Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2009 MLB Playoffs: Preview & Predictions (Red Sox vs Angels, Yankees vs Twins, Phillies vs Rockies, Cardinals vs Dodgers)

I have to write this in under 30 minutes so it's going to be somewhat half assed, but I wanted to make my predictions and have them on the record, so I will probably update this analysis throughout the day, but I'm going to put my picks up first.

American League

Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels

Offense: Red Sox (104 OPS+), Angels (104 OPS+)
Pitching: Red Sox (109 ERA+), Angels (102 ERA+)
Defense: Red Sox(-18.1 UZR), Angels (10.0 UZR)

Comments: The offenses are pretty much equal until you look at the Red Sox home/road splits: .862 OPS+ at home vs just .753 OPS+ on the road. Basically, I think this means that the Angels have to win both of their first two home games if they want to win this series. Can they do that? I'm not so sure they can because Boston always seems to have their number and find a way to beat them.

On the pitching side of things the Red Sox have a stronger bullpen for sure just for the fact that Papelbon is better than Brian Fuentes, who has been shakey for a closer this season. The Red Sox rotation has been shakey in it's own right coming down the stretch. Josh Beckett doesn't seem 100% healthy and Clay Bucholz is unproven in the playoffs. Jon Lester has pitched like an ace this season and looks to be their strongest starter at the moment. For the Angels, Scott Kazmir could prove to be a key addition as he has notoriously been a Red Sox killer throughout his career. He will have to repeat that in order for the Angels to be victorious in the series.

Defensively, Mike Lowell (-10.5 UZR), Jason Bay (-12.3 UZR), and surprisingly Jacoby Ellsbury (-15.6 UZR) have been the reason for the Red Sox having a subpar defense. Also, Boston has major problems throwing out runners trying to steal and the Angels love to run, so I expect this to be a major issue throughout this series. The Angels on the otherhand have an above average defense with Chone Figgins excellent defense at third leading the way.

Prediction: Angels in 5

New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

Offense: Yankees (119 OPS+), Twins (109 OPS+)
Pitching: Yankees (104 ERA+), Twins (92 ERA+)
Defense: Yankees (-16.2 UZR), Twins(-36.3 UZR)

Comments: The Yankees have the best offense in baseball, but the Twins offense isn't too shabby either. The problem for the Twins is that their pitching is subpar and the Yankees lineup usually crushes subpar pitching. In order to beat the Yankees, you need to have strong pitching to neutralize their lineup, which only has one regular with an OPS+ under 123. I don't think the Twins have strong enough pitching to do that. They are also missing the bat of Justin Morneau and are one of the worst defensive teams in baseball. Almost every one of the Twins starters are subpar on defense. Meanwhile, the Yankees are also subpar defensively with Johnny Damon (-10.8 UZR), A-Rod (-7.7 UZR), and surprisingly Robinson Cano (-6.0 UZR) being the biggest offenders.

Prediction: Yankees in 3

National League

Colorado Rockies vs Philadelphia Phillies

Offense: Rockies (100 OPS+), Phillies (102 OPS+)
Pitching: Rockies (106 ERA+), Phillies (103 ERA+)
Defense: Rockies (-12.5 UZR), Phillies (28.2 UZR)

Comments: The Rockies have the potential to be a dangerous team offensively with the emergence of Carlos Gonzalez (123 OPS+) and Seth Smith (126 OPS+) boosting their offense late in the season. However, after Ubaldo Jimenez, I don't think their pitching staff is strong enough to hold the Phillies offense in check, especially since they will be without Jorge de la Rosa (16-9, 193K, 103 ERA+). They also have potentially 5 lefties in their starting lineup, which means they might have a hard time scoring runs off of Cliff Lee and even Cole Hamels if he can straighten things out. The Phillies have some problems of their own with the rotation and Brad Lidge in the bullpen, but I think those problems will emerge more once they get into the NLCS. I think the Phillies will hit enough in this series to get past the Rockies. They also have a stronger defense than the Rockies with 6 of their position players having a positive UZR, led by Chase Utley (11.2 UZR).

Prediction: Phillies in 4

St. Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Offense: Cardinals (97 OPS+), Dodgers (100 OPS+)
Pitching: Cardinals (114 ERA+), Dodgers (122 ERA+)
Defense: Cardinals (-8.0 UZR), Dodgers (4.4 UZR)

Comments: I think this Cardinals/Dodgers series is going to be a great one. I can't really decide who I think will win the series, because I feel like the Dodgers aren't playing their best baseball, but they have a lot of talent and could possibly turn it on for the playoffs. However, I like Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright at the top of the Cardinals rotation and I think that will be the difference in the series. Those two guys have been pretty much lights out this season and the Dodgers offense isn't as powerful as some other offense. The Cardinals offense is probably a little too dependent on Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, but I think they will find a way to score enough runs to win this series. This series and the Angels/Red Sox series are probably the hardest series to predict in each league.

Prediction: Cardinals in 5


  1. Cole's been straightened out in September. I like this matchup a lot.

  2. So do I...I think the Phillies will cruise in the first round...

  3. wow...nice they looking at the World Series..!!!