Boring Yankees Will Win World Series
By Ryan Lanphere
Despite my Angels missing the playoffs, as a baseball fan I am looking forward to this October. There is no team that really stands out, and every team has significant questions.
Will Billy Beane’s A’s ever make it to a seven-game series in October? Will the Twins be able to win a game not pitched by Johan Santana? Will this be the year that $200 million actually buys a ring, especially with almost $16 million of that spent on a 43-year old with bulging discs in October? Will the Mets’ big-ticket additions over the last few years finally pay off? Do the Cardinals still have a pulse?
We’ll find out soon enough, but here is my take.
ALDS Minnesota Twins vs. Oakland A’s
My pick: Twins in five. Despite the improbable game one victory over Johan Santana and the Twins, I am going to stick with the Gemini from Minnesota. Frank Thomas’ heroics and late career resurgence will not be enough to make up for Oakland’s questionable rotation and average-at-best defense.
I like the Twins bullpen, which is much better anchored by closer Joe Nathan (7-0, 1.58 ERA, and 36 saves), especially since the A’s bullpen has so much trouble against lefty hitters, which the Twins have in spades (AL MVP Contender Justin Morneau and AL Batting Champ Joe Mauer).
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
My pick: Yankees in four. I am a big fan of Jim Leyland and what he has been able to do in Detroit this season taking a 91 loss team to nearly winning an extremely competitive AL Central. However, I think the magic of this season has run its course, and their 12-16 record to close out the season certainly confirms this.
Detroit’s youth, inexperience, and willingness to swing at anything pitched past the infield grass will be their undoing. The Yankees will sleep through their first series with only A-Rod errors and Jeter web gems indicating that, yes, they do indeed breathe.
NLDS St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
My pick: Padres in four. I was originally going to call this series a sweep in favor of the Padres given the Cardinals’ nearly fatal late season collapse, but that prediction went out of the park nearly as fast as Albert Pujols’ fourth inning home run on Tuesday night. Chris Carpenter looked sharp in Game One, but Jake Peavy will bounce back in Game Four, as will his Padres in this series. Pujols, as great as he is, can’t hit in all nine positions of the batting order at once.
New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
My pick: Dodgers in five. This series was by far the toughest for me to make a prediction on. The Mets shared the best regular season record in baseball with their brethren from the Bronx, the Yankees, at 97–65.
Despite this, the recent loss of Pedro Martinez and Orlando “Nobody has a clue how old I really am” Hernandez will hurt the Metropolitans more than any other team’s injuries in the playoffs. Pedro was their ace, an almost guaranteed winner of two games in a playoff series and now the Mets will be forced to look for answers elsewhere. These answers will have to come from veteran pitchers Tom Glavin, Steve Trachsel, and rookie John Maine. I can’t see this ragged group holding up to the Dodgers rotation of Hong-Chih Kuo, Derek Lowe, and Greg Maddux.
ALCS Yankees vs. Twins
My pick: Yankees in six. While my heart says Twins, my head can’t get past the Yankees and their 200 million dollar line-up of hitters who have no problem with watching pitches cross the plate. The Yankees joyless plate discipline will more than make up for their anything-but-perfect pitching (While I would love nothing more than to see Bobby Abreu celebrate after a walk, his homerun trot isn’t getting a lot of play these days).
Johan Santana will win two, but the Yankee line-up will produce about a thousand runs in the other four games.
NLCS Dodgers vs. Padres
My Pick: Dodgers in seven. The NL West rivals from sunny SoCal will be paired against one another in the NLCS. Having two teams so familiar with each other should make it an exciting series to watch. The Dodgers have the better playoff rotation and offense, and the Padres boast a superior bullpen anchored by the all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman, but they may not have much left after their heavy regular season workload.
I expect this series to go back and forth, lasting seven games and entertaining all those baseball fans who think watching a pitcher bat should still be a part of baseball.
World Series Yankees vs. Dodgers
My pick: Yankees in six. This is a sickening prediction, but I just can’t see October playing out any other way. It is not that I hate the Yankees, but I certainly can’t root for the most boring club in baseball. The Yankee World Series teams of the 90’s were at least interesting, even though they boasted plenty of passionate home grown talent in Mattingly, Jeter, Williams, and Rivera.
Honestly, has anyone told the Yankee players that they are getting paid millions of dollars to play a game? I think that I had more fun attending 8.01 lectures than the Yankee players do playing baseball. The last time I saw that many people on a baseball field not enjoying themselves was when the Tigers lost 119 games in 2003 and even then I’m not quite sure. I’d almost feel sorry for Yankee fans, but they seem as indifferent (other than booing) as the players themselves.
The Dodgers aren’t even worth mentioning here. The Yankees will ruin a potentially great October by putting baseball fans worldwide to sleep after six painfully anti-climactic games. Here’s to hoping I am completely wrong.