Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Three Game 1's

So the glaringly Metless postseason kicks off today at 3:00pm. I'm really having to push myself to get wrapped up in the NL side of the bracket, but that SD-COL game certainly didn't hurt.

Game 1: Rockies at Phillies (C. Hamels v. J. Francis), 3pm ET
I have to pencil this one in for the Candy-Stripers. I don't know which way this series will end up; I can see the Rockies pulling it off, but this is a game Philly has to win and does win. Outside of Hamels, who is coming off of an 8-inning, 13 strikeout shutout last Friday, the Phillies can not rely on anyone in that rotation. Kendrick is the next guy you would go to, but he doesn't go deep into games, and has 121 career MLB innings pitched. Give me Moyer on Sunday (5.1 ip, 0 er), I'll give you Moyer 5 days earlier vs. the Braves (5.1 ip, 6 er). Point is the Fightins need Hamels to win every single time he pitches in the postseason, and as much as he makes me ill, to this point he has done nothing but follow through.
Francis, on the other end, has been a solid and consistent if not dominant "ace" for Colorado. He's certainly a good pitcher, but ideally he's a #2 guy somewhere. He finished the year on a fine note, really not getting touched up at all for the final two months, with one notable exception: September 13, 3.1 IP, 8H, 8ER, 4BB, 2K, in Philadelphia.
These are two offenses on absurd highs, with the talent to back justify every run plated. The only way someone falls off here is by running into lights-out pitching. I take Philly, 6-2 in game one, but I'll take Colorado in 5 for the series.

Game 1: Angels at Red Sox (J. Lackey v. J. Beckett), 6:30pm ET
Lackey's career numbers vs. the Red Sox are so outlandishly bad (1-6, 6.27 ERA), and even worse at Fenway (0-2, 8.38 ERA, that you almost figure that something's gotta give. But the Red Sox are certainly aware of his history, and therein gain major edge before a pitch is thrown. They know Lackey well, they've crushed him, and they have the Cy Young winner on the hill. Playoff butterflies can bury lineups in game 1's, but their history with Lackey can allow Boston's bats to stay loose and let Beckett deal. Red Sox, 8-3 in game one, and they win in 4.

Game 1: Cubs at Diamondbacks (C. Zambrano v. B. Webb), 10pm ET
Rarely has a playoff team been sold so short as the Arizona Diamondbacks are right now. You would think that the Cubs had won 108 games and were facing a lowly wild card. The Cubs have the front page all to themselves, and in about 5 different polls I've seen ranking the playoff teams, the D'Backs are consistently dead last. Is it the new unis? Yes, the D'Backs have a startlingly low team BA for a division winner (.250), and they haven't scored a lot of runs, but they are the NL's only 90-game winner.
As far as tonight goes, I don't trust Carlos Zambrano in a big game anymore than I trust Victor Zambrano, and Brandon Webb can decimate any lineup any time. You keep hearing about the Rockies closing the season winning 13 out of 14, but who won that 14th game? Webb. He has Peavy's numbers without Peavy's propensity to put out lilliputian efforts when it counts. Soriano strikes out swinging. I take the D'Backs in game one, 4-1, and they take the series in 4.

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