Playoff Predictions

Dave · October 5, 2004 at 12:54 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

While we discuss managerial tendancies and upcoming free agents, other teams are preparing for the greatest three weeks of the season. The playoffs may not be the best way to determine the best team or to reward a season of excellence, but there are few things in sports as exciting as October baseball, and this should be a fun year to simply enjoy the games. Here’s my gut feel on how the playoffs will shake out.

ALDS, Minnesota vs New York

Johan Santana is tremendous and Brad Radke is pitching better than anyone on the Yankees, but this still looks like a big mismatch to me. The Twins are in the playoffs because they play in the saddest division in baseball, not because they are one of the four best teams in the American League. The Yankee offense is still fearsome, and a rotation of Mussina-Hernandez-Brown-Vazquez, for all its struggles, is still ridiculously talented. Yankees in 4.

ALDS, Anaheim vs Boston

An interesting pairing that should make for a fun series. The Angels bullpen is trying to carry a poor rotation, while the Red Sox starters are trying to carry the rest of the roster. A contrast in styles, with neither team having a clear advantage, and a series that could go either way. I’ll take Boston in 5, but with little conviction.

NLDS, Los Angeles and St. Louis

The Cardinals are the best team in baseball. The middle of their line-up is unprecedentedly awesome. Their rotation, despite not being full of all-stars, is very good. They play great defense. There aren’t many things that you can point to as flaws. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have a shaky rotation, a questionable offense, and are dealing with a lot of question marks. Cardinals in 3.

NLDS, Atlanta vs Houston

The most surprising team in baseball against a team that was left for dead six weeks ago. Phil Garner versus Bobby Cox in a match of bunting madness. This is probably the least interesting of the four series’ to me, but also the one that I feel like I’m just totally guessing on. Atlanta in 5, but I wouldn’t even shrug if the Astros swept all three games by 10 runs.

ALCS, Boston vs New York

Prepare yourself for 842 shots a day of Aaron Boone. Expect to hear the words “Pedro Martinez” and “Daddy” in the same sentence every fifteen minutes. Gear up for an 8,000 word column from Bill Simmons and an assasination attempt on Terry Francona. Despite all the annoying hype that goes along with a Red Sox-Yankees playoff series, it’s also great baseball. Red Sox in 6, sealing the fact that Pedro will be wearing pinstripes next spring.

NLCS, Atlanta vs St. Louis

Remember all those things I said about the Cardinals? They still apply. Cardinals in 5.

World Series, Boston vs St. Louis

The series where Albert Pujols officially becomes the new face of baseball. People know he’s good in a reverant, those-are-some-gaudy-numbers kind of way. But he’s never had the chance to shine on the big stage, showing people that he’s legitimately one of the best hitters they’ll ever see. It isn’t the curse of the Bambino or the hated Yankees that will doom the Crimson Hose; it’s the sticks in the St. Louis order. Cardinals in 6.


45 Responses to “Playoff Predictions”

  1. Aaron on October 5th, 2004 1:03 pm

    “the Red Sox starters are trying to carry the rest of the roster.”

    This must be a misprint. They led the league in basically every offensive catagory that matters. Meanwhile, I don’t get all the Angles hype. They’ve got two offensive stars, and a bunch of role players that would have gotten cut from the 2004 M’s.

    If the Sox don’t sweep it, I’ll be surprised, and if they take more than 4 games, they should hold thier heads in shame.

    Also, they Yankees have some October magic dust, but they won’t beat Santana. The series goes 5 games, and Johan the Man wins with a CG shutout.

    Obviously the Cards win easily.

    Atlanta vs Houston should be the best matchup. A real tossup.

  2. Jim Thomsen on October 5th, 2004 1:05 pm

    I wish the Dodgers well, but any team that allows Giovanni Carrara to throw one pitch in a playoff game doesn’t take itself seriously enough tio deserve to win.

  3. Dave on October 5th, 2004 1:10 pm


    You mean this Giovanni Carrara, he of the 2.18 ERA? No, I have no idea how he did it either, but he’s been a pretty freaking good reliever for the Dodgers this year.

  4. Troy on October 5th, 2004 1:15 pm

    I like your picks Dave, and while I can never root for the Yankees, seeing them lose to Boston would be even sweeter than seeing them lose to Minnesota. I have a bittersweet suspicion that this is ARod catches fire and shuts up all the doubters by leading the Yanks to the title though.

  5. Matt Williams on October 5th, 2004 1:20 pm

    Aaron when I read that I assumed he meant pitching roster, not the entire team. It made sense in the context of them having contrasting styles.

  6. Dan on October 5th, 2004 1:20 pm

    Let me just say i’d love to see the playoffs this year, but apparently all the games are on blackout for

    Thanks MLB, for helping justify my purchase of your service. Jerks.

