By Tank Spencer
It's playoff time in baseball and it's going to be a crazy month or so in the office. I don't think I have ever seen a postseason where so many of my colleagues' teams are represented. Gregg Jensen, Sue Myers (Star 104.3), producer Seth and I are all Red Sox fans, Brian Hall and John Roten pull for the Braves, Mike Morgan and Rick Rice (Rock 104.9) are Dodger fans and J.P. is all about the Detroit Tigers. Every one of those teams has a legitimate shot at a title, but of course, it's gonna be the Sox. (What? You expected me to go with anyone else?)
Oh it may be predictable that as a fan, I'd pick my own team, but as always objectivity just favors my team. The Sox are not only the best team in the American League, but the most consistent team this season. Boston has not lost more than three games in a row and only a handful of times have they lost 4 out of 7. I expect a tight, exciting postseason and in the end Beantown will claim its third World Series trophy in 10 years.
Here's how I see the playoffs shaping up:
AL DIVISION SERIES:
BOSTON RED SOX over TAMPA BAY RAYS (3-2)
The Rays-Indians Wild Card game was a coin flip. The Rays won it. While the Rays have a winning record over the Indians, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Indians win. Actually, I am stoked for either series. Rays-Red Sox, the best rivalry in baseball today, what could be better? Answer: Red Sox-Indians. The Sox former manager Terry Francona vs his understudy John Farrell and the team that ridiculously tossed him aside two years ago.
DETROIT TIGERS over OAKLAND A's (3-1)
The A's have played to a level this year, better than they really are. While everyone wants a story-book ending to the “Moneyball” movie, they won't get it. The Tigers bring too much firepower to the plate. Though the Detroilet boys were a shade over .500 on the road, they'll get it going early against the A's taking Game 1 and then both at home.
NL DIVISION SERIES:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS over PITTSBURGH PIRATES (3-2)
The Pirates have momentum coming off a big win in the Wild Card game, but the Cardinals will continue a recent hot streak against the Buccos. Pittsburgh has a winning record against the Cards for the season, but has lost the last four being outscored 33-12.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS over ATLANTA BRAVES (3-2)
The Atlanta Braves' postseason woes continue with a first round loss. The Dodgers are touted as the hottest team in baseball winning 61 of their last 89 games, however, the team ended the season with a 9-15 stretch. Did they let off the gas with such a huge lead? Probably. They bring into the postseason, the best playoff rotation of any team in years. They also have a potent offense that can put up a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard. The Braves beat the Dodgers 5 out of 7 games this season, but all of those came before the July turn-around.
AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:
BOSTON RED SOX over DETROIT TIGERS (4-1)
This series will be a heavyweight bout between two teams who love to slug it out. Each game may see 15 or more runs scored. The Tigers' collapse will come one step earlier than it did last year when they were swept in the Series by the Giants. Home field advantage is the main thing that puts the Sox over the top. Starting 2-0 is a quick way to lose a series. The Red Sox were 25 games over .500 at home this year and the Tigers' were barely over .500 on the road.
NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS over ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (4-3)
The Dodgers' pitching staff comes up big and shuts down the Cardinals in key games down the stretch. The Cardinals' brand of small ball falls to the flash of the boys from Hollywood. Just like their record in the regular season, the Dodgers beat the Cardinals 4 out of 7 times and rallying after being down in the series.
BOSTON RED SOX over LOS ANGELES DODGERS (4-2)
The Red Sox are 8-0 in the World Series in this century, but I won't be that bold. The Sox and Dodgers will exchange blows in the series, but in the end the Sox will finally win a World Series in Boston in front of the home crowd. The Dodgers have the better three-man rotation, but not by much. The Red Sox have the better bullpen to help pull out close games. The Sox also have the better, more productive lineup.
Like in 2004 and 2007, this Red Sox team has something special about it. When one or two men become unproductive, someone else steps into their place. The team chemistry is unlike any other since the “Idiots” of '07 and the “Why Not Us?” group of '04. The #GetBeard movement may just pay off for this team. Dear MLB, Fear The Beard!