Tuesday, October 04, 2005

« Division series outlooks »

By Suss
Playoffs. (Say it like you're Jim Mora.)

AFTER A GRUELING 161-game season, 20 teams were eliminated from the playoffs. Judgment was reserved until the 162nd game, whether the Astros or Phillies and the Indians or Red Sox would become Wild Card contenders in the playoffs. As the Astros and Red Sox won their final games, they assured a spot in MLB's version of Oktoberfest.

The divisional playoffs commence Tuesday:

Los Angeles Angels (95-67) vs. New York Yankees (95-67)
(a.k.a. Mickey Mouse vs. Mickey Mantle)

THE ANGELS BEAT the Yankees 6-4 in the season series, and despite the Yankees getting pissy at the Rangers for pulling their starters early in their loss to L.A., the $200 Million Men travel cross-country to California.

LA's super-utilityman Chone Figgins has dominated the Yankees this season, hitting 19-for-39 (.487) against Yankee pitching, but ace Bartolo Colon has struggled in his 2 starts against them (1-1, 8.44 ERA

The Yankees' MVP candidate Alex Rodriguez has done quite well against the Angels, hitting 16-for-41 (.390), including 5 homers. But their tall lefty Randy Johnson has been inconsistent against them, with a 5.40 ERA in two games (no decisions).

SUSSMAN'S EDGE: Most of the experts choose the Angels in a close game, although I've never been able to count the Yankees out in any series. However, history tells us that last time these two tangled in the ALDS (2002), the Angels won in 4 games. So I'll pick that.

Chicago White Sox (99-63) vs. Boston Red Sox (95-67)
(a.k.a. The Battle of Quality Elastic Footwear)

THE AL's MOST cursed team plays the AL's most recently "un-cursed." The defending Red Sox snuck into the playoffs following a Cleveland collapse, while the White Sox look to return to the World Series for the first time since '59, and perhaps win their first postseason series since '17.

Chicago's hot man against the BoSox has been Paul Konerko, who went 12-for-28 (.429) with 4 homers. But their two top starters, Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, are a combined 1-2 (5.76 ERA) in Boston games.

While no one pitcher has shut down the White Sox, the relievers have done extremely well: Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, Jeremi Gonzalez and Chad Bradford combined for 11 appearances and 8 innings, allowing no runs.

But Manny Ramiez and Johnny Damon have been shut down by the Angels, hitting a combined 11-for-47 (.234) with 3 homers.

SUSSMAN'S EDGE: Boston's done this before. Chicago hasn't in a while. I'd love to see another curse get broken, but Boston has too much firepower, and Chicago's offense has been errant at times.

Atlanta Braves (90-72) vs. Houston Astros (89-73)
(a.k.a. The Struggle Between Playoff Underachievers)


St. Louis Cardinals (100-62) vs. San Diego Padres (82-80)
(a.k.a. Reddish Birds vs. Spanish Dads)

ON PAPER, THIS series isn't even close. The Cardinals have the best hitting. The best pitching. The best bullpen. The most experienced manager. The Padres ... were better than 4 really bad teams.

In Jake Peavy's only start against the Cards, he threw a gem, allowing only two hits and one run over 8 innings, striking out 10 in a victory.

Ryan Klesko hasn't done so hot, going only 6-for-25 against St. Louis (.240).

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols has eaten up Padres pitchers, going 10-for-26 (.385) this year.

But their ace Chris Carpenter hasn't been as sharp as his season stats, going 1-1 in two games (5.14 ERA)

SUSSMAN'S EDGE: San Diego actually beat St. Louis in the head-to-head matchup, 4-3. They only have 82 wins. They only have one proven starter. But he'll win two games and steal another somewhere down the line. That's right, it's just me and Jim Caple out there picking San Diego.

Season stat titles

Batting titles:
NL: 1B Derrek Lee, Cubs (.337)
AL: 2B Placido Polanco, Tigers (.331)

Home run titles:
NL: CF Andruw Jones, Braves (51)
AL: 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (48)

RBI titles:
NL: CF Andruw Jones, Braves (128)
AL: DH David Ortiz, Red Sox (147)

"Moneyball" (on-base percentage) titles:
NL: 1B Todd Helton, Rockies (.443)
AL: 1B/DH Jason Giambi, Yankees (.440)

ERA titles:
NL: Roger Clemens, Astros (1.87)
AL: Johan Santana, Twins (2.92)

Strikeout titles:
NL: Jake Peavy, Padres (216)
AL: Johan Santana, Twins (229)

Win titles:
NL: Dontrelle Willis, Marlins (22-10)
AL: Bartolo Colon, Angels (21-80

Hold titles:
NL: Scott Eyre, Giants (32)
AL: Tom Gordon, Yankees (33)

Save titles:
NL: Chad Cordero, Nationals (47)
AL: Bob Wickman, Indians (45)

No errors (minimum 108 games)
LF Frank Catalanotto, Blue Jays
CF Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
RF Shawn Green, Diamondbacks


Blogger Cullen said...

It's the los Angeles Angels of ANEHEIM. Get it right or mike scoscia will eat for a pre-game meal with fixins

October 06, 2005 10:15 AM  

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