Friday, October 31, 2008

Men's Preseason Rankings 6-10

(6) Pittsburgh is probably a little overrated, but in another case of weak scheduling, this wont' be evident until Big East play starts. Levance Fields is already battling injury, which isn't a good sign for things to come. Hosting Siena and visiting Florida State will be ample tests before conference play starts. The Panthers have to play UConn twice, but only run into Villanova, Louisville, Notre Dame, Marquette, and Georgetown once in the regular season. I hate the Big East. But not as much as the Big Ten.

(7) Michigan State is the only Big Ten school I ever tend to respect. Tom Izzo is a great coach, and he knows it's better to prepare your team with difficult tasks than it is to just schedule Alcorn State and IPFW. A trip to Maryland for the third game of the season, UNC comes in for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, at Texas, and hosting Kansas. The Spartans will have some blemishes come March, but it will be a tested squad and a very dangerous 3 or 4 seed in the tournament.

(8) Texas is another team probably ranked too high, but the Longhorns give themselves plenty of opportunities to prove a blogger wrong. UCLA, Villanova, and Michigan State all come into town, and a visit to Wisconsin will round out Texas' schedule, all before Christmas. One of those Big Ten games might actually be played at Madison Square Garden. The Big XII only has a few teams in the top 25 for now, but Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State always come to play. Texas will win the Big XII this year.

(9) Notre Dame is the fourth Big East team in the top 10. Give me a break. A February beatdown at UCLA is on tap for the Fighting Irish. Aside from that, I guess we're just going to have to count on the Big East teams to sort out their problems head-to-head, because UCLA and Gonzaga are the only TWO ranked non-conference opponents for the FOUR Big East teams in the top 10. Pansies.

(10) Purdue might give me reason to actually give more respect to the Big Ten than the Big East this season. We already know the Boilermakers drew Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but they also host Davidson in mid-December. It takes guts to invite them in, because honestly, Davidson is probably going to win that game. I'd tell you why, but Davidson is #20. Wait a couple days!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preseason Men's Rankings

The first set of rankings came out for men's college basketball, and not only did mid-majors get a lot of love, but there are some fantastic regular season games between the top mid-majors and some of the elite teams in the country. Should be a great year for college basketball. Here's a quick look at the top five teams' potential based on scheduling.

Teams 6-10 coming tomorrow.

(1)North Carolina
is the unanimous number one. No arguments over here, seeing as how the Tar Heels return all five starters, including that Hansbrough guy. A weak non-conference schedule should keep them in the top ten all year, as they should be. The Big 10/ACC challenge is looking to be one of the best ones since its inception. UNC visits Michigan State in its leg of the event. The ACC is aways very competitive, so expect a few losses here and there, but if the Heels stay healthy, that number should be below five, and a number one seed in the NCAA Tourney is imminent.

UConn also has a very weak non-conference schedule, but the parity in the Big East should at list send shivers up the Huskies' spines. A December trip to Spokane will also be a great indication of things to come.

Louisville plays NOBODY. The annual visit to Kentucky is in there, but props to Pitino for taking the easy road to March. I know who I'm not rooting for. Send up a prayer for Lamar or Morehead State to pull a Dayton---a team Louisville has lost to two years in a row, and surprise, surprise! Guess who isn't on the schedule this year??

(4) UCLA has a couple of tough tests, visiting Texas in early December, and then a more telling game in February when it hosts Notre Dame. Not much in the Pac-10 this season. I don't buy into Arizona State or USC. Easy season for the Bruins, so it's good to have the two top 10 non-conference opponents on the schedule.

(5) Duke must have brought in one hell of a recruiting class to earn that kind of ranking. At Purdue for the Big Ten/ACC challenge, a mid-December trip to Xavier that cannot be overlooked, and then hosting Davidson in January will be a great game. The Blue Devils' final game of the season is AT Carolina, with seeding, and perhaps the conference on the line. I think Duke fans can empathize when I ask WHY HASN'T GREG PAULUS GRADUATED YET?!?!?!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sucks to be a baseball fan

Maybe next year a good team will actually win.

