October 04, 2004

Playoff Preview

The baseball regular season ended yesterday, and with it ended the careers of Edgar Martinez, Art Howe, Andres Galarraga, and the Montreal Expos.

After an incident which will surely make the annual shameful events list Ėa game on the second-to-last day of the season between the Twins and Cleveland (Baseball Team) Indians was called after 11 innings so that technicians could prepare the Metrodome field for that nightís college football game- the Twins fell one victory short of home-field advantage in the first round, and will thus open on the road against the Yankees for the second straight year.

The Twins lost last yearís ALDS in four games and were swept by New York just last week, yet some Twins fans maintain hope regardless: the Yankees, despite a juggernaut of an offense, have unquestionably their weakest starting pitching staff of the Joe Torre era, and with both Johan Santana and Brad Radke going twice in a five-game series, the Twins match up quite well. And interestingly, all three teams that the Twins have faced in their previous World Series appearances- the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves- are in the playoffs this year.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox will face the Angels in round 1, in a rematch of the legendary 1986 ALCS- I fully expect Dave Henderson to throw out the first pitch, and SportsCenter to run one of their hushed-toned segments on Donnie Moore.

Over in the NL, what looked to be the most talented team in the league going into the season, the Cubs, somehow failed to make the playoffs, instead finishing a mere third in their division behind playoff teams St. Louis and Houston. The Giants didnít make it either, although there was something comforting about the Dodgers and Giants fighting to the last day of the season.

Therefore, the perpetually-underachieving-in-the-playoffs Braves will take on Houston, while St. Louis battles the Dodgers.

Ergo, my predictions are the following:

ALDS: Twins in 5, Red Sox in 4 (Much as Iíd like to see the Red Sox win the ALCS in Yankee Stadium and tear down the Babe Ruth statue Saddam-style, I canít deny Johan).
NLDS: Astros in 4, Cardinals in 5 (The Astros get their first playoff series win in franchise history; going against the Braves is the only circumstance under which Iíll root for Roger Clemens.)
ALCS: Red Sox in 7
NLCS: Astros in 7
2004 World Series: I stick with my pre-season prediction: Just three days before Boston and Texas square off in the presidential election, the Red Sox will meet the Astros Ėin the process, greeting old friends Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, and Jimy Williams- and make a much better showing than their presidential counterpart. Red Sox in 6.

(Incidentally, I got the AL playoff participants exactly right, but on the NL side I correctly guessed only that the Ďstros would be the wild card.)

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 4, 2004 03:07 PM

As a longsuffering Disastros fan, I'll believe a playoff series win when I see it.

Posted by: norbizness at October 4, 2004 04:00 PM

i like your predictions. a lot of people in boston would proceed, after the parade, to kill themselves, their lives fulfilled by a Red Sox championship.

Posted by: LilB at October 4, 2004 04:23 PM

I'm no prognosticator, but should the Red Sox ever win, the city of Boston would quickly apply the "what have you done for me lately?" mindset to baseball, and only become more insane, driving ticket prices so high that some people will claim they're proof the economy is just dandy.

Posted by: brian at October 4, 2004 06:08 PM

If any Sox fans kill themselves after winning the WS, it will be that tiny minority of woe-is-us, Calvinist poseurs that give the rest of us loyal, optimistic, sick-of-the-curse-peddlers Sox fans a bad name. A Sox WS would be the best thing for my hometown as it will mean an end to the cottage industry of curse-mongering that some sports journalists in Boston have made a healthy living off.

Posted by: Krybo Amgine at October 4, 2004 09:50 PM
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