Baseball predictions are difficult
October 12, 2006
If there is one thing we learned last week in Major League Baseball, it’s that a team’s regular season finish means nothing once the playoffs begin.
Detroit ended with five straight home losses, including three to last place Kansas City, yet beat the World Series favorite New York Yankees. St. Louis struggled to win their division because of a 3-9 finish and San Diego won theirs going 8-2, still the Cardinals handled the Padres easily. The Los Angeles Dodgers came in as the hottest team of all winning seven straight, but didn’t capture even a single game. Momentum coming in was a non-factor.
Predictions: The Yankees have been eliminated, and yes, like a sheep I joined the flock of prognosticators who picked them to win the World Series. But really, it’s no big deal. I didn’t bet on the Yankees, and I’m not a big fan of MLB. I haven’t watched a game from beginning to end all season.
But people love predictions, so here are some anyway.
Detroit vs. Oakland – After 12 consecutive losing seasons and an American League record 119 losses just three years ago, Detroit is now in the driver’s seat already up 2-0 on Oakland in the Championship Series. Credit manager Jim Leyland, a World Series winner with Florida coaxed out of a six-year retirement, for getting his team to believe in themselves. The Tigers have the best pitching, leading the entire league in Earned Run Average.
The eight teams like Oakland that lost the first two games of an ALCS at home, all failed to win their series. It is highly unlikely the A’s will win four out of five from Detroit and break that streak. The question is, how many games will Oakland get? Detroit in 6.
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New York Mets vs. St. Louis – Most everyone would consider the Mets to be the pick. Their combination of speed and power is much better than St. Louis’, and the bullpen is so good that their starters lasted a total of only 13 2/3 innings in the sweep of LA.
But you can’t totally count out St. Louis either. Chris Carpenter is the best starting pitcher in the National League, and he is good for two victories. If he pitches Games 2 and 6, assuming the Cardinals win another game, we could be looking at a 7-game series. Knowing St. Louis’ starting rotation and who won last night’s game would be helpful, but the pick is the Mets in 7.
World Series – If things go as predicted here, and factoring in last Wednesday’s rainout, the American League team and its pitchers will be more rested coming in. The AL team has been the stronger club lately anyway, producing sweeps in the last two World Series.
A Wild Card team like Detroit has reached the World Series five out of six years, and won it three of those times. When the playoffs started, naturally I chose the wrong one.
Way back in April I picked Oakland to beat St. Louis, which was easy to do since they are my favorite teams, but now the prediction is Detroit over the Mets.
RAIN WAS GOOD
Thank God the game scheduled for Wednesday in New York was rained out.
First of all, Fox Television stupidly set both championship games for 5 o’clock our time. When ESPN is involved, every playoff game starts at least three hours apart. Now that there are less teams remaining, it seems that Fox thinks it’s better to show them less to the country. That makes absolutely no sense.
Of course, the more important reason no game should have been played, was the death of Yankee player Cory Lidle. New York was not the place to be cheering Wednesday.