My only NBA blog of the season

I think I've finally got things figured out! The key is to WAIT A DAY.

I always try to make my predictions before the season starts. I just need to wait until after the first game of the season...then the answers are clear!

For example, had I waited until after opening day of the baseball season, I would have seen the error in my ways. I clearly would have known that the Mets would collapse in September and the Phillies would be World Series champs.

NFL? I would have known Tom Brady would be hurt, the Dallas Cowboys would be flawed, and Vince Y---err...Kerry Collins would lead the Titans to a 19-0 season.

And of course, in college football, I would have known that Virginia Tech can't move the ball at all on offense, and their defense isn't stellar enough to compete with any of the top tier teams outside of the ACC---let alone the sad excuses for top teams within the conference.

So here we are, after day one of the NBA's season, and boy am I grateful that I waited to blog. Had I done my predictions yesterday or the day before, I probably would have picked the Trail Blazers to win it all, led by Most Valuable Player Greg Oden.

One game into the season, I've now got the inside scoop. I'll just list my top two teams in each division. Here we go:

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division

1)Boston Celtics
2) Toronto Raptors
--Boston has an easy ride for the most part. The only teams that have actually improved in the east aren't in their division. The 76ers can make a run at the playoffs, but the Knicks and Nets are going to be playing like they've overdosed on sleeping pills.

Central Division

1)Cleveland Cavaliers
2) Detroit Pistons
--The Pistons have gotten older, and LeBron has a little extra help. This looks like the only division in the Conference where three teams are a lock for the playoffs. Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago. Indiana has an outside shot.

Southeast Division
1) Orlando Magic
2) Washington Wizards
--Orlando basically wins by default. Washington should sneak into the playoffs with a 7 or 8 seed. They're probably better off without Agent Zero, but we love ole' Gil anyway. Charlotte can compete if they stay healthy.

Western Conference

Northwest Division
1) Utah Jazz
2) Denver Nuggets
--This may have looked a little different if I didn't watch the Lakers/Blazers game last night. But I did. Only two playoff teams in the northwest.

Pacific Division
1) Los Angeles Lakers
2) Phoenix Suns
--The Lakers were only a complete team for half the season last year. A full year of health is a return to dominance. The Lakers should run away with this division.

Southwest Division
1) Dallas Mavericks
2) Houston Rockets
3) San Antonio Spurs
4) New Orleans Hornets
--I list four teams here because the Grizzlies are the odd team out. Four teams make the playoffs out of the southwest again, and all four of the teams have over 50 wins AGAIN. Gotta love Mark Cuban and this competitive division.

Lakers over Cavaliers

LeBron and the boys may have lost in Boston last night, but they showed a little extra flair that was lacking last season. They'll take out the Celts in the playoffs in seven this year. The Spurs can make some noise in the playoffs, but they aren't getting any younger. Indianapolis Colts syndrome perhaps. I still like the Lakers to come out of the west. Don't expect any more NBA blogs this season. I've got Marist women's hoops to concentrate on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The State of the Sports World

It seems as though each major sport is in a whole lot of trouble, and the economy hasn't even taken its full toll on professional sports yet.

Major League Baseball - Phillies versus the Rays? Are you serious? The Royals facing the Pirates would make a better storyline than this, ESPECIALLY with the Phillies winning game one. Best case scenario: Joe the Manager pulls out all the stops, continuing to turn water into wine, and the Rays finish a miracle season. Great story for baseball.
Worst case scenario: Joe the Pitcher ends up being a more beneficial midseason transaction than the Dodgers trading for Manny or the Brew crew trading for C.C.--Philadelphia wins the title, and the most arrogant team with the most arrogant fans (that's right...sorry Yankee and Boston fans, there are bigger jackasses just a few hours away. I only say this because they don't have any grounds to gloat, yet still somehow savor the smell of their own brand anyway) gain bragging rights for a whole year. Let's go Rays.

