Now that the Chicago White Sox are the final entree into the AL playoffs (tear), here are my predictions for the ALDS:
Boston Red Sox vs. Anaheim Angels: I’ll take the Angels in four games for this series. The Halos have easily been the best AL team the entire season, and have been resting up for October baseball for weeks. True, the Red Sox have good pitching (Beckett, Daisuke, Lester), but lingering injuries are a big issue for them. Personally, I’d take Lackey, Santana, and Saunders any day. Offensively, the Sox know how to score runs, but who knows how they will react to a non-Manny Ramirez postseason (i.e. can Jason Bay or someone else step up in the clutch?). Besides 2002, when they won the World Series, the Angels’ postseasons have been doomed by an inability to score runs. That’s why guys like Gary Matthews Jr. and Torii Hunter were brought in, to pair with Vlad the Destroyer and a deep lineup that can beat you out of any slot.
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Rays in four. No, I don’t like the Rays just because their opponent is the sworn enemy of my Twins. I just think that Chicago really isn’t that great of a team (I think I would have picked the Twins to lose to TB as well). Both teams can pitch, but Tampa Bay’s offense is better built to score runs in the pitching-dominated postseason…Chicago’s sluggers will strike out too much. The big factor in this series, though, is the first two games being played in Tampa, where the Rays have been nearly unbeatable. This could easily be one of those series where the home team wins every game, but I think TB can pick one off in the Windy City to win earlier than that.
-Philadelphia beat Milwaukee earlier today thanks to the strong pitching of Cole Hammels. Of course, Mr. Automatic Win (C.C. Sabathia) is on the mound for the Brewers in Game Two, so this series will be even very soon.