For those who have read my prediction columns throughout the summer, you know what to expect – crap.
While I did manage to successfully predict seven of the eight playoff teams, my stat and trade guesses were way off.
Then, I only hit 50% of my Division Series picks.
Then, I decided to skip the LCS matchups altogether. Good thing too, because I don’t think the Yankees and Phillies are still alive…
But, I can’t resist taking one more crack at the can. I have to take a shot at the World Series.
Pitching – Starters
Hard to say who has the better 1-2 punch. San Francisco has Lincecum and Cain – a combined 2 – 1, 2.11 ERA in the NLCS. Texas has Lee and Lewis – a combined 3 -0, 1.25 ERA in the ALCS. The #3 guys – Sanchez for SF and Wilson for TEX – are both left handed, and both have the ability to dominate if they are on. Both teams have rookies or near-rookies (Madison Bumgarner and Tommy Hunter) as the fourth man. Pretty much a dead heat, if not for the fact that Cliff Lee is a robot and does not feel pressure, does not sweat, and does not bleed.
Edge – Rangers
Pitching – Bullpen
Texas has the sexier closer in Neftali Feliz, but San Francisco has Brian “The Beard” Wilson, who is just as dependable. It’s the other guys who give the edge to SF. Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla are all strikeout machines and impose more fear than the average (but admittedly effective) Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day. Plus the Giants have played so many close games in the playoffs that their bullpen is battle tested.
Edge – Giants
Texas is powered by the long ball. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz combined for 6 against NY, and they also boast Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young, Bengie Molina, and David Murphy who can all go deep. Plus they have incredible team speed and aggressiveness, lead by Elvis Andrus. They swiped 9 bags against the Yanks. San Francisco stole only one base against the Phillies, and aside from NLCS MVP Cody Ross, hit only one HR (Ross had three). They are a grinding team. Texas has more ways to beat you.
Edge – Rangers
Both teams have made a similar number of errors in the postseason (Texas 7 – SF 6, though Texas has played one more game). Both teams are stocked full of solid defenders, though the Rangers likely have an edge with Hamilton and Cruz in the OF and Andrus at SS. The big question mark will be in Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 when Vladimir Guerrero will play RF. He used to be a Gold Glover…”used to be” being the key phrase.
Edge – Even
Texas had never won a playoff series before this year, so they have obviously never won a World Series. The Giants have never won a World Series in San Francisco, their last championship coming when they played in New York at the Polo Grounds. The Giants will want to win one for Aubrey Huff, a man who played 1,479 regular season games before finally making his playoff debut this year. But the Rangers will want to win one for Michael Young, a man who played 1,508 regular season games before finally making his playoff debut this year.
Edge – Even
I would like to answer “I have no idea”, but I don’t think I can get away with that. The teams match up incredibly even in almost every aspect of the game that it’s almost too tough to call. You would be an idiot to bet against two-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, but I think you’d be a bigger idiot to bet against playoff mastermind Cliff Lee. I know he lost the World Series last year, so it is possible to beat a Cliff Lee lead team, but I think he uses that as motivation.
Rangers in 7