National Football League - Further proof that everything I touch turns into anything but gold. Since I discovered my deep down amorous feelings for Tom Brady, how has his life been? The 18-0 Patriots lost the Super Bowl, he gets injured in the first quarter of the first game of the 2008-2009 campaign, out for the season, and now surgery complications have raised even more questions for the NFL's poster boy. It's a shame what's happening there. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. No Joe the Savior in this league. Peyton Manning is struggling, Tony Romo's wittle finguh has him out until mid-November at least, and Joe the Ravens' quarterback sure as hell isn't going to give fans what they need in a star. The league's best team has a racist alcoholic backup quarterback starting for the disgruntled suicidal former college star. We're a long way from the 2006 AFC Championship game.
Best Case Scenario: Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens bust out some old school end zone dances, Matt Ryan and Brady Quinn emerge as stars, and Julius Jones and Larry Johnson start giving me some fantasy production. A Jets/Packers championship game wouldn't hurt the league, either, as far fetched as it sounds.
Worst Case Scenario: Kerry Collins and Gus Frerotte run 1 & 2 in the MVP voting. A dozen more players miss time due to staph infections. Al Davis looks like a genius for firing Lane Kiffin, as the Raiders win the Super Bowl. Hey, at least JaMarcus Russell is taking the snaps.

National Basketball Association: Allan Houston needs to stop trying to come back. It's getting kind of sad. Michael Jordan pulled it off, Roger Clemens pulled it off, hell, Doug Flutie pulled it off...but Houston just can't pull it off.
Best Case Scenario: LeBron, Kobe, Shaq, or Greg Oden win a title. A repeat with the Boston Three Party wouldn't be TOO bad.
Worst Case Scenario: LeBron or Kobe win a title and decide they've finished their business in the United it's time to make some REAL green. The NBA loses one of its biggest stars to some crappy European league that will pay them tens of millions of dollars AND allow them to average 70 points per game. Or seven points per game--what do they care? The $$ is guaranteed.

National Hockey League: Huh?
Best Case Scenario: People miraculously start to care. Sid the Kid is the only one who can make this happen.
Worst Case (and most likely) Scenario: Things stay as they are. Who even runs the NHL? How do they still have a job?

College sports need to save the professional sports right now. I absolutely HATE HATE HATE to even suggest this, but Joe the College Football Coach winning a National Title at age 82 would be a great story for sports. First, the Nittany Lions need to get through Ohio State. THEN the crappy defensive Big Ten style of play needs to find a way to beat a high powered offensive AND defensive showcase put on by an SEC, Big XII, or Pac-10 school.

College basketball on the Men's side is fine. I would just like to see Wisconsin win less than ten games this year. On the Women's side, Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma either need to continue their feud to make things interesting, or they need to work together to salvage the sport. Oh yeah, and Marist making a Final Four run and winning the National Title would be good, too. That's right, it's almost time for Marist Women's Basketball blogs again!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bedlam in St. Pete!

Last night, I did the unthinkable. I rooted for the Tampa Bay Rays. All signs pointed to another Red Sox victory last night and another page in the their storied legacy. I couldn't possibly be rooting for the Rays. After I skewered the Drew Carey glasses wearing manager in a live blog last week, I didn't expect to be rooting for the Rays in Game Seven. But there I was, blaring the theme song to the "Price is Right" after JD Drew struck out in the 8th inning. Good on the Tampa Bay Rays for winning in 7. On to the World Series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chris Crocker is in the house!


Cowboys' cornerback Adam Jones' indefinite suspension, four games minimum, is way too excessive. I understand he had little or no room to screw up with his reinstatement agreement, but if nobody was arrested or injured in the most recent incident, I don't see why this particular off-field infraction merits anything more than a fine or maybe a one-game suspension.

The NFL brass just needs a scapegoat to take a dump on, and since Mike Vick is in prison, Jones is their guy. There was too much backlash when they tried going after T.O. and Chad Johnson for excessive celebrations, so they seem to be picking on Jones. There is an inconsistency in punishment for behavioral issues in the league...just look at the Bengals' roster...or how about Larry Johnson? I bet he doesn't get a four-game suspension, even if he's found guilty in December. For fantasy purposes, I hope he's not found guilty.

