Baseball picksApril 1, 2005

2005 MLB Baseball Playoffs Preview

Once again, very little changes this postseason as the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Astros, Cardinals, and Braves are back for little more October drama. The newbies, kind of, are the White Sox and Padres, though no one is surprised that these teams are here. The Padres are the worst in the bunch and face an enormous task against St. Louis in the first round. Payrolls and the ability to spend still dominate the sport which aids these clubs immensely.

There are some interesting match-ups as we head into the first round. The Angels won the season series over the Yankees and have the superior pitching here as well.  They’ll need Vlad to have a monster postseason to get by the Yanks, but we think he does it.  The most intriguing first round match-up is the Astros and Braves, and it should be a great series. We do not expect the Red Sox and Yankees to meet in the ALCS, as both of these teams have some serious chinks in their collective armour.

Best Starters
This one has to go to the Astros who boast the Rocket man, Oswalt, and Pettite, which is lethal in a five game series.  The problem with the Astros has been their inability to produce runs when it matters, while Atlanta is one of the most clutch teams in this playoff, and has many seasoned veterans who know how to win in the postseason. The Yankees seem to have fortified their rotation heading into the postseason, and the addition of Chacon has certainly helped and will prove huge should they get by the Angels. The Cards are somewhat Jeckyll and Hyde right now…see Matt Morris.

Best Bullpen
Hard to say here as they are all pretty formidable, that is why they have reached this juncture. The Yankees and Sox may have the shakiest pens of the bunch which will come into play, but it looks like the Angels, Astros, and Braves with the resurgence of Farnsworth are all pretty tough. The Cardinals continue to have a pretty solid staff all around but are vulnerable in spots.

Best Lineup
The Yankees and Red Sox are tied here, with a slight edge going to the Yankees. The problem with these line-ups is that they are too dependent on the long ball, and lineups that can produce runs often thrive the most this team of year. That being said, who can argue with AROD, Jeter, Giambi, and crew? On the other hand, you cannot dis Ortiz, Damon, Manny and Varitek. The Cardinals are the most potent in the NL but the Braves are not that far behind in terms of production 1-8.

Best Defense
Well, you have to like the Red Sox here with Renteria, Varitek, and Damon up the middle. We’ll, however, go with the Braves, who boast the best defensive center fielder in the game and a stellar duo up the middle as well with Furcal and Giles.  Chipper is very good at third, while LaRoche, Francoeur, and Langerhans have all been above average as well.

Outlook
Very hard to predict the outcome of the MLB playoffs at this juncture as a lot of luck comes into play in baseball. Take this for what it's worth but we think that in the AL, the Angels will get by the Yankees and then beat the Red Sox to advance to the Series. In the NL, we like St. Louis to beat Atlanta in seven and go on to win the 2005 World Series.

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