Detroit Tigers (95-67) at New York Yankees (97-65)
The Tigers pretty much limped home down the stretch and lost out on the AL Central title after leading the division pretty much all season, and as a result they have to go to New York. The first game will be Nate Robertson (13-13, 3.84) against Chien-Ming Wang (19-6, 3.63). If you had said before the season that Nate Robertson and Chien-Ming Wang would be squaring off in game one of the ALDS, I might have asked you to seek some professional help. But, here we are. By the by, if Wang robs Santana of another Cy Young, I am going to shit. Wang is far closer to Nate Robertson than he is to Santana. And I can see it happening.
New York has a lot of bats, but their rotation is kind of shaky and if they can't get the ball to Mo Rivera, they could be screwed. Lucky for them the Tigers are basically in the tank right now, having dropped their last five games to close out the season. I do expect Detroit to be a game opponent, but I can't pick them. They don't have the thunder to match the Yankees. Yankees in 4
Oakland Athletics (93-69) at Minnesota Twins (96-66)
The A's can't hit. Their run-scoring relies heavily on Frank Thomas, and I love the Big Hurt, but there's a man who could fall over and be out for the postseason at any moment. I like the A's and now that the Twins have gotten Mauer and Morneau up and hitting like crazy, plus Mike Cuddyer finally contributing, I like them more than I used to. Torii Hunter is going to ride another division title and 30 homers into a ridiculous contract this offseason. First game's matchup is Santana (19-6, 2.77) against Barry Zito (16-10, 3.83). One thing the A's have going for them is the return of Rich Harden, because that guy has Santana-level ability when he's healthy.
I think this will be a gritty series. Part of me roots heavily for the A's so that some folks will finally shut up about how "Moneyball" doesn't work, as if both of these teams aren't perennial contenders with more or less the same outlook on things. It's almost as if they aren't actually playing each other in the playoffs. I think the Twins are primed for a serious run, though, even without Liriano. Twins in 5
Assuming I'm right and it's Twins at Yankees for the ALCS, give me Twins in 6.
Los Angeles Dodgers (88-74) at New York Mets (97-65)
Is it disheartening to anyone else that the AL Central had more 90-game winners than the entire National League? Poor Chicago is a 90-72 team, and even the Angels went 89-73, and then you can go three deep in the AL East, too, and find better teams than the Cardinals, and teams that match up well enough with the Dodgers and Padres. The Mets are a really shaky 97-win team, though. Like the other NY squad, it's a lot of hitting and some questionable pitching.
Here's why I like the Dodgers in this series: They won their final seven games (New York won their final four). They're pitching Derek Lowe (16-8, 3.63) and Greg Maddux (15-14, 4.20 and 6-3, 3.30 with Los Angeles) for the first two games. And with Drew, Garciappara, Kent and Furcal, they have enough pop to hang in there if games go the high-scoring route. Plus I just don't think any team starting El Duque and John Maine in the postseason is going to win. Sorry, Mets fans. Dodgers in 4
St. Louis Cardinals (83-78) at San Diego Padres (88-74)
A rematch of a limp NLDS series from last season, but with home/away reversed. Go Padres. I'm sick of the Cardinals and they aren't in any way a good team. That said, they have Albert Pujols. The Pads are the better team, and should win. Padres in 4
If I'm right, give me the Dodgers in 7.
And if I'm right about it all and the World Series is the Twins and Dodgers, give me the Twins in 6.