Speaking of fantasy purposes, why the hell did the Cowboys trade for Roy the wide receiver Williams? Tony Romo is out for a month, so Brad Johnson is going to be handing the ball off to Marion Barber A LOT for the next four weeks. Even when Romo comes back, this really kills the fantasy value of Jason Witten, T.O., and Patrick Crayton.

Maybe I'm just pissed because I have two of those three on my fantasy team (and Miles Austin). And my fantasy team is already collapsing around me, I can't have T.O. and Witten sharing touches with another pro-bowl wide receiver! I guess it's good that I own Calvin Johnson, too, so he'll be the main squeeze in Detroit now.

Too bad the Lions suck. Go Bills.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ALCS Game 1...It's A Live Blog!

8:20: Game One of RaySox. Thought a live blog would be appropriate. Get up, Tampa fans! Make some noise! Okay, make a little noise? I think the Rays to Sox fan ratio has got to be 2 to 1 tops. That could definitely be an issue in this series.

8:24: I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I love that Bon Jovi song they play. There is zero sarcasm in there at all, it will never get old. Thank God we don't have to hear "Our Country" anymore.

8:26: Oh, I missed you HR. No way he should have been fired by the Worldwide Leader. What's a woman doing working at ESPN anyway? It's good to see that he's still alive though and not eaten by John Kruk.

8:31: Nobody fake smiles at Buck Martinez and nods like Chip Carey. He really is an first ballot Hall of Famer for manufactured excitement.

8:33: Everyone that had pink or orange in the Craig Sager's jacket pool is cursing right now. Purple it is.

8:34: That's why IIIIIIIIIIIII love this town!

8:36: Love the end of that Mastercard commercial where the kids in Japan are playing baseball in the street and break a window. Once they hear the shattered glass, everyone books it out of there like there aren't 30 witnesses on the sidewalk.

8:38: I like how the manager always throws in that his players are tremendous competitors. I'd love to see an interview where a manager gives a scouting report, but then throws in "Yeah, he really backs down at the big spots."

8:40: That's a 4 pitch K to start off the game. Way to make him work, Jacoby. Pedroia's one of those guys that I'm sure I'd love if he was on my team, but I can't stand him. Same with Youk.

8:43: Yes, James Shields. Let's walk a guy that went 1-17 in the ALDS. This is the second year in a row that Ortiz has been a shadow of himself in the playoffs. Big Papi getting old?

8:45: Lob wedge to center field. 2 gone for Beardy.

8:46: I think James Shields is trying to break the record for most bounced pitches in one inning. Joba's BFF just doubled down the line. Lucky break for the Rays that that ball bounced into the stands.

8:50: JD Drew killing rallies? That's never happened. Why is Frank TV still advertising?

8:52: Is it possible that Brooke Shields gets hotter as she gets older?

8:55: Stop the presses. DiceK walked someone. BTW, it takes a big man to go by BJ as an adult. A big man or a perverted mind.

8:58: Buck Martinez is trying to describe the Jason Giambi dilemma. Why doesn't someone bunt the ball down the line when there's a huge shift? Maybe because Carlos Pena hasn't bunted since tee-ball.

9:00: The league might be hitting .211 against Dice but the on base percentage has to be close to .400.

9:03: Carl Crawford's walk-up music is M.I.A. I'm now officially rooting for Carl Crawford. My walk-up song would have to be Rick Astley. That way I can Rick Roll 50,000 plus on a nightly basis.

9:07: Dice-K is absolute garbage. If the Rays don't score here, they will not win this series.

9:08: The Rays will not win this series. Looks like Tampa is playing Yankee baseball. I think Hank is going to throw a lot of money at Cliff Floyd so he can christen the new ballpark by grounding out to second with the bases loaded.

9:10: So far the tally is "I Love This Town" 2, Frank Caliendo 2. Come on, Jon. Plus, that Direct-TV Commercial with Jimmy Kimmel has gotten very old. Let's give Eli credit for a 10 yard pass to Plax with Plax getting 42 YAC. No, I'm not bitter.

9:13: You gotta give it up for the Red Sox really making Shields work in the second inning. What's it been, 2 outs, 4 pitches?

