2009 was not a great year for the MLB. Continued steroid scandals, dropping attendance and a notable lack of September drama (unless you consider to .500 teams battling to get shellacked in the playoffs drama), mean that MLB could really use a good October. With flagship franchises like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cardinals all involved in the proceedings, the stage is set. Below are TSS resident baseball gurus — Jason H. and myself — prognostications on how it will all unfold.
ALDS — Boston Vs. LA Angels
Patrick M. — LA Angels in 5: Boston’s owned Anaheim’s finest to the tune of a 9-1 postseason ass beating this decade. But this Sox team isn’t quite to the caliber of the last five years. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and the Fenway crowd won’t let the Sawx go out without a fight. Look for John Lackey to finally best the Red Sox in the playoffs in Game 5.
Jason H. — Boston in 5: The Angels are the perennial regular season lion that turns into a lamb come October. Boston still got enough fight to pull it out but this will go the distance in my eyes.
ALDS — Minnesota Twins Vs. NY Yankees
Jason H. — NY Yankees in 3: Bring out the brooms. Give it to MVP candidate Joe Mauer and the Twins for edging out the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central. Unfortunately New York’s bats and pitching combined are too strong to overcome. Sorry Minnesota – the clock’s struck midnight on this Cinderella story.
NLDS — Colorado Rockies Vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Patrick M. — Colorado in 4: Defending Champion Philadelphia cruised to their third straight NL East title behind the usual offensive onslaught from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and company. But a shaky bullpen will be the difference between last year’s championship run and this time around as Colorado takes out the champs behind up and comers Ubaldo Jimenez and Troy Tulowitzki.
Jason H. — Philly in 5: Colorado’s pitching staff has been great to capture the NL Wildcard. But with a batting lineup like Philadelphia’s those arms will be up for a challenge. Although Colorado was the NL’s sleeper success story of the year, the Phillies calling card is the come from behind win.
NLDS — St. Louis Cardinals Vs. LA Dodgers
A classic National League matchups with headlining Hall of Famers should come down to the deciding game. A true coin flip series, St. Louis gets the edge for two reasons: home-field and Albert Pujols.
ALCS — NY Yankees Vs. LA Angels
New York in 6: The classic East Coast-West Coast battle, Mobb Deep and Westside Connection fans will take their simmering grievances to the baseball diamond. LA’s mix of young sluggers like Kendry Morales and crafty vets like Bobby Abreu should be able to put up enough runs to keep things interesting. But the Yankees have too much firepower and depth. A-Rod & Co. will be hummin’ “Who Shot Ya,” as they clinch in the shadows of Disney.
NLCS — St. Louis Vs. Colorado
St. Louis in 5: The NLCS meanwhile recalls the less-than-classic Midwest-Mountain State rap rivalry of the early 2000s. TSS historians are still sorting out the details of who emerged victorious in that feud. As for the baseball, St. Louis has a clear advantage in starters Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter and it should show against the Rockies, who don’t have the offensive firepower you associate with Coors Field.
World Series — St. Louis Vs. New York
Jason H. — St. Louis in 6: You maybe scratching your head and wonder why I wouldn’t go with the Yanks. On paper or off paper the Yankees are far superior. But the key to their demise will be shaky second starter A.J. Burnett. Already getting flack for requiring his own catcher Jose Molina instead of veteran offensive threat Jorge Posada, this formula will prove fatal in late October. Which is better Pujols/Holliday or Texiera/ A-Rod? Regardless this will be the best match the World Series has seen in a decade.
Patrick M. — St. Louis in 6: With no expense spared on shiny surroundings and with all the hottest guests, from Derek Jeter to the Mayor of NYC, in attendance, the Yankees will waltz into the Fall Classic in anticipation of a coronation. But like another New York legend, Jay-Z, the product they’ll bring to the field has underlying flaws in the foundation. Their starting pitchers, beyond the portly C.C., are average at best. They have too many DHs roaming the field. Meanwhile the Cardinals have their own killer 3-4 combo in Albert Pujols and Matt Holiday that can battle the Yanks to the finish. In the end, the Cards superior substance will win out and the Yanks will have to settle for a 3.5 Cig season.