In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t had a ton of time to work on the blog lately. It turns out having an editorial job in New York City is really hard. Who knew?
Anyway, as a result, I haven’t had much time as of late to do long, comprehensive, well-thought-out pieces. As such, you won’t be getting a 2,000-word MLB playoff preview. (Also, I’ve watched a grand total of two baseball games in the last three months, so I’m not exactly an expert on what’s gone on this season.) But here is some ridiculous, uninformed wishcasting for this year’s Playoffs, which began last night with the Pirates-Reds Wild Card game–which I happened to be listening to while I typed this:
A’s vs. Tigers (ALDS)
Before the season, I predicted the Tigers would make it to the World Series (and lose to the Nationals–oops). They’ve got a great core to their lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Austin Jackson, and maybe the best top-end starting rotation in all of baseball with probable Cy Young-winner Max Scherzer, one-time MVP Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez.
But you know what? I think the A’s are going to beat the Tigers.
The reason is hardly scientific. It’s simply that the Tigers have beaten the A’s in the playoff a couple of times in the last few years, and I think whenever one team takes several series in a row, eventually the other one gets some get back. I firmly believe that the A’s would have beaten the Tigers last year if Verlander hadn’t gone Robocop on them in Game 5 in Oakland. Well, this year, that won’t happen, because Scherzer is the Game 1 starter, meaning if there’s a Game 5, he’s the guy the A’s will see. And while I know he was probably the best pitcher in the AL this year, he doesn’t scare me like Verlander does. No one scares me like Verlander does. Not even Robocop. Jim Leyland did the A’s a huge favor. Add in the fact that Cabrera is playing hurt right now, and that the A’s have a huge bullpen advantage, and I’m saying Oakland over Detroit in 5.
Red Sox vs. Indians (ALDS)
Well there’s an immediate prediction for you: I think the Indians are beating Tampa tomorrow night. They won 10 in a row to close the season (against sucky competition, but still), they’re at home, and Tampa burned David Price in the tie-breaker game last night. Also, one of my co-workers is a huge Indians fan and he got tickets to the game and drove from Brooklyn to Cleveland last night, and I really don’t want to have to look at the guy if his team loses.
And I’ll take it a step further: I think Cleveland will beat Boston. Again, no science or stats involved. But if you look at the playoffs since the dawn of the Wild Card era, the team that has the best regular season almost never goes on to win the World Series. And since I’m a writer and, hence, a sucker for narrative, I like the idea of the whole Francona-goes-back-to-Boston-and-wins story (even though I know this will have no actual bearing on the series.) Also, fuck the Red Sox.
Indians vs. A’s (ALCS)
Come on, you know what’s happening: Cleveland will go up 3-1 and then lose three straight to blow the series. Because people from Cleveland aren’t allowed to be happy. A’s over the Indians 4-3.
Pirates vs. Cardinals (NLDS)
The Cards are loaded and they have a lot of experience. But they have pitching depth questions now, and man, I’m listening to the Pirates on the radio right now and that crowd is LOUD, and Liriano is pitching really well, and I like PNC Park and the city of Pittsburgh and Primanti Brothers sandwiches … so fuck it, Pirates in 4.
Dodgers vs. Braves (NLDS)
The Braves always choke in the playoffs. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw in games 1 and 5. Los Angeles in 5.
Pirates vs. Dodgers (NLCS)
On the other hand, if the Dodgers have to burn Kershaw in Game 5 of the first round, they’ll be at a disadvantage against the Pirates. Also, I hate the fucking Dodgers. Pirates in 6.
A’s vs Pirates (World Series)
And it comes to this. Two small market franchises. Two blue collar cities. Two die-hard fanbases. Is this a rational prediction? Hell no. This is just what I’m hoping will happen. You know what else I’m hoping? That the Oakland A’s will beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 of the World Series at the Oakland Coliseum, and that my buddies Alex, Curtis, and Dan, who all bleed green and gold, will be in the stands losing their shit when Grant Balfour strikes out Pedro Alvarez to close it out. And that Balfour will climb into the stands and start punching my buddies in their faces. Because look at Balfour:
That’s exactly the sort of thing he would do.