Sunday, October 9, 2011

That Crept Up On Me: ALCS and NLCS Predictions

Published under duress, simply because Life Has Intruded and I whiffed on the start of these things...

Tigers at Rangers

Texas has the rest, the home field, the better offense, and, I think, the better bullpen, at least in depth. Detroit has Justin Verlander, and dear Lord, is that something... and I prefer their overall starting pitching by a sizable margin. Both teams come in feeling good about themselves, with Texas disposing of the plucky Rays on the road, and the Tigers walking into the lion's den in New York and ending MLB's hopes of mass-market ratings, merchandise and money.

The chalk pick is the home team, of course. They've got rest as well, along with the recent experience of being in the Series last year. The starting rotation disparity is troubling, especially in October baseball... but games in Texas do not, as a general rule, end with 5 combined runs or less. Which means too much Al Albuquerque, Phil Coke and others for Tiger Fan's liking. And a Texas win. Rangers in six.

Cardinals at Brewers

By far the more entertaining series, if only for the fact that these teams have bad blood, and will have more of it by the time things are over. Every team has serious issues about what 2012 will look like -- the Cardinals could lose Albert Pjols, the Brewers could lose Prince Fielder -- that adds even more urgency to things. The Brewers hate Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals hate Nyjer Morgan, and the rest of the NL encourages both positions. Even normally quiet guys like Zach Greinke are popping off, and I'd more or less expect the benches to clear multiple times in this series. Thank the skies.

On the merits, you give the edge to the home team on starting pitching, relief pitching and offense, with the Cardinals making due on defense, managerial machinations, playoff experience and attitude. If either of these teams are said to be loose or destined, it's got to be the Cardinals, who have squirrel foo and a Game Five road win. But that's probably not going to matter here.

Things like this don't normally come down to offense, but so much of what these teams are about is four guys -- Pujols, Matt Holliday, Fielder and Ryan Braun -- that if there's an edge to be had, it might just swing things. I think it goes long, and comes down to Carpenter against Yovani Gallardo in Game Seven... and well, Gallardo's better, younger, at home, and might not be running on fumes like the 35-year-old Carpenter will be. But if the Cardinals do win two straight series in elimination games on the road, I think we'll have to call them the Team Of Destiny. Brewers in seven.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holiday? I think you mean Berkman who has been the big hitter outside of Pujols this year.

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