Last year, I experienced a level of playoff prediction failure previously unprecedented in my life. Of the seven series in the baseball playoffs, I predicted exactly one correctly.
Curious to see whether I can repeat that level of incompetence, I thought I would try again this year. Without further ado, then, here are my predictions for the first round of the playoffs.
Angels-Red Sox: The Red Sox faded a little down the stretch. Their bullpen showed signs of cracking (including Palpabon, their closer). And their offense suffered from injuries, namely to David Ortiz. The Angels, on the other hand, finished the season virtually unchallenged in the West. That said, I'll take the Red Sox for two reasons: Josh Beckett over John Lackey, and David Ortiz over Vlad Guerrero. With the Red Sox's biggest stars outplaying the Angel's titans, the Red Sox will prevail in 4.
Yankees-Indians: This one is a no-brainer. Yankees have been playing exceptionally well of late, and it's a contract year for Alex Rodriguez. That should push even him past the difficulties he's had in past Octobers. Yankees in 4.
Cubs-Diamondbacks: I confess. I didn't really pay much attention to the NL this year. That will change in future years, as I'm in the middle of Cardinals country. That said, I'll take the Cubs in 4 as they have Piniella at the helm and Soriano is on a tear. Cubs in 4.
Rockies-Phillies: Talk about peaking at the right time. The Rockies won 13 of their final 14 to force a playoff, then won that in 13 innings. I watched the Phillies play the Cards two weeks ago (sans Ryan Howard) and wasn't all that impressed by their baserunning and defense. I'll go out on a whim and take the Rockies in 5.
That's it. Check back when the first round is over for an update and more prognostications.
Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.