Well, I was three out of four on my LDS predictions and I even nailed the NLDS rounds TO THE GAME. So I’ve got that going for me. However, I was just as surprised as anyone that Tampa choked against the Rangers. Of course, I knew Cliff Lee would be money, but then again everyone knows that. But this is a major market delight for MLB, so I bet the ratings will be pretty good. Anyway, here are my Round 2 predictions just in time for tonight’s ALCS kickoff.
Yankees vs. Rangers
Every fan I know is scared to death of Cliff Lee in this series. I keep telling them not to worry; it’ll only be another month or two before he follows the money and crosses over to the dark side. But until then, he’ll try and guide the Rangers to their second postseason series win. Ever. I know the prospect of Cliff Lee on the hill in Arlington in Game 7 scares the socks (not Sox) off of the Yankees, but I really don’t see this one going that far. Sabathia and Pettitte are money in Games 1 & 2. Besides, CJ Wilson’s arm is about to fall off; he’s already thrown 130 innings MORE than his previous career high. And are you continuing to buy Colby Lewis? I understand the Yanks will be in trouble if they have to rely on A.J. Burnett for meaningful innings; at this point, I think it’s even money between Burnett and Ron Guidry on who could last longer. But the Yankees are the veteran team here and you’d have to be nuts to pick against them. They’re just better. The Rangers will win Game 3 with Lee and they’ll squeeze out another win somewhere, but that’s it. Yanks in six. ALCS MVP Prediction: C.C. Sabathia. The big guy will earn the cheese yet again when he brings home this piece of hardware for the Bombers.
Giants vs. Phillies
I’m so glad the Giants beat the Braves. Nothing personal, it’s just that the Giants are the only team in the NL with the pitching to compete with Philly. Could you ask for anything more than Halladay / Lincecum in Game 1? That’s the definition of a marquee pitching matchup. And Oswalt / Cain ain’t too shabby either. Nor is Hamels / Sanchez. I’ve already said it: Philly is the most complete team in baseball this year, but the Giants are a good club and I think they’ll grind it out against the Phillies. People are right to point out the Giants offensive ineptitude, but October is not the time to discount a lineup full of veterans who don’t give away at-bats. I see Philly winning this one in six, but this promises to be the series with the best pitching matchups of the postseason. NLCS MVP Prediction: I really thought about going with Jayson Werth here; dude’s been mashing for the past month plus. And he picked a good time to do it, too, with free agency and a major payday looming as soon as the postseason is over. But I’m gonna go oppo here and go with much-maligned Philly shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Rollins has really struggled since his MVP season in 2007 — injuries, head-scratchingly long slumps, and more injuries have derailed the past few seasons for him. But he’s still a vital part of this offense. Call this one a hunch.