Detroit at New York Yankees
Jim Leyland should get manager of the decade for the job he’s done with this previously moribund franchise, but they’ve been running on fumes for more than a month now. It took everything they had just to hold on to their playoff spot, and they ended up dropping the division title in the end. Detroit has youth and talent, but the Yankees have veteran experience, and that counts for so much more in the playoffs than the regular season.
Yankees in four games
Oakland at Minnesota
I know Minnesota’s got Johann Santana and have been on an epic tear, but I have to think that Oakland has been lurking under the radar and will give the Twins more than they can handle. However, I have to stop short of picking the A’s to win the series because of Santana and the Twins’ pernicious (and stupid) home field advantage. I hate the freaking Metrodome as both a Vikings fan (1998 NFC Championship) and a Twins hater (1987 World Series).
Twins in five games
Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets
I like the Dodgers in this series because the Mets remind me of the Cardinals of the past two years—clinched early, didn’t do much the last few weeks, short on starting pitching and relying on hitters who may or may not come through. I like the Dodgers’ pitching much better, and I like their veteran leadership better than the Mets youngsters.
Dodgers in four games
St. Louis at San Diego
Okay, so the Cardinals squeaked in; at least they got in. But it would be foolish to think they are going to get on a roll now when they haven’t been on any sort of roll since before the All-Star break. Can the Cards steal this series? It is possible, but only if Chris Carpenter wins both his starts and Albert hits like Babe Ruth while getting some timely support from Edmonds and Rolen. The Cardinals have had good luck against San Diego in past playoffs, but I can’t believe that the Birds have anything to offer after the last horrendous month. On the other hand, since the “experts” at the Eastcoast Sports Promotion Network don’t even think the Cardinals deserve to be here, there’s nothing I’d like to see more than a Redbird upset…but I’m not predicting it here.
Padres in four games