Four out (Sorry, 2SL). Four left. Thanks to Bud Selig taking a page out of David Stern’s handbook, we just went three full days without any baseball whatsoever. That’s the beauty of having the dates pre-scheduled for games. Anyways, there are still some great teams playing, regardless if fans in Arizona care or not. Arizona and Colorado played in the same division and are very familiar with each other. Boston and Cleveland only played six times, but both have great starting pitching. TGC gave you his predictions last week using real-life examples. Let’s look at actual baseball factors (well, sort of, but there definitely won’t be pictures of snakes!) and see if we can try and do better than his 50% (which worked surprisingly well in the NL last week).
Baseball picks that you definitely shouldn’t bet on after the jump.
NLCS: Colorado vs Arizona
These two teams played seventeen times this year, with the Rockies taking the season series 9-8. The Diamondbacks gave Colorado their only loss in the last eighteen games. Both teams swept their Division Series pretty handily. Neither team has played since Saturday, which may hurt the Rockies. They had pretty much been playing, and winning baseball games for the last three weeks. Manager Clint Hurdle was so bored during the last few days, he went off and got the flu. GM Adele Armagost (Adele!!) may want to have him manage from a bubble or something to keep the team healthy.
As for Arizona and its home-field advantage, well, there is none. A little searching on their team website led me to find two seats on the first-base line only 34 rows from the field. Look, I understand Phoenix is a really nice place to live. And, I’m sure there are a lot of fun things to do there, but IT’S PLAYOFF BASEBALL! Millions of people live in the greater-Phoenix area and they can’t fill a 49,000 seat stadium? There is just no excuse for that. This team went out and got the best record in the National League and there will be empty seats all over their stadium for a playoff game. One of the few advantages the D-Backs had is now out the window.
On the flip side, people in Denver are going crazy for the Rockies. They had been getting more and more excited during the late season run, and it just intensified during their game on Saturday afternoon. Did you see that game? Coors Field was crazy, and there was just no way the Phillies were going to win that game. Plus, now that the Broncos are getting drubbed by division rivals, and probably losing their starting running back… Denver is a Rockies town.
How will the series go? The Rockies should be able to get at least one of the two first games in Phoenix. Arizona will be shell-shocked when they get to Denver, and may not even know how to play in front of a full stadium after the first two games. Simply put, the Rockies are hitting the ball way too well right now to not win this series. They may get Game 5 again with Webb throwing at home, but this series definitely doesn’t get to a Game 7. Rockies in 6.
This team just feels like one of those teams that won’t be denied… at least until the World Series. Plus, at least one wild-card team has made the Series since 2002.
ALCS: Cleveland vs Boston
Boston handily took care of a solid, but banged up Angel team. Cleveland sent the Yankees into (yet another) tailspin. The Indians and Red Sox played six times this year, and the Sox won four. Boston fans almost don’t even know who to cheer for at this point. The Patriots are on an effortless tour of the NFL, and the Celtics looked dominant in their first pre-season game. The Sox probably still win out, but it’s definitely not a bad time to be a Boston sports fan. Cleveland is stuck with the Browns, and a superstar who wore the opposing team’s hat to a game last week. Not to mention, Cleveland has bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.
I don’t personally know any serious Red Sox fans, but I would love to know what they would say knowing there are still tickets available to the NLCS game. I imagine it would sound something like, “Brah, dat’s wicked stoopid ya know? I mean, they don’t even caahe (care) ’bout no baseball down ‘dere (there).” Or something like that. Boston has a real home-field advantage. They have one of the three best fan bases in baseball, and for all of Manny’s defensive short-comings, no one plays balls off the Green Monster better than he. Plus Sully isn’t afraid to taunt CC Sabathia with corndogs all night.
Cleveland, too, has an advantage at home. All they have to do is make sure Pharaoh won’t let my people go, and God will send down another plague like last Friday night. Those gnats were just plain nasty to look at. Joba Chamberlain looked uncomfortable at best out there. If I were going to a game at Jacobs Field from here on out, I might pretend it was Halloween and dress up as a bee keeper. Kill two birds with one stone; no gnats gnawing on you for nine innings, plus you have a sweet Halloween costume you get to wear more than just once!
How will the series go? Cleveland is at a severe disadvantage. They are throwing their two best pitchers against Josh Beckett (dominant in his last outing) and Curt Schilling (one of the five best playoff pitchers since my birth). Sabathia and Carmona are both great, but I don’t see them getting wins on the road against those two guys. Cleveland could get a win at home, but I doubt two. Boston comes back home and takes care of business. Boston in 5.
Boston has really quietly won the most games in baseball this year. They were so dominant in the first two months of the season, they were “able” to play around .500 baseball for the remainder of the year. Manny hit two ridiculous homers in the Anaheim series, and if he can keep that up, he may be looking at adding another World Series MVP trophy to his “Room of Shiny Things.”
Luckily, if I’m right then Boston would finish things up on the 18th, and the Rockies would be done on the 19th. The World Series isn’t supposed to start until the 24th! Yay for pointless days off during the baseball playoffs!! Somewhere, David Stern knows he will one day rule the world.
Also, for you conspiracy theorists out there. Times have been set for the first five games of the ALCS, and the first six of the NLCS. You can check it out here, I’m not saying anything, but that is the kind of thing I feel like you should know.
More than anything, unlike the people in Arizona, I hope you enjoy these series.