The San Diego Padres will win the World Series.
There, I said it. Do I believe it? Not really, but I actually think they have a pretty decent shot. If I had to put money on things, I’d (obviously) take the Yankees and their $150 Million lineup that more-or-less discredits the fairness of Major League Baseball, but hey, (word that rhymes with "sit") happens.
As for an actual preview…
1. Yankees vs. Tigers
This series *could* be a lot closer than people think. The Tigers are the type of team that gives the Yankees trouble. Like the ’02 and ’05 Angels and the ’03 Marlins, the Tigers have a deep rotation, decent bullpen, and a lineup that can get hot at any time. Of course any team that enters the playoffs 19-31 of late, has a five-game losing streak, and just lost three in a row at home to the Royals doesn’t really seem like they have much of a shot. If they manage to steal game one tonight, it’ll be a series. If the Yankees win 13-4, as they likely will, then forget it.
2. Twins vs. A’s
In a seven game series vs. the Yankees, the A’s have a much better shot than the Twins. Of course they have to get by Johan Santana twice to do do. Can they? Of course. Will they? I dunno. I can see Frank Thomas and (welcome to the Big Stage) Milton Bradley carrying them, but it might be too hard of a task. Of course now that I’ve been caught up in my real job for a few hours, the A’s are up on Santana 2-0 in the 6th inning. Hmmm…
1. Mets vs. Dodgers
El Duque is going to be much better than anyone realizes. The Dodgers are incredibly streaky, but I can’t really see their lineup (Marlon Anderson, anyone?) stacking up against the Mets. It’ll be a good series, but the Mets should win.
2. Padres vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals are fielding their worst team in years and are running on fumes. The Padres wil have a tough time facing Chris Carpenter (possibly twice), but St. Louis doesn’t have any other arms of note. Two words: walk Pujols. Two more: Pods win.
It’ll probably be Twins-Yankees and it probably won’t be a very good series. In fact, I bet Johan Santana wins game 5 vs. the A’s and the Twins will head back to Minnesota down 0-2 after dropping a pair in New York. The Twins will win a pair of games at home — where they’re a much better team, and where the elderly Yankees will struggle in the field — but the Yanks are too much for them. Should the A’s make it, they’ll give the Yanks a tougher time. Frank Thomas is determined to get a ring for being on the field instead of off it, and I really think Milton Bradley needs a big stage to be the All-Star he’s always threatening to be. But do I trust the A’s bullpen to come through against the Yanks? Not really, no.
The Mets have been slumping at the plate recently, and if they face a team that can run out any one of five ENTIRELY different starters in Jake Peavy, Chris Young, David Wells, Clay Hensley and Woody Williams, it won’t be pretty. The Padres are harly the ’27 (or 2006) Yankees, but they have enough firepower to get by the likes of John Maine, Steve Traschel and a pair of 40-year-olds. Plus, it doesn’t get much more "Mets" than losing an already-punched ticket to the World Series to a team with the franchise player they kicked to the curb. Call it Piazza’s revenge. The Padres stay in New York.
Can the Padres beat the Yankees? Absolutely. Will they? That’s another story. They’ve got the best pitching, and nice defense, but I can’t see a team that’s almost useless on offense beating the Yankees in the World Series. Having Mike Piazza DH for four games will be a big help, but probably not enough. If the Mets make it to the World Series, they’ll give the Yanks a good fight — and might actually win — but I’m just not sure they can top the Padres to get there.
Whatever. I just hope the playoffs are fun. And that the Yankees don’t win.