are actually God’s team. Then let me submit the following: God pisses and streams come down the mountains, and then collect in a pool of liquid that is then pissed in by sundry animals which is then bottled by men and then served thoughout America as Coors Light. Light beers are crappy, but Coors is spectacularly so. Myself? Not to get too hipster Williamsburg-Mission here, but I prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon in a bottle if I am forced at gun-point to drink bad light beer. So Coors Light is pretty big strike against this surging team. The Rockies’ also have so-so pitching, although Francis is good and Ubaldo will be a house-hold name soon.
Philadelphia Strengths: Is there a better middle-infield combo than Utley-Rollins? The Phillies have a good offense. Jimmy Rollins said they were the team to beat.
Philadelphia Weaknesses: There is Cole Hamels and then who? People talk about how poorly constructed the Mets’ pitching staff was, but the Phillies’ rotation is pretty comparable. The use of hankies demeans northeastern baseball fans everywhere.
Cubs vs. D-Backs
Cubs in 5
Cubs Strengths: Pineilla wisely saved Zambrano for games 4 and 7. What? There is no game 7? Nevertheless, Captain Lou is the major difference-maker this year for the Cubbies. Not Soriano, not Lilly. Pineilla pineilla’d up the place, and the Cubs are now ready to conquer the world. Fiery manager=wins. Also, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano and Derrick Lee will help the Cubbies steal a game in Arizona.
Cubs Weaknesses: As with every NL team, the pitching is mediocre. Did Jim Hendry really trade for Steve Traschsel for their post-season run? Also, the seats in Wrigley are too close to the action.
Arizona Strengths: Brandon Webb is good. The D-Backs’s young and oblivious to the pressure. They’re so young they don’t even understand Pythagorean theorems! Stephen Drew will be an "it" player.
Arizona Weaknesses: After Webb, you kind of fall off a cliff. The D-Backs were outscored by their opponents this year, winning a high percentage of one-run games. Will this trend continue? They are so young, they don’t have the veteran know-how to play in high-pressure situations. It also seems problematic that Eric Byrnes is their best hitter.