Predictions for all the division series

So far of the 3 predictions I’ve made this October that have been tested, 2 ended up being correct:

  1. Rays beat Rangers on the strength of David Price’s performance: correct.
  2. Pirates beat Reds because it’s just the right ending: correct (the Pirates fans pretty much willed them to win).
  3. Indians defeat Rays: incorrect.

So, not bad so far.  I am emboldened to make some division series predictions now!

I’ve already called the Red Sox and A’s as winners.  Let’s add the Pirates and the Dodgers to the mix.  But let’s also get a little more specific.

Red Sox’s “rust” from not having played live baseball since Sunday could cost them game 1 against the Rays, despite their efforts to create some game-like intensity for Wednesday’s scrimmage, including letting fans come watch, a move I have publicly encouraged.  We’ve seen the effects of this many times before; perhaps none so clear as in the 2004 ALCS (also notable in my memory is the 2007 World Series).  So I won’t call game 1 either way, despite the Red Sox having home field and having their pitching lined up the way they like.  I’ll just say that neither team scores more than 5 runs in the first 9.  I will predict that the Red Sox will take every game starting with Game 2.

Rust won’t be a factor for A’s and Tigers who’ve had equal amounts of rest.  It’ll be a good matchup, so A’s in 5 games.  I won’t call specific games except as implied by the series going 5 games … so basically games 1-3 will be split, game 4 will be taken by whoever trails in the series, and game 5 will be taken by the A’s.

The Pirates will have a better chance against St. Louis than some may think, and I don’t think they can lose at home in this series with the best “10th Man” going in their very enthusiastic fans.  I think they can take 1 of 3 in St. Louis, so it’s just a question of which one.  I’ll play the rust card here again (hmm, but “rust” and “cardinal” are shades of red … interesting) and say Cardinals take game 2, and Pirates take games 1, 3, and 4.

The Dodgers and Braves: the Dodgers’ injuries make them vulnerable, but their 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Greinke makes them favorites.  Starting pitching is huge in the playoffs, and these two ought to be able to handle the Braves’ lineup.  In this series, the road team may be the victor each time.  I’ll go with that bold prediction: the road team wins each game.  Dodgers in 5.

So, if I count correctly, that’s 14 or 15 distinct predictions, depending on whether the Rays win game 1 against the Red Sox (15) or the Red Sox win (14).  We shall see how it goes!

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Nobody backed into this wildcard spot!

Wow, what a finish in the AL wildcard race.  The Indians winning their last 10 games, and needing every one of those wins to take the top wild card spot, as the Rays and Rangers both went 8-2 at the end (the Rangers with a 7-game winning streak of their own).  This is the way you want to see a playoff race finish … lots of winning!

Reminds me a bit of the Rockies’ mad dash to the playoffs at the end of the 2007 season.  They had to win, I believe, 13 of their last 14 to tie for the wildcard spot.  It was exciting to watch!

Predictions:  The Rays are a stong team, but weaker on the road.  The Rangers have been impressive how they’ve turned things around at the end of the season, turning a big slump into a big winning streak.  I’m inclined to give the Rangers the edge here given their home field advantage and momentum, but the fact that the Rays have David Price pitching gives me pause.  At times this season he’s been lights-out, and though lately he’s been just consistently good, I have to think for a big game like this you’ll see him pitching well.  Slight edge to the Rays because of Price.  Should Price get injured before he’s done, edge goes back to the Rangers.

As for the following matchup with the Indians, I give the edge to the Indians.  They’re a good team with a manager that knows about getting into and through the postseason, in Terry Francona.  They’re on a roll and they’ll have a very partisan crowd in their favor, as their Wednesday wildcard game is already sold out, and their opponent is yet to be determined.

But in the end, the ALCS will be between the Red Sox and the A’s.  Let’s just hope for a lot of fun baseball to watch on the way there!

Royals don’t have a shot

My last blog post is now no longer applicable.  With the Royals losing last night and everybody ahead of them winning, they’re out of it.  Don’t care that there’s still a mathematical chance for them; it’s too slim to heed.  We all can ignore Kansas City, Baltimore, and New York now, and just focus on the Rays, Indians, and Rangers.

I predict Rays and Indians.  (Yeah, a stretch, I know.)