When it comes to predicting the 2005 MLB Playoffs, I can't say I feel strongly about any of the series, except for the Cardinals over Padres. Last year, I felt good about most of 2004 playoff picks and guess what, I was perfect, with a little help from the Yankees choke job.
White Sox vs. Red Sox- The best first round match-up, as these 2 teams have extremely different strengths. The Red Sox seem really worn out, at this point and their pitching is a huge question mark. I would have chosen the White Sox to win in 4, as their starting pitching is superior, but the FUCKING moronic decision to not put arguably the best pitcher they've had the past month, Brandon McCarthy, on their post-season roster I think will come back to haunt them. Add to this the most pathetic hitting bench in the history of playoff baseball and the White Sox are going to need lights out pitching. Over the last month, the White Sox should have been playing Brian Anderson 4 times a week, as his overall game is superior to Perez, Everett, Posednik (post-July), and Blum. These 2 young players should have been on the playoff team, with Perez, Blum, or Vizcaino beginning their search for a major league roster for 2006. Outside of Homer Harrelson, it would be hard to find a big supporter of Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen's decisions from the off-season up than myself. Well take me off the bandwagon. I'm guessing these 2 felt some kind of loyalty to their more veteran players, but McCarthy is a difference maker, as he's the best strikeout pitcher on the roster. Oh yeah, he's not on the playoff roster and I can just see this be Chicago's undoing. Bullshit reasoning by Williams and Guillen costs the White Sox the series? As a fan, I hope not. As an impartial observer. Take the Red Sox in 5.
Yankees vs. Angels- Neither team is as good as the 2004 model, but I would rate them as the 2 most likely teams to win the World Series. If Randy Johnson was starting 2 game in this series, it would be a no-brainer pick, but counting on Chacon and a less than stellar Mussina, it becomes more of a coin flip. If Colon wins both of his starts, put the Angels into the next round. As good as Bartolo has pitched this season, he's not someone I would want to put all my chips on. Yankees have the best offense and it's hard to go against a team with Rivera. Yankees in 5.
Braves vs. Astros- A lot of experts have the big 3 starters of Houston leading them to the World Series. What many are missing is that Smoltz is the best playoff pitcher of his generation and Tim Hudson isn't too shabby, either. The Braves offense is superior, but the Astros have a great closer, something the Braves do also, but he also just happens to be starting game 1. Should be a great series. Braves in 5.
Cardinals vs. Padres- What looks to be a mismatch could be tighter than expected, as Cardinal pitching has been shaky over the past month. What makes this more of an issue is the Padres will have a chance in both games Jake Peavy takes the mound, so if he comes through, it could come down to San Diego stealing one game. Cardinals in 5
If you didn't notice from my selections, I suspect these will be some great first rounds. In the League Championship series, look for the Yankees to avenge last year's gag against the Red Sox, winning in 6.
Despite winning 100 games, the Cardinals just aren't the team they were in 2004. The Braves are playing better baseball and obtaining Hudson in the off-season will pay dividends versus the Cards offense. Braves in 7.
What a rollercoaster season it has been for the Yankees, as they looked dead in the water earlier in the season, but somehow patched up a starting pitching rotation with guys like Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon and now have a chance at another world championship. The American League has been the far superior league once again, though I would argue that last year's Yankees, Red Sox, and even Twins are better than any team of 2005. Hard to go against any of the 4 American League representatives versus the National League competition, though the Braves and Astros starting pitching would give the NL the best chance. Yankees in 6.