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Monday, September 29, 2003

Baseball Playoff Preview/Picks

The full schedule is here. Note that the National League schedule makes sense while the AL's doesn't. New York-Minnesota begins tomorrow afternoon and doesn't resume until Thursday night. Red Sox-A's, meanwhile, has two games with a short turn around on Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.

That Wednesday 10 pm start followed up by Thursday at 4 pm in Sox-A's means Thursday will be an unofficial work holiday in New England. Expect some people to be calling in sick.

Peter Gammons says the Yankees are favorites, in a column where he also makes the case that Boston's David Ortiz should be AL MVP. The ESPN experts are divided over who will emerge voctorious this fall.

I'll throw out some picks here, with the caveat that they are meaningless. Last season, the Division Series matchups were all won by the underdogs, Anaheim, Minnesota, San Francisco and St. Louis. Five-game series can really go either way most of the time, especially given that having only four teams per league in the playoffs often means there's not much difference between playoff teams to begin with.

That said, I'll go with Yankees over Twins, Red Sox over A's, Braves over Cubs, Giants over Marlins.

LDS: The Yankees own the Twins historically, and I feel this will hold, despite Minnesota's hot second half. The Red Sox are fortunate Mulder is gone and Hudson is having back problems, which should allow their offense to put up enough runs to win. The Cubs don't have enough offense to contend with Atlanta, and San Francisco is awfully tough at home.

LCS: Yankees over Red Sox, Braves over Giants. New York's pitching will come through when it needs to, and good pitching beats good hitting. The Braves will win because of the home field advantage and having more offensive firepower. Atlanta and San Fran have comparable pitching. The Giants are probably correct not to fly cross country just to make up one game and have a shot at home field in the LCS, but lacking home field may hurt them too.

World Series: Braves over Yankees. Atlanta is the most complete team in baseball this year. They will expose the flaws in New York.