  7. Jim Thomsen on October 5th, 2004 1:28 pm

    That’s just it, Dave? Which Giovanni Carrara? I saw him pitching for the Iowa Cubs in June when they came to Tacoma, and Luis Ugueto hit a three-run bomb off him to cap a six-running inning in which Carrara absorbed all the punishment. How you go from that to performing a Vulcan Mind Meld on the National League at 36 is beyond fathoming … but certainly beyond trusting.

  8. Pete Livengood on October 5th, 2004 1:35 pm

    Dave – I just did this yesterday, and our RESULT was the same: Cards over Sox in six. However, I disagree with you about the Yanks (could be my biases showing), whose pitching has looked shakier this year than any in recent memory. I think Santana going twice, plus Radke, swings that series to the Twins (who will then be overmatched by the Red Sox).

    The only other disagreement I had with you was the Astros over Atlanta. I think Atlanta has overachieved all year long, and they are catching a very hot team — I’ll take the ‘Stros . . . but even their momentum is no match for the Cards this year.

  9. Coach on October 5th, 2004 1:40 pm

    Gee, I’d like to have some of those “role players” from the Angels that Aaron dismissed as being sub-Mariner quality.

  10. Troy on October 5th, 2004 2:01 pm

    Me too Coach.

  11. Jim Thomsen on October 5th, 2004 2:09 pm

    Brief digression, in an item from

    Former Blue Jays, Orioles and Mariners GM Pat Gillick has expressed interest in running the new Washington franchise, and one of his former scouts says that Gillick might be motivated by the criticism he has received from statistical analysts who favor the Moneyball approach.

    “He’s tired of taking these hits,” the scout says. “He never says a word. His actions would speak louder than words. He could assemble a staff overnight. People would be fighting each other to work for him, literally fighting.”

  12. Jim Thomsen on October 5th, 2004 2:14 pm

    And there’s this, from a column in today’s Washington Post:

    “It’s my hope the team has solid local ownership (who needs deep pockets from out of town?), a meaningful nickname, affordable ticket prices, a smart general manager who has read and quotes “Moneyball,” a bright field manager and true fan support from real people, not just politicians and lobbyists in a spruced up RFK Stadium.”

  13. ChrisS on October 5th, 2004 2:33 pm

    I’ve been checking out blog predictions for the playoffs and most everyone seems to be leaning towards Sox/Cards. I too predict the Sox losing to the Cards in six… but that’s because I’m a sadistic Yankee fan.

    But we can’t all be right, so what’s the upset special? Who’s the Florida Marlins of this year?

    My vote is Houston.

  14. Jeff on October 5th, 2004 2:38 pm

    “The Twins are in the playoffs because they play in the saddest division in baseball.”

    It’s that kind of blanket statement made by the ESPN (Harold Reynolds) crowd that makes my blood boil. Did the Twins not win 93 games this year? Would they not have won the West with 93 wins? Don’t give me that crap about benefitting from a weak division. Oakland and Anaheim benefitted from playing the Mariners. The Yankees/Sox benefitted from playing the D-Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles.

    Just say your picking the Yankees and leave it at that instead of implying the Twins 93 wins were lucky. Losing 99 games with the best hitter (Ichiro) in the AL, that’s lucky!

  15. Dave on October 5th, 2004 2:50 pm

    Minnesota vs East: 19-17 (.527 Win%)
    Minnesota vs West: 16-16 (.500 Win%)
    Minnesota vs Central: 47-30 (.610 Win%).

    I think it’s pretty obvious why the Twins won 93 games.

  16. Aaron on October 5th, 2004 2:51 pm

    Look at Anahiem’s starting lineup today:
    C. Figgins 3B – Scrappy guy, decent average, good speed, not much else.
    D. Erstad 1B – .400 SLG out of a 1B is no better than anyone we already have.
    V. Guerrero RF – Specifically exempted from my comments earlier.
    G. Anderson CF – Same as Guerrero.
    T. Glaus DH – Possible exception to my eariler comments, but still injured and unpredictable.
    J. DaVanon LF – Not exactly the Second Coming.
    B. Molina C – .313 OBP is very Spezioriffic.
    D. Eckstein SS – Couldn’t slug his way out of a wet paper bag.
    A. Amezaga 2B – Who?

    I stand by my earlier statement that right now, this is a team of scrubs except for the two stars. Glaus may be my one mistake, but he’s not the difference between a 3-and-out for the Angels, and a WS ring.

  17. Matt Williams on October 5th, 2004 3:20 pm

    Dave it’s even more damning if you look at how the divisions did as a whole against each other.

    The east and the west divisions played exactly .500 ball against each other, as a whole. The central played .452 against the west and .436 against the east.

  18. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks on October 5th, 2004 3:37 pm

    I stand by my earlier statement that right now, this is a team of scrubs except for the two stars.


