Friday, April 3, 2009

Predictions 2009: Post-season & Awards

Oooh, the fun part. I mean, sure, the regular season is great, but October's what it's all about, right? And even more so if your team gets to go to the party. Of course, these are also the tougher picks. 162 games gives you a pretty good idea what a team is made of because it doesn't allow for a lot of "luck" or "flukes". A team might have a 10 or 15-game run where they get "hot", but things will pretty much even themselves out over the course of the season. A five-game or seven-game series is a much smaller sample size and doesn't protect as well against streaks and momentum. That means that while you can look at statistics and player quality (and so forth) to guage the possibilties of a team having a good season, extraneous factors are much more likely to figure into the equation when you're talking about the playoffs. That being said, it's still fun to try and guess who will be able to make all those factors work in their favor. I presume we should base our post-season predictions on the division winners we named in previous posts, so I'll start by reminding you of whom I like. (Which begins with me reminding myself.) American League.
Division Winners:
East- BOS Red Sox Central- CLE Indians West- LA Angels of Anaheim* Wild Card: NY Yankees. I really like the Twins (I know, I know), but the East looks to be a stronger division than the Central. And when it comes to the wild card, there is definitely a bubble.
ALDS. BOS vs NYY > BOS LAA vs CLE > CLE ALCS. BOS vs CLE > BOS I wish I could give you more, but until we really know how these teams are going to shape up over the season, it's hard to say who's really better. Based on last year, and going by some of the moves the Angels made in the off-season, I'd say they aren't going far into the post-season. Based on my hatred for the Yankees, I'd say the same thing about them. And when push comes to shove, even if the Indians are "this year's Rays", much like last year's Rays, they just don't have the experience to propel them through October. National League.
Division Winners:
East- FLA Marlins Central- STL Cardinals West- ARI Diamondbacks Wild Card: NY Mets. Sorry. Call me what you want, but I'm not giving it to the Cubs. Maybe that makes my predictions "stupid", but maybe they were "stupid" anyway. Ever think of that? Besides which, the Mets went out and got themselves some serious pitching help, and I think it'll make the difference they were looking for. At least enough to get them this far.
NLDS. STL vs FLA > STL ARI vs NYM > ARI NLCS. STL vs ARI > STL Again, it's hard to know how teams are going to react to the pressure and the situation of being in the playoffs, and how all those other factors are going to affect the games, but knowing what we know, Florida won't beat the Cardinals, and the Mets will crumble early. World Series. STL vs BOS > STL Is this an eerie rematch or what? Well, guess what. I'm siding with vengeance and picking the Cardinals. Don't act so surprised. Well, I guess that about does it. Something else? What? Oooh, that pesky MVP. Okay, but first, don't blame me for making this personal, the BBWAA did that looong ago. AL Most Valuable Player ... Evan Longoria. NL Most Valuable Player ... Albert Pujols. Honestly, he could be out half the season with an injury and still be the MVP. More? How about these? AL Cy Young ... Anthony Reyes. NL Cy Young ... Chris Carpenter. AL Rookie of the Year ... I can't pick because as unfamiliar as I am with the Cardinals' prospects, I'm even more unfamiliar with other NL teams' prospects, nevermind knowing what's going on in the AL farm systems. So if you readers have any suggestions, I'll gladly accept them. Otherwise, we'll just leave it up to the rest of the UCB to predict this award. NL Rookie of the Year ... Colby Rasmus. I'm afraid I'd be tarred and feathered if I picked anyone else. Other awards? Who cares? Well, sports fans, Monday is the big day. Are you ready? Got your tickets/seat on the couch? Opening day is too much hoopla for me to attend personally, but I'll be watching every reasonable minute of it on tv. Of course, I heard rumblings of rain in the forecast for Monday, so keep your fingers crossed and knock on wood and don't change your underwear all weekend, and let's all hope they get a game in. *As strange as the whole "fighting over the Angels" name thing is, I still respect their right to call themselves whatever they want. Sure, it takes me an extra 2.7 seconds to say it, but if that's what makes them happy, then I'll do it.