Finally, The Drama Of Post Season Baseball Begins!
By David A. Lane of Predictem.com
Enough talking has been done during the 162 game season, most teams have played concerning which is best, which will dominate in October, and ultimately, who will take home the 2008 World Series crown. Speculation that runs rampant during the regular season means nothing in the post season where the pressure gets turned up and the light of the flashbulbs get hotter. If the Chicago White Sox grand entrance to the playoffs is any indication of things to come- a grand slam home run on Monday by Alexei Ramirez won the make up game and forced a Tuesday playoff against the Minnesota Twins in which a terrific pitching performance by John Danks, an amazing tag out at home by catcher A.J. Pierzynski on an equally terrific throw from Ken Griffey Jr., and a late inning home run by Jim Thome added to the heroics and got them in with a 1-0 victory- viewers will no doubt be in for a seriously entertaining and extremely competitive one.
Ozzie Guillen’s squad won’t find things easy and will most definitely need some more magic having to travel to Tropicana field to play the Tampa Rays (57-24 at home) a possible three of five games there. Though the White Sox won it all in 2005 and have experience over the younger Rays, Tampa has continued to hang tough and impress all year long. The Rays won six of ten from the Sox during the regular season and the favorite against the spread in the series also covered six of ten. It has been quite a season for the Rays but their coming out party will end here where their lack of being in the spotlight will finally show up as Chicago will take the series in five with a late walk off home run that sends the Trop faithful home until next year.
In the other American League series defending champion Boston Red Sox (39-42 on road) travel to Anaheim to play the Angels (50-31 at home) in what should be the best match up of the four. One could say that the Angels have had Boston’s number thus far since they are 8-1 against them this season having won the last eight meetings in a row. The underdog has covered five of nine times this season as both teams have a lot in common- speed on the base paths, good defense in the field, solid starting pitching, and two of the best closers in baseball. Where the two differ is that the Angels hit for lower average, less power, and have a smaller on base percentage than does Boston. Also, as opposed to last season when the much healthier Red Sox swept the banged up Angels in three games, this season it’s the Sox who are hurt. Ace Josh Beckett, Outfielder J.D. Drew, and 3B Mike Lowell, are all suffering from various injuries with Beckett’s start already being pushed back until Wednesday. Angels earned home field advantage and won the West about three months ago it seems- expect them to take down the Red Sox this time and in four games.
In the National League, the wild card winner Milwaukee Brewers play the Philadelphia Phillies in what should be an entertaining series. Both teams hit very well but have decent pitching too. The Phillies have the much better speed, defense, and closer, but the Brewers have C.C. Sabathia who has been a savior for them. Though the Brew Crew has been a terrific story this season- their last trip to the post season was in 1982- the Phillies have won five of six from them during the regular season including the last five in a row. Though the underdog has won three of five this season (with the other meeting’s line being off), the Phillies are the pick here and should close this out in four games.
The final match up in the National League between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers also looks to be a great one. The Cubs have reasons to believe that this could be there year but not if the Dodgers Manny Ramirez can help it..
The post season is the great unknown because any of these teams can surely peak at the right time and win it all. Most often, teams that have been through the pressure together before are usually the ones who pull it all together in this most important time of the year. Speculation is now thankfully behind us as a champion will step forward and Major League Baseball can begin writing its 2008 playoff chapter in its history books.