  19. Brian on October 5th, 2004 3:43 pm

    Expanding on Dave’s point, assuming Minnesota has the same winning percentage against the divisions, but plays the number of games say an AL West team plays against each division, the Twins are an 89-win team, good enough to be tied for third in the division.

    Games Win% W L
    NL 18 0.611 11 7
    West 58 0.500 29 29
    Central 43 0.610 26 17
    East 43 0.527 23 20

    Still, I like their chances with Santana and Radke.

  20. Jeff Sullivan on October 5th, 2004 4:00 pm

    I’ve got to disagree with you on Boston/Anaheim. I think the Sox are a clearly superior team, and I don’t think a single Angels starter will make the seventh inning all series (I believed this before today’s game, for what it’s worth).

    I’ve got it coming down to Boston/Houston. The Cardinals remind me a lot of recent Mariners teams, where they have a good, deep rotation, but lack the types of starters who you can ride in the playoffs.

  21. Evan on October 5th, 2004 4:06 pm

    With that Cards offense, I don’t think it matters if they have mediocre pitching. The Cards can happily score 7+ runs every game.

  22. Troy on October 5th, 2004 4:06 pm

    Minnesota won 93 games, with Santana and Radke, and towards the end Silva…. with little offense, and key players injured throughout the year. Still, they had people step up when injuries occurred they were able to contribute. It’s going to go 5 games. Do not underestimate a team’s heart.

  23. Aaron on October 5th, 2004 4:07 pm

    #18: And……and that was a position that was being questioned. So I defended it.

  24. roger thornhill on October 5th, 2004 4:11 pm

    ah, predictions. everyone getting their dander up. good stuff. obviously, in baseball anything can happen. but, i agree that boston vs. st. louis should be the prediction. that said, any outcome other than the pinstripes jumping up and down at the end of the show will be a good outcome indeed. even though i’m a lifetime yankee hater, i’m also a lifetime darth vader hater. every story needs a good villain. if said villain can be left sobbing on the steps, well then i’ll be the first in line to mock them and dance a little jig. nuff said.

  25. Eric on October 5th, 2004 4:18 pm

    #18 if your point was that the 2001 D’Backs also won with just a couple stars and a bunch of scrubs. Uh sure, if the Angels had Schilling and The Big Unit I’d like their chances:-)

  26. Troy on October 5th, 2004 4:23 pm

    Uh oh, there’s another Troy here all of a sudden. Guess I’ll have to expand my handle.

  27. Troy on October 5th, 2004 4:24 pm

    The 01 DBacks also had Luis Gonzalez, who was a bonafide star that year. Finley ain’t bad either. I’d say that team was definitely built better for the post-season than this year’s Angels.

  28. IgnatiusReilly on October 5th, 2004 5:43 pm

    Yes…but Santana…SANTANA! I’m sure you’ve all looked at his post All-Star Game numbers. Ludicrous. If the Twins win tonight, I say they take the series over New York. If NY manages to eek out a win tonight, the Twins are doomed.

  29. Deanna on October 5th, 2004 5:52 pm

    I’m inclined to agree with Dave’s picks, but for a completely random reason:

    The 3-4’s in each lineup.

    Twins vs. Yankees, you’ve got Hunter and Morneau vs. Sheffield/Matsui or Sheffield/Williams or whoever, I’d still say the Yankees are stronger in their 3/4 combo no matter who they put there.

    St. Louis vs. Dodgers? Pujols/Rolen vs. Finley/Beltre? Even if Rolen’s having a career year and has slumped since going on the DL I’d still take Pujols over Beltre. Not to mention Edmonds following them.

    Atlanta vs. Houston… yeah, I gotta admit I haven’t really paid attention to the Braves this year so I can’t really comment on their 3/4, but the B-squad of Biggio-Beltran-Bagwell-Berkman looks good to me.

    And then Anaheim and Boston.

    As far as I can tell, Boston has the best 3-4 in baseball this year. You’ve got Manny Ramirez batting right-handed and third, and David Ortiz batting left-handed and fourth. As the announcer on TV kept delighting to report, they’re both .300 hitters, with 40+ home runs, 120+ RBI’s, first teammates since Gehrig and Ruth to do so… sure, they both also strike out a decent amount, but still, that’s a great run-producing combo right there. Manny seems to hit equally well against left and right handed pitchers; Ortiz’s split (.250 vs L, .326 vs R) is a little worse, but still. I’ll take ’em over any other.

    Anaheim’s got Vladmir Guerrero in the 3, and either Garrett Anderson or Troy Glaus in the 4. I’d say that’s a pretty damn good pair, though Aaron’s comment on Troy Glaus may hold true. I wouldn’t say they’re as good as the Boston duo, but I’d say they’re stronger than a lot of the other ones out in this series. Shame they’re going to be eliminated by Boston, though.

