The Full Count: First round picks


The Tie is Broken: The Rockies and Padres played a rather excellent tiebreaker game that decided who is moving into the playoffs and who is staying home. The game lasted 13 innings, with the Rockies winning 9-8 in dramatic fashion. The Padres scored 2 runs in the 13th off Scott Hariston’s homer, but the Rockies came back in the bottom half of the inning against Trevor Hoffman. They scored three runs to win the game, with Matt Holliday getting the winning run on a close play at the plate. Holliday secured the NL batting title, and also passed Ryan Howard for the NL RBI title with his performance on Monday. The MVP candidate went 2-6 with 2 RBIs, and teammate Troy Tulowitzki was even better with a 4-7, three run effort. The Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam early in the game to give himself 30 homers and 100 RBIs on the year. Both starters in this contest were lit up early on. Jake Peavy raised his ERA from 2.36 to 2.54 by allowing six runs in six innings. The Rockies’ Josh Fogg gave up five runs in four innings, but was bailed out by an excellent performance from the bullpen. The Rockies, who won 14 of 15 games to win the wild card, are completely deserving of their playoff spot.

Match Me Up: The first round matchups have been finalized, and there are multiple intriguing games across the board. The Red Sox-Angels series will feature two of the league’s best pitching staffs. On Wednesday Beckett vs. Lackey will kick off this showdown. The other AL matchup, Yankees-Indians, is no less interesting. The Yankees are the hottest team in baseball and have by far its best lineup, but the Indians are very balanced and tied the Red Sox for the best regular season record. The NL matchups, though the teams aren’t nearly as good as those in the AL, should also provide for some good baseball. The Phillies-Rockies has great potential, as these were the two highest-scoring teams in the NL this season. Also, both teams are red-hot, having to earn their way into the playoffs by making late-season comebacks. The Diamondbacks-Cubs will be a matchup of two great pitching staffs. Here are my picks for the first round series:

Angels over Red Sox in 5.
Yankees over Indians in 5.
Phillies over Rockies in 4.
Cubs over D-backs in 5.

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  1. erik | Oct 3, 2007 | Reply

    pitching, defense and closers — according to Baseball Prospectus, who correctly predicted the rapid rise of the Diamondbacks this year, the three biggest predictors of postseason success are: Equivalent Strikeouts Per Nine innings (EqK9), Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA), and Closer Performance (as measured by the WXRL of the pitcher with the most save opportunities). that leads to:

    • Red Sox over Angels (Boston is top three in the majors in all three categories)
    • Yankees over Indians (neither team strikes out a ton of batters, but Cleveland’s weak at closer)
    • Phillies over Rockies (although given late season injuries to Phillies staff plus late season emergence of Corpas for Rockies and Rockies’ top rated defense, i’d switch this around)
    • Chicago over Arizona (Zambrano vs Webb twice will be the key to the series; Cubs are weak at closer and D’backs are weak defensively)

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