UPI POY 2008 - Sports

Fire Brand has been very aggressive these past few days at completely breaking down the Angels from Boston’s perspective. We’ve brought to you a look at the hitters, pitchers, the running game, Angels’ official postseason roster, other breakdowns and of course… predictions.

Let’s take a (short) break and look at the other series which begins tonight.

Minnesota Twins v. New York Yankees

The Twins eked out a victory Tuesday night, getting the right to be swept in New York. Excuse me for being so pessimistic, but I can’t see the Twins pulling out even one win. It has nothing to do with the fact the Minnesota just played while the Yankees got rested — actually, I think the Twins hold the advantage there. After all, they’re playing on momentum and adrenaline while the Yankees have been in a country club for a couple months now. It has everything to do with the fact New York’s offense is light-years better. It has everything to do with the fact that the Yankees possess the deepest rotation of the series as well as Fruitbat at the back.

One wrinkle: Jorge Posada’s bat will be out of the lineup so A.J. Burnett can pitch to Jose Molina. It’s likely not a significant deal in the ALDS, but in the ALCS and World Series, this may become more of a liability. Having Molina catch Burnett, for example, is like having Varitek catch Dice-K. (Which, by the way, hasn’t been completely ruled out.)

Colorado Rockies v. Philadelphia Phillies

Can Rocktober make another run? I’m guessing no. The reigning World Series champions may have their problems in the bullpen, but their rotation and offense are sterling. Plus, the bullpen will have J.A. Happ — the likely NL Rookie of the Year — added to it. Will it be enough to get into the World Series? Maybe not. Enough to get into the NLCS? Yes.

On the Rockies’ side, they have Aaron Cook, Jason Marquis, Ubaldo Jiminez pitching with a hobbled Jorge De La Rosa (former Sox, by the way). While Jiminez is becoming one of the best pitchers in the game, at the moment it’s not an imposing rotation. Neither is their offense — it’s good enough to win games, but is it transcendent like New York, Boston or Philly? No, it’s not. The Rockies’ momentum may be enough to steal a few wins, but I’m feeling Philly Phever in 5.

Los Angeles Dodgers v. St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals stumbled down the stretch going 2-8. However, the bright lights of October are a different story. The Dodgers certainly have their issues too, although Manny looks to be coming out of his slump. The rotation is a mess, while the Cardinals have two Cy Young contenders to toss at Los Angeles. Quite imposing.

The Dodgers aren’t without their plusses. While the Cardinals have Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday anchoring their lineup, I really like Manny, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in their lineup. I think the Dodgers possess the overall, more dangerous lineup. Their Game One starter, Randy Wolf, may not have the cachet that most Game One starters do, but he’s had a heck of a year. It’s after Wolf where things start getting dicey. I’ll give L.A. a win, but that’s it.

The Championship Series.

Okay, so I have the Cardinals and Phillies doing battle in the NL, with Boston and New York in the AL. Let’s tackle the less important series (from our eyes, obviously) first.

The two teams are pretty well matched up. I give St. Louis the advantage over pitching, but Philadelphia has the better offense. All told, I view them as a pretty evenly matched team. In October, though, pitching becomes such a force that it’s hard to ignore St. Louis’ obvious advantage here.

I’m giving St. Louis their third NL pennant in six years, defeating Philly in six. It’s quite a nice run by a club that has largely flown under the radar.

Okay, Boston and New York. I’ll save the true analysis for when the series actually comes about, but I view these teams as the AL counterparts of the Cardinals and Phillies. The Yankees have the offense and solid rotation the Phillies have, but a soft spot in relef — except for Mariano Rivera, obviously. Boston can match up with the rotation and has the vastly superior bullpen. Their offense is ranked second in the league according to OPS (behind New York) so it’s not like Boston can’t swing it.

I really think that either team has a 50/50 chance to win it, so for now I’ll give the edge to Boston in 7 because… I’m a Sox fan. Hello? Of course, things can change after the ALDS — it will be interesting to see how well each team performs. (Watch, now neither will make the ALCS.)

The Series of the World

Okay, we’ve made it this far and I’m seeing a rematch of the 2004 World Series. This time, however, St. Louis has come to play. Their front three is just as good — maybe better — than the Sox’s front three, although — broken record time — Boston’s bullpen is better. I also give the edge to Boston on offense as St. Louis can be pitched to, and one of their key offensive pieces (Holliday) struggled in the junior circuit.

So let’s go Boston in 7.

Leave a comment, guys, and feel free to leave your own prediction or rail on me for being a homer.