  30. Colm on October 5th, 2004 6:30 pm

    For all the talk about Santana the young fella is riding his luck in this game so far. It took a strike ’em out throw ’em out DP in the first, then Posada being thrown out at the plate in the second to keep Santana from coughing up an early lead to the Evil Empire. (Any closet Yankees fans on USS Mariner by the way?)
    The Yankees just have a much much better line up than Minnesota and Santana and Radke are good, but not Johnson and Schilling. Yanks in four.

  31. eponymous coward on October 5th, 2004 7:20 pm

    If we go by Pythagorean projections based on runs scored/allowed, both the Yankees and the Twins project to 89 wins.

    That says to me they seriously got lucky (+12 on your projections is not terribly common) and their quality isn’t as good as a 101 win season makes them seem. They may be in serious trouble next year unless George and Brian do very, very well on their FA/trade pickups. You have to figure Giambi has quite possibly jumped the shark, Brown’s no guarantee to stay in a rotation all year, Vazquez may be a player who’s not going to succeed in the klieg lights, Williams is at an age where he’s going into rapid real decline, and so on. Next year may be the year where the Mighty Yankees can be had.

  32. austinspace on October 5th, 2004 7:25 pm

    If only the announcers could be eliminated with their teams. Did you hear what McCarver said about Ichiro’s record? He dismissed it by saying something like “…although, Ichiro played in eight more games than Sisler.” That surprised me, because I would have thought Ichiro played in many more games than Sisler. McCarver just made it statistically more relevant to me!

  33. Chris Begley on October 5th, 2004 8:14 pm

    Did anybody hear McCarver mention the moose that live up in New Westminster? And the fact that 52 degrees fahrenheit is a sweltering summer night for us here inthe frozen north of Vancouver? Uhhh.. way to go Tim!

  34. Jeff in Fremont on October 5th, 2004 9:19 pm

    Quick digression…congrats to the Seattle Storm. I know we’re not allowed to get excited about women’s basketball, but anyone else watch that game tonight? Those gals plays some awesome f’n b-ball. That and I’ve got a crush on Lauren Jackson. Mmm-hmm.

  35. David at PLU on October 5th, 2004 9:37 pm

    I watched the Storm game, hopefully they can win it all. My personal crush is on Sue Bird, haha.

  36. Evan on October 5th, 2004 9:38 pm

    Tim McCarver was talking about Vancouver? What?

  37. shigelojoe on October 5th, 2004 9:55 pm

    I’m more of a Lauren Jackson guy myself. ;D

  38. stan on October 5th, 2004 10:20 pm

    I will be surprised if the Angels are a factor in the post season. In September I was not very impressed with any American League West team. Hudson, Mulder and Zito looked like the back end of a mediocre starting rotation and the Angels at least when they played the Mariners looked like a team with no spark. Next year unless the Oakland big three can get untracked the AL West may be a very weak division.

  39. Josh B on October 6th, 2004 3:40 am

    I’m glad the comments haven’t turned into a insult-fest. I would have thought something like this would have brought out the worst in everyone, but I guess it might be since we’re all pretty much just Mariners fans and don’t have as strong feelings as a playoff town would.

  40. Red Sox Hater on October 6th, 2004 7:31 am

    Since you mentioned in Josh, here goes. I am rooting for anybody except the Red Sox. As much as I dislike the Yankees at least they actually win from time to time giving their fans a reason to be arrogant jerks. As for Red Sox fans, they have no excuse, their team has never won anything but they continue to think that their team is god’s gift to baseball. Then to top it off they have the gall to whine and complain when the Yankees are spending so much money yet they pretty much do the same thing on just a slightly smaller scale. And lastly, Pedro is a punk, who could root for this guy, I love it that the Yankees own him. Down with the Red Sox!!!!!!!!!

  41. hans on October 6th, 2004 9:43 am

    Well IgnatiusReilly, it is rather nice to hear from you. Do you plan to profit from selling Paradise products at the playoffs this year? You might have trouble pushing that hot dog cart up and down the stadium stairs.

  42. isaac on October 6th, 2004 10:38 am

    anyone predicting a Red Sox Astros series is nuts…

    on paper, you gotta love the astros and the way they are playing, but lets face it, the red sox reaching the series and the astros winning a playoff series in the same year? ill believe it when i see it.

  43. IgnatiusReilly on October 6th, 2004 12:49 pm

    Sell? When did I ever actually sell them?

  44. Jim Thomsen on October 6th, 2004 1:34 pm

    Uh-oh … I think Ignatius’ pyloric valve is sealing up on him again.

  45. Go Cardinals on October 6th, 2004 9:25 pm
    Game 1
    I have a friend who works without internet access and is the kind of Dodgers fan who would kill himself in a heartbeat if Eric Gagne told him to do it in a dream. So I got to call him…