Tuesday, October 04, 2005

ALDS and NLDS Previews

I am completely cream crackered but I thought I'd make a quick blog update on all four series before I went to bed and watch Monday Night Football (Go Panthers - my 2nd team beside my Jags!)

Yankees @ Angels

The Yanks do not have an easy task but it is a task I believe they can pull through. This team has the most grit I have seen in a Yankee team since I started watching the sport back in the 2001 World Series. This team should by right probably not even be in October baseball but have found a way to get there.

A team full of winners, big game players and the emergence of a real talent at second (well with the bat) and with Jason Giambi being a real threat again, this lineup is quite special. Yes the rotation isn't assured and a lot hinges on Mike Mussina's elbow, but his 5-1 (3.00) record in ALDS play is not to be sniffed at.

In the pen the Angels have the edge in middle relief but I have more faith that Flash and Mo can shut it down than Shields and K-Rod even though the numbers are similar. This should really be a great series and as Neil H pointed out to me last night, it will be harder than the Twinkies over the past couple of years, but this team has been through so much, I can't see them falling short of playing for the Pennant.

Yankees in 4.

Red Sox @ White Sox

This whole series depends on one thing - Chicago's starting pitching. If Jose Contreras and his 10.70 ERA against Boston can perform like he has down the stretch and not like he has against the team from Beantown, then the White Sox can win this thing. Freddy Garcia and Mark Buerhle have also pitched well of late.

However the Boston lineup can really turn it on and they do have the best #3/#4 combination in the bigs. The White Sox can play small ball and test that Boston defence, they'll run on the outfielders in the wide confines of US Cellular and that may be huge.

Also the bp's of both teams are not that great, however Chicago's Starters have gone deeper into games than Boston's this season. If Matt Clement, Boomer Wells, and Curt Schilling can get into the 7th and only use Papelbon, Myers and Timlin then that may be vital.

Still, I have this going to a decider and the ChiSox just about holding on in the top of the 9th with the go-ahead runs on base.

ChiSox in 5

Astros @ Braves

By far the more intriguing NLDS as the Astros take on the Braves. The big and I mean big boost for the Astros is they start on Wednesday meaning they can setup Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt for games 1, 2 and 3, quite handy huh?

The Braves are throwing out Tim Hudson and John Smoltz first up so we are guaranteed two marquee match-ups in the first two games. The Braves hit much better than the Astros but will the big three going for the Houston ball club in at least four of the five games then how many runs do you need to score? The Houston big three include three of the top five starters for ERA in the NL, Clemens (1st), Pettitte (2nd), Oswalt (5th).

The final reason why the Astros will hold on? Brad Lidge.

Astros to sweep

Padres @ Cardinals

The final series. Honestly the Padres?

Forgo all the crap, this one is going to the Cards but I'm going for a shock...

Cards in 5

I think the Pads will throw out Peavy and he'll win game one and then on short rest in game four, but they have no-one else who is honestly a play-off calibre pitcher.

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