Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Comments: A squad with a 4.73 team ERA faces one with a 4.32 mark. Regular season offensive production has shown no correlation to postseason success, but that really doesnít help in predicting this series much, since both teams will be relying on their sticks. The Rockies made a remarkable run to get into the playoffs, so they may just be happy to be here. Then again, they are the hottest team in the league. Still, the Phillies at least have a top flight starter and an offense that finished second only to the Yankees in runs scored this season (the Rockies did manage the second most runs in the NL). Colorado fields the best defensive team in the Senior Circuit, but ultimately, the Phillies have too much firepower.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs
Comments: The Diamondbacks were outscored on the year by 20 runs yet finished with the NLís best record. The team no doubt entered 2007 with a bright future, but Carlos Quentin, Stephen Drew, Chad Tracy and Chris Young (although it was a fantastic fantasy year) all had very disappointing seasons. Oh, and Randy Johnson was also lost for the year. Still, somehow this team is playing in October, and with Brandon Webb possibly factoring into two of the five games, they have a legitimate chance at moving on. Still, the Cubs staff is deeper, and the lineup is better.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Boston Red Sox
Comments: The Red Sox allowed the fewest runs in major league baseball this season. Factoring in ballpark effects and their division, there might not be a more impressive statistic. Their offense scored the fourth most runs in baseball, and that was with Manny Ramirez missing 30 games and finishing with his lowest OPS since his rookie season. They are 8-4 during their last 12 games against the Angels and 18-6 during their last 24 games versus the Halos at Fenway. However, this Angels team is not to be mistaken with a doormat and enters with a solid starting rotation and bullpen. Still, Boston is more well rounded.
Red Sox 3-2.
Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees
Comments: The Yankees led MLB in runs scored (by 76 runs), batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Thatís pretty good, especially when you consider their ballpark is very tough on right-handed hitters. The pitching staff hasnít exactly matched the offensive output, and Cleveland not only has the likely Cy Young winner but also a deserving candidate as their No. 2 starter as well. However, the rival Red Sox did them a favor in choosing the format, as C.C. Sabathia would have to come back on just three daysí rest in order to get two starts out of both, whereas thatís not the case in the other AL series. Itís a huge advantage for the Yankees, who have a deeper staff than the Indians. And with Joba Chamberlain becoming a dominant setup man, a once weak link has really been shored up in New York. The Yankees have been pedestrian against left-handed pitching this year (20-18), so if Sabathia gets two starts, Cleveland has a real chance at taking this series. Still, do you feel safe with Joe Borowski protecting a one-run lead against this lineup? Neither do I.
As for the eventual World Series champ Ė I picked the Yankees to win it all before the season began and see no reason to change that prediction now.