New York Yankees (95-67) at Los Angeles Angels (95-67)
Boston Red Sox (95-67) at Chicago White Sox (99-63)
These two matchups are very similar, really. The Yankees and Red Sox better bring their bats or they're going home. On the other hand, the Angels and White Sox better damn well show up with their pitching or they're going to get blown out of the water. I think the AL is wide open. These four teams all have flaws that would make you think they could lose, but both matchups are intriguing.
First person to say "I pick the Sox!" will be the 373rd person to say it by the time you've read this.
Red Sox in 4 - I do not like Chicago as a playoff team because I don't trust any of their pitchers to get the job done besides Buehrle.
Angels in 5 - I'm not picking the Yankees, but I'm not at all confident in the Angels.
Houston Astros (89-73) at Atlanta Braves (90-72)
This happened last season and it was a pretty good series, with the Braves staying alive on a couple of nail-biter wins and the Astros slugging their way past them in the end, winning game five 12-3 in Atlanta. The Astros don't slug this season, and Carlos Beltran isn't there to be a postseason hero. I'm pulling for Houston for two reasons. No. 1, their fans are awesome. They're loud and they make the games on TV fun to watch. No. 2, Craig Biggio is a professional and a Hall of Fame caliber player, and I hope he gets to play in a World Series before he retires. He's almost 40, so this might be his last shot. If Houston hits at all, their big three (Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt) are going to be very hard to beat.
Astros in 4
San Diego Padres (82-80) at St. Louis Cardinals (100-62)
It's nothing personal, but I don't like the Cardinals and I don't like Tony LaRussa and I don't like Busch Stadium and "These St. Louis fans are the best in baseball!" has become repeated ad nauseum a la "The Twins play the game the right way" and it's just turned me against them. I also don't think they're all that great of a team, though clearly their 100 wins are a compelling argument against my opinion.
I am rooting for the San Diego Padres this postseason because their mediocrity is something I can identify with a lot easier than all these other good teams. They're the underdogs in a big, big way. Also, they're the Dads. Do you need more reasons?
And no I don't think the following pick is that insane. The Padres won their season series against the Cardinals. They went 3-1 in Busch Stadium. And anything can happen in a short series.
Padres in 4