9:15: Shields Ks the world's second most famous Jed. In other news, I hear Dice-K walked 2 more guys in between innings.

9:17: I'm confused. There are 3 Octobers, correct?

9:23: OK, perhaps I was a bit hasty in calling Dice-K "garbage". Great start by striking out Dave Navarro and Gabe Gross.

9:25: Varitek didn't catch that because he was thinking about his next at-bat. Pop-out to Youk dog.

9:29: When Ron Darling does games with Chip Carey and Buck Martinez, he really needs to go by Junior or Ace.

9:32: Another easy inning by "Big Game" James. This could be a pitcher's duel yet!

9:35: I hate repeating commercials. If I have to see that Miller High Life commercial again, I'm going to flip.

9:38: I think McCleland makes himself a sandwich before calling the pitches. My god.

9:42: Buck just said David OR-tiz. LON-goria strikes out again. OR-tiz to lead off next inning.

9:44: Caliendo takes the lead. His Trump is awful, BTW. I am looking forward to the Office coming back on TBS. Good ep last night, too.

9:48: JD Drew. Killing rallies since 98.

9:50: Another commercial that I can't get enough of: the Friday Night Lights one with the song "Devil Town". If you haven't seen FNL, you need to Hulu that shit. Best show on TV.

9:55: Another 3 up 3 down for Dice. And guess what? He's pitching a no-hitter through 4. YOU HEAR THAT, DICE K? YOU HAVE A NO-HITTER!! YOU HAVE A NO-HITTER!!

9:57: Brian Urlacher smiling is a strange sight. Kind of scares me a little bit.

10:01: Second and third and no out for Big Game Jimmy. Let's see if he can dance out of this one. Nope. Sac Fly, 1-0 Sox.

10:04: I think Sox fans are hoping that someone can DH for Varitek.

10:07: Inning over. Good job by Jimmy getting out of that with minimal damages.

10:15: Oh my god. Another 1-2-3 inning? Did the Rays leave their bats at home. HEY DICE! NO-NO! NO-NO!

10:18: Thanks for the close-up of Youk's beard. That's just what I want in HD.

10:20: Pena with the scoop! Put a star next to that one. OR-tiz. OR-tiz.

10:21: Rays fans finally awake. OR-tiz with the K. It would be so awesome if there was a backwards K button on the keyboard.

10:23: I love the way Youk Dog plays, but he is a baby. WAH! Pop out. SWITCH!

10:26: Hey, remember when I called Dice-K garbage? Good times. One out in the sixth. STILL A NO-HITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:29: Great play by Pedroia on the bullet by Pena. 2 out.

10:31: Ugh. Clearly this trying to jinx Dice thing isn't working. No-no through 6.

10:34: Nothing says clutch like a single to lead off an inning, JD Drew.

10:36: Single, single to lead off the inning. Shields is tiring out there. Great catch by Aki for the first out in shallow center.

10:39: After this game, I think the Rays fans are going to their SNL convention with all those cowbells. I've got a fever...

10:39: Two straight balls called by Mclelland draws ire by the Ray fans. But who knows, maybe he'll call the strike in ten minutes. Big K for Shields.

10:42: Varitek strikes again. I hear he calls a good game though.

10:44: Archie. You're allowed to open your eyes.

10:45: I think I know why we haven't heard Bon Jovi that much this game. Because, honestly, nobody loves the town of St. Pete.

10:47: Carl Crawford finally realizes that Dice-K is not an ace. Let's go, Rays.

10:49: Now we're playing Rays baseball! First and third after Cliff Floyd (who always needs to be referred to as "the veteran" or "veteran Cliff Floyd") singles to center. The former Mr. Carmen Electra up.

10:57: Actually, now we're playing Rays baseball. Pop out and a K. It all comes down to Jason Bartlett.

10:59: What an awful 1-2 punch. The Rays end their inning and I have to sit through another Frank Caliendo terrible impression. Keep doing Barkley man, enough with this Pacino shit.

11:03: All heart performance by Shields tonight. And they're going to lost this god damn game 1-0.

