Well, I guess I’m batting for average in the postseason predictions now. The Rays took the Wild Card spot from the Indians in tonight’s game, shutting them out 4-0. Honestly, I’ve watched both teams all season and neither were really playing at the level they need to be playing to compete with the guys at the top of the league. No offense to any Rays or Indians fans (and a good portion of my friends and family are such fans) but short of a miracle or sudden hot streak, I just don’t see how either of them will/could make it very far. Especially in light of the fact that the Rays will now have to face the red-hot Red Sox.
As much as I’d love to see any team beat the Red Sox (after all, it’s part of the contract I sign when I became a loyal Yankees fan), there’s something in the bearded wonders that just seem a bit unstoppable. I’m guessing the popularity of Duck Dynasty has something to do with this odd phenomenon. There’s simply no other explanation — at least not for a Yankee fan.
And I have to give credit where credit is due. The Rays’ starting pitcher, the same guy who took a line drive to the head earlier this season, really gave a great outing for the Rays. The Indians certainly hit off him and the bullpen, but they couldn’t seem to find a way to patch together any runs. If that sounds familiar, it’s something the Yankees battled most of the second half of this season.
And as a firm believer of the “once a Yankee, always a Yankee”, it was a little hard to see former Yankees like Swisher and Giambi not be able to push past this one-off game to really dive into the play-offs. I doubt this is the last we’ve seen of the Indians. We could be looking at the same rash of strong Indians seasons, like the late 90s. And if you’re following along, as history tends to repeat itself, that means the Yankees are ready to follow suit and go further picking up a ton of titles themselves. (Hey, hope never dies for the true fan — just ask Cubs fans!)
My new updated predictions (not that much has changed): (*I was right // ^I was wrong)
NL Wild Card — Pirates over Reds(Pirates win over Reds 6-2 to advance as Wild Card)* AL Wild Card — Indians over Rays(Rays win over the Indians 4-0 to advance as Wild Card)^
- NLDS 1 — Pirates over Cardinals in 5
- NLDS 2 — Braves over Dodgers in 3
- ALDS 1 — Red Sox over Rays in 3
- ALDS 2 — Tigers over Athletics in 4
- NLCS — Braves over Pirates in 5
- ALCS — Tigers over Red Sox in 6
- World Series — Braves over Tigers in 5
The only news in Yankee-land today was regarding Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing, currently in progress at MLB headquarters in New York. There’s a lot of rumors circulating about the closed hearings. But the most interesting and public thing is the band of Rodriguez supporters that have gathered outside the MLB offices to protest what they deem is unfair treatment of Rodriguez. It seemed to touch him to see that some people still supported him in his efforts to combat what appears to be a bloated suspension sentence. Resolutions are expected by the end of the month, which will include if Rodriguez is suspended and if so, for how long. It will be an interesting footnote to this season to see how it all resolves right around the same time as other teams yet to be determined will be battling for the World Series title.
Anyway, the official playoff games start tomorrow night. Last year, the playoffs were seriously affected by those who were constantly playing versus those who swept and had multiple days off in a row between series. For example, the Tigers swept the Yankees and had to wait four days before facing the Giants who played all 7 games for their NLCS title, had one day off, and went on to sweep the Tigers. To me, there was a clear correlation to the amount of “rest” between series. If that’s the case, the Pirates and the Rays are getting ready to be on a roll, which means my predictions are going to be off again.
But then again, I could be very, very wrong. Because in baseball (as so often we discover in real life), anything really is possible.