Saturday, October 06, 2012

The 2012 MLB Playoffs Predictions Column

I am not doing my MLB playoff prediction column until after the Wild Card Games.  As I explained in my previous essay, there is no difference between these so-called “playoff games” and a Game 163.  The games played on Friday are nothing more than play-in games, akin to the needless “First Four” skin tag games that supposedly kick off the men’s college basketball tournament.  Not to say that the players and coaches should treat it any differently; it is win or go home.  But you’re just fooling yourself if you believe the league when it says the playoffs started Friday.

It starts when the teams are treated by MLB with respect by giving them a multi-game series.  Who will win?  I don’t know, but that doesn’t stop me from writing about it:

American League

Oakland Athletics (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74): How can an all-rookie starting rotation beat a rotation that features a pitcher on his way to Cooperstown, Justin Verlander?  Easy – Verlander has been as fallible in the postseason as he has been unstoppable in the regular season.  Also, the Tigers’ defense in the infield will be a major issue in this Division Series, winging balls as if the diamond is an atom smasher, allowing unearned runs all over the place.  Miguel Cabrera will follow up winning the Triple Crown (and by the way, give him the MVP over Mike Trout – dude, it’s the Triple Crown!!!) by costing his team a game because of his leaky D.  Athletics in four.

New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Baltimore Orioles (93-69): Jeffrey Maier is a bitch, and if I ever see him face-to-face (and if I’m ever drunk enough), I’ll punch the thieving bastard in the face.  His specter (will he throw out a first pitch at one of the games at Yankee Stadium?) looms over this intriguing series, but there is one huge X factor: O’s skip Buck Showalter.  Somehow he has gotten this team buying into everything he wants them to do.  And it has been three long years since the Yanks won it all.  In the first season of Major League Baseball demonstrating beyond a doubt how little they regard Wild Card teams at the same time they expand the playoffs to double their numbers, why not have yet another AL Championship Series featuring a WC team?  They can instantly review fan interference too, by the way.  Orioles in four.

And it would be poetic justice that even with this speed bump they call a Wild Card game, the Bastard St. Louis Browns still make it to the World Series.  Rookie pitchers can’t take teams to the Fall Classic.  And Moneyball won’t succeed in a salary structure where it pays to spend money, it can’t.  People will rediscover how beautiful Camden Yards is, as though it’s been ugly all those times the team has been ugly.  Charm City should rock as it reaches the World Series for the first time since 1983.  Orioles in five.

National League

Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68): The stupid playoff structure for the Division Series, where the team with the home-field disadvantage gets to host their two games before the team with the better record gets to host their three (this happened because adding a second Wild Card happened too late to alter this year’s schedule), has to cost some team.  I’ll give it to the Reds, who may have the best bullpen of the eight remaining clubs.  That won’t matter; AT&T Park will provide the Giants with the home-field advantage to take a pair of close, low-scoring games, and then bad luck will give San Fran a sweep on the road.  Should be the best Div Series of the four, even if it will only go the minimum.  Giants in three.

Washington Nationals (98-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (88-74): It’s a stupid idea to sit Stephen Strasburg.  You might do it if the Bastard Montreal Expos aren’t in the playoffs, but they are, and baseball is a weird sport in which a talented team in Spring Training gets decimated by injury and inexplicable ineffectiveness.  The Nats have no right to think they’ll be able to just show up in the playoffs again when Strasburg is, according to them, fully healthy.  So karma will have to punish them with lackluster starting pitching against the Cards, hurling performances so bad D.C. talk radio phone lines should be lit up with guys saying, “This wouldn’ta happened if they let Strasburg pitch, he woulda thrown two perfect games!  At least we got the ‘Skins now.  RGIII – he’s dynamite!!!”  Cardinals in four.

I have no reason to think the Giants will win the NL Championship Series beyond the fact that there hasn’t been a repeat World Series champion in a dozen years.  Giants in seven.

World Series

Take note: This is The First Time Ever in the History of the Universe that both World Series participants wear orange and black.  For all the talk about Cabrera and the Tigers’ potent bats, the miracle runs by the non-lucrative Athletics, the warmly greeted return of the Orioles to October and now the controversial call that kept the Atlanta Braves out of the proper playoffs, the only thing one really knows about the Giants is that their best hitter, Melky Cabrera, got busted for performance-enhancing drugs.  The O’s winning it all would be a much better storyline, but it’s the Giants’ run production after Cabrera got pinched that will be the real factor in this Series.  The Bastard New York Giants will win their second crown in three years – and fittingly, they’ll win it on Halloween.  Giants in six.

Posted by WilliamSou at 9:19 AM


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