11:04: Seriously TBS. Stop showing me that beard in HD. Great performance, Shields.

11:06: Wow, Cal was named the AL MVP of the World Series? Nicely said, Chipper.

11:10: Big matchup here with Howell v Papi.

11:10: Advantage ORtiz. The old base on balls. 2 on 1 out for Beardy.

11:14: The Rays bullpen catcher there needs to take one for the team and catch that pop out. Maybe we have a Jeff Maier situation.

11:15: Way to be, Crawford. What a garbage double for Beardy.

11:17: Thank you, Holiday Inn commercial. You make me happy when I'm blue.

11:19: I really hope someone pulls an Orlando Cabrera and kicks dirt at Balfour. A brawl will make this game interesting.

11:20: Wow. Looks like JD Drew reminded Balfour a bit too much of Cabrera.

11:22: The Sox need to stop crying. Balfour wasn't trying to hit him.

11:25: Great job by Balfour getting out of that jam. How about you do something now, Rays offense?

11:27: Geico has ruined Gekkos with cockney accents for me. NO JIMMY KIMMEL! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS AGAIN!

11:27: Hey, who's Kelly Pavlik fighting? You'd think they'd advertise about it during a playoff game.

11:30: Why oh why is Dice still in this game? Francona has a death wish.

11:31: Single and a wild pitch? Great managerial move, Tito.

11:33: 2 batters too late, Francona. Out goes Dice.

11:35: That's why I......LOVE THIS TOWN!

11:38: Shows how much you know saying that there's no way Pena has the green light on a 3-0 pitch, Buck Martinez. I think you underestimate how mediocre of a manager Joe Maddon is. That's why you don't have a job, my friend.

11:40: Actual texted response from my brother in law (huge Sox fan) in re: why Dice came out for the eighth. "b/c he had pitched 108 pitches, had come off an emotional 7th and sat for a wicked long time...wait did you argue for or against?"

11:42: The long lost brother of acting brothers Christopher and Danny Masterson in the game to face a slumping Longoria.

11:42: Now we're playing Rays baseball. Joe Maddon should remove himself from consideration for coach of the year for mishandling that.

11:46: Since when is a walk, a double, and a sac fly to the track a manufactured run?


11:49: Wait...a .220 hitter who hasn't had a clutch hit in years is hard-nosed? In what world is Ron Darling living in? Travis, how do you put up with this guy?

11:52: In honor of the late great Rod Roddy, The Price is Right!!

11:53: 5-6-7 against Pap? Game over. Shut up Frank Caliendo!

11:58: Buck sure loves talking about the quadrants of the strike zone. 0-2 on Crawford. Sure enough, there's the K.

12:00: Veteran Cliff Floyd vs. Paps? Mismatch much? And let's end the whole midnight/Cinderella business, Chip Carey. Just fake smile and nod along with Buck Martinez.

12:02: Foul out. Great walk-up music for Navarro at least.

12:05: Ugh. I hate the Sox. And BTW, Chip Carey, they didn't make the most of their scoring situations today. The scored two runs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Of course, I make BS predictions and get two right. Meaning if I made real predictions, I would have gotten two right. Sticking with the 50% game, here are my LCS previews and predictions. For real this time.

American League Championship Series
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The home team dominated in the regular season, but as we saw with the BoSox against the Angels, the regular season doesn't really matter too much in October, does it?
Another case of experience versus youth. I'd love for the Rays to win this and go to the World Series, but it just isn't gonna happen. Red Sox in six.

National League Championship Series
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
If the Mets had made the playoffs, it would be Dodgers/Mets, and the Mets would be facing the Red Sox in a rematch of the '86 series. I guess it will have to wait until next year. I'd love for the Phillies to get swept here, because they DON'T HAVE STARTING PITCHING. I'm sick of saying it, I need it to to be proven here. Like the ALCS matchup, home teams dominated in the regular season, but who cares? L.A. is hot, Philly is not, but unfortunately the Phillies will probably pull off a few wins with their slugging and decent bullpen. Dodgers in seven.

