|By Zach Patterson||Thursday, 9 Oct 2008|
Filling in for Mr. Spook Derosa, here’s my completely professional and 100% correct opinions:
BOSTON RED SOX VS. TAMPA BAY RAYS
How they got here
Rays: Beat up on a weak White Sox team in 4 games. Chris called their first round victory, and they come into this series as pretty much the story of the season.
Red Sox: Had some pretty intense games with a tough Angels team, but pulled it out on a dramatic 9th inning victory in game 4. Chris totally blew this one.
I would say if the Red Sox were completely healthy, this would probably be their series, due to the fact that this is largely the same team that won it all in convincing fashion last year. As it is, however, the Sox are going to be down Lowell, Beckett’s not completely healthy, Drew has been battling to stay in the lineup, and Ortiz hasn’t been 100% all year. As they are, they are still a very good team, but the injuries make this series not near as clear cut.
Compounding that is the fact that the Rays are pretty much completely healthy and playing with their best lineup now. Crawford, Longoria, Baldelli, Iwamura, Pena, Upton, Navarro…a lot of names many people might not immediately know, but these are some great young players that have been playing great baseball all year. And then there is their pitching, where the starters are impressive and relievers are deep and versatile. And they get home field advantage, which has been huge for the Rays all season, plus it limits the amount of games in the intimidating Fenway Park.
could probably flip a coin and be just as right or wrong as this opinion. But for the sake of something to laugh at in a week or so, I say Rays pull it out in 6. They are on a roll right now and I like the pitching matchups for them.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES VS. LOS ANGELES DODGERS
How they got here
Phillies: pulled out some tense games with the Brew Crew but won on the strength of great starting pitching, timely hitting, and slaying the mighty CC Sabathia. Chris got this one, right amount of games too.
Dodgers: Ran over a sloppy Cubs team who really didn’t put up much of a fight. To the Dodgers’ credit, they, like the Rays, are fielding their best team all year. Christ got this one too. 3/4 ain’t bad.
The Phillies come in with an intimidating yet streaky lineup that heavily stacked with power that often times has a very weak 7-8-9 of the order. It’s key that the Phillies top of the order guys get on base early and often so that the Dodgers are forced to pitch to guys like Howard, Utley, and Burrell. The Phillies pitching was excellent against the Brewers and is really the key to their success. They need Cole to dominate like the ace he is, Good Brett Myers to show up, have the old man fool batters for another start, and have the fat man pitch like he did against the Brewers.
The Dodgers right now are a scary team, and a team that no one has really seen yet. With Furcal back, Manny in his usual post season form, and a young trio of Loney, Kemp, and Ethier, this lineup is solid. That’s not even mentioning one of the best catchers in the majors, and a bench full of experienced veterans. Their pitching is also stingy and very much a ground ball inducing group. Expect to see a lot of frustrating double plays on the Phils side. Then their relief crew, like the Phils, is also tough and hard to score on.
I could easily back out of this one on the pretext of jinxing my team, but fuck it, I’ll do it live. I think the Phillies step up and take it in 6 on the back of solid starting pitching and the heart of the order stepping up, including a big series by Utley. Let’s do it, boys.