Alright, settle in. This is going to be a long one…
*settles in to write a 2,500 word column that has been fearlessly planned in my mind*
*spends an hour picking out a title, finally settling on a Talking Heads reference for no reason other than it was the most exciting choice on my “writing in Starbucks” playlist*
*becomes fully satisfied and impressed with self*
*realizes work is in an hour*
*deletes 2,000 words of column from mind*
There’ll be a wrap-up of the previous series (a.k.a. a Requiem Mass for Oakland, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh) sometime tomorrow, because I want to do justice for those teams. However, I want to get my picks in before the NLCS begins tonight with the Dodgers visiting the Redbirds of St. Louis. Since most of you are hedging your bets based upon my astute analysis (I have such vivid dreams of this column’s glories), it only feels fair to let you know what I think is going to happen. Granted, I do have work in about an hour, and am struggling to find my words while sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Chicago, but you all still deserve the coverage that I know (I just know) you’re asking for.
Quite frankly, you’re lucky I didn’t turn this over to my associate, A.C.B., to crank out. But don’t worry. We’re doing a combined World Series preview.
So, here goes:
NLCS: Cardinals vs. Dodgers
Old school baseball teams. One of the more entertaining teams in the league this year versus a consistent postseason regular hated equally by all other NL Central teams. (Seriously, NOBODY in the the Central is more hated than the Cardinals. Reds fans don’t truly care about the Brewers, just look at the Cubs as little brothers, have endearing sympathy for Pirates fans and were honestly glad that they made the full postseason this year, and are already forgetting the Astros. But the Cardinals? HATE. The same, I imagine/have been told, is true for any of the other three Central teams. Let’s face it: everyone hates the Cardinals. And the Cardinals are okay with it because they keep winning.)
The big question is can the Cardinals beat Kershaw/Greinke in one or two of the four games they’ll be starting. If they do, they win the series. If they don’t, they lose, because you know that 1-2 punch of LA is going to start at least four games. Possibly five if Kershaw decides to try and go full-Koufax, just like Ben Stiller tries to go full-retard in Tropic Thunder. (This just in: that’s the least politically correct statement I’ve ever published here.) LA’s offense should be able to muster more than the Pirates did against the St. Louis pitching staff (that one 7-1 game aside), while the Red Birds offense should hold steady. Thus, the question is the Dodgers pitching.
Much as I want the Cardinals to lose…I can’t envision Kershaw and Greinke holding serve for four games. Thus, Cardinals in 7 games.
ALCS: Red Sox vs. Tigers
Meanwhile, the question of Miguel Cabrera’s power slump looks as though it rendered itself irrelevant during last night’s game. Then again, I’m fairly certain that I could have hit that Sonny Gray pitch out of the ballpark. (Also, it’s the A’s, so you just knew something was going to go wrong.) Grantland’s About Last Night column has been running a nightly feature where Cabrera’s missing power is part of an MLB-version of Space Jam, with Mike Trout playing baseball with Bugs Bunny against the evil aliens from Moron Mountain; one of the sluggers from whom they had stolen their powers was Cabrera. (Which makes me wonder: who were the others they stole talent from? Jeter? Prince Fielder? A-Rod? Ha, that made me laugh. Ignore A-Rod.) What’s more important is that the series seemed to mark the return of Scary Good Justin Verlander. If he can continue to pitch like that, with Scherzer doing his Cy Young-caliber thing, then the Red Sox will be pressed to scrap out wins. On a related note, the Red Sox pitching looked relatively vulnerable against the Rays, winning due to overpowering offense. The Tigers starters are better than the Rays starters were. Tigers in 6 games.
Summary: As much as I want to see Kershaw/Verlander pitching duels in the World Series, it looks like it’ll be Cardinals/Tigers fighting for supremacy. Happy October, everybody.
Current Prediction Record: 4-3 (Damn you, Pirates!)