With my math, I'll get one of these right. I hope its the Dodgers, because I want Philly to lose and Tampa Bay to win. But let's pretend I'll get both right.

World Series---Dodgers featuring Joe Torre, Manny Ramirez, and NomAHHHH versus the Red Sox?! Can't write a better script. Except maybe the Cubs winning for the first time in 100 years. Or the Mets actually making the playoffs.

Dodgers in five!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Power Rankings

1) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
-The most complete team. They have starting pitching, a great offense, speed, defense, and a bullpen.
2) Tampa Bay Rays
-Five great starting pitchers, youth, and plenty of energy. They also have the motivation of being a terrible team for their first 10 years of existence. With that rotation, they can win games by scoring 2-3 runs per game. More is always nice, but I'm just saying they CAN win games with mediocre offensive output.
3) Chicago Cubs
-They can run into problems against decent right-handed pitchers and lefties with a good changeup...but what National League team actually poses that threat? Oh yeah, and Rich Harden, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, and Jason Marquis are the best starting five in the NL.
4) Boston Red Sox
-Do injuries trump experience? Probably when you're playing the Angels in the first round. Get to the ALCS and you may have a new favorite to win it all. That new favorite still being the Rays or the Cubs.
5) Los Angeles Dodgers
-Unfortunate for them that they're playing the Cubs instead of the Phillies or Brewers in the first round.
6) Philadelphia Phillies
-Unreliable starting pitching, and I doubt they've got the fortitude to win away from home (except against the Brewers). It helps that they'll probably be visiting Wrigley in the NLCS, but the Cubs' pitching can neutralize the Phillies' bats. If they play the Dodgers in the NLCS, they're toast.
7) Chicago White Sox
-They've got a great mix of youth and experience, but they've also got two of the craziest people in baseball in their dugout. One manages the game and the other is behind the plate calling pitches for nine innings. Alexei Ramirez can't hit grand slams every game, and Jim Thome and Ken Griffey, Jr. aren't the type of players who can carry a team through the entire playoffs.
8) Milwaukee Brewers
-A piss poor excuse for a playoff team, slightly better than the Mets, apparently. They don't even have a manager. How are they supposed to win any games NOT started by C.C.?

Blogging against my will.

It's been over a week since my last entry, and three days since I was finally put out of my misery.

On all the sports talk shows yesterday, nobody even entertained the thought of a pitchers' duel in the White Sox/Twins game. Everybody expected a high-scoring affair since John Danks had never thrown on three days rest, nor could he keep the Twins at bay all season, and Chicago's offense had been pumping on all cylinders this weekend.

Long story short, there were a total of seven hits and one run scored in the game, and Chicago advanced to the divisional series.

Where am I going with this? Nobody's predictions are ever right.
With that, here are my playoff previews, alongside ass-backwards predictions which have absolutely no chance of being correct. Or do they?

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Yovani Gallardo goes up against Cole Hamels in game one. Gallardo was lights out against the Cubbies in his first start since returning from injury, but now faces a Philadelphia team with killer left-handed bats in the small excuse for a stadium the Phillies call home. Hamels hasn't been an ace lately, and the Brew-crew has a bunch of righties who can hurt him down the short left field line.
With high-powered offenses in mind, I predict the Brewers win this game 3-2 and the series, 3-1.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs
Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster will not be the stories tonight. We're going to the bullpen early and often. Pitchers better pray the wind is blowing in at Wrigley, but we all know it isn't.
Dodgers win 9-6, and take the series in five games.

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The young and upstart Jon Lester faces the dominant postseason force, John Lackey. Pitchers' duel, right? Hell no! I predict Lackey crumbles under the pressure from the high expectations the Angels have finally earned. Boston will smack him around like a ragdoll, and the rally monkey will not be able to save the Angels from Jon Lester's off-speed pitches. Boston wins, 8-1, and sweeps the series.

Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The adrenaline from playing so many consecutive games with their season on the line will roll over to the series against Tampa Bay. Experienced veterans will have their way with the inexperienced youth for the Rays. White Sox sweep.

Hey, it could happen.