- The playoffs are fun!
- I don't care what Will Carroll's lapdog says, John Franco is my new favorite announcer. He's not afraid to call Roy Oswalt a dumbass for throwing Brian McCann a fastball after McCann demonstrated that his bats were scared of curveballs, and I find his lack of broadcasting polish endearing. He's a damn sight less aggravating than either Joe Morgan, who occasionally makes a good point but sends me diving for the mute button by repeating it eight or nine times, adjusting it in mid-rant if a replay proves him wrong; or Rick Sutcliffe, who's not just wrong but loud wrong. In fact, the radio crews for all these games have been more pleasant to listen to than their TV counterparts.
- It's still not clear what show Fox is going to be to be shilling so hard that we won't be able to forget the catchphrase long after the program is cancelled (Her father's the district attorney!). Prison Break, maybe?
That was quick. The Cards looked pretty good. Solid performances out of all three starters, sufficient offense, and Reggie Sanders' playoff beard looks good on him. The bullpen is a concern; they tried their damndest to stretch this series out, and that against a mediocre team.
Meanwhile, the Padres, as if eager to emphasize the fact that they shouldn't have been in the postseason anyway, started Pedro Astacio and Woody Williams in the second and third legs of the sweep. Now go the fuck home and we'll never speak of this again. We'll just say the Cards got a first round bye. Pedro A-fucking-stacio.
Astros vs. Braves
I can't remember much that happened in this series before Game 4. Hell, I can't remember much that happened period before Game 4. It was the most fun I've had watching a ball game in a long time. By the time the 15th rolled around, the very name of each inning was a delight. 16th? 17th?! 18th?! It didn't matter that the wrong team won (from the standpoint of my predictological credibility, at least) or that it made that fat bastard Roger Clemens look good. It was a dramatic, well-played, and it went on forever.
As for the Braves, this is where I'm supposed to make a crack about their sad inability to sell out playoff games. Suffice it to say that Atlanteans don't deserve the Braves, and that the Braves don't deserve the crap they get every year when they lose in the LDS, even if it really is every year. The Manager of the Year Award should be given to Bobby Cox every year until he dies and then named after him. See you next October, Bobby.
White Sox vs. Red Sox
I know I'm a bitter, cynical son of a bitch, but I can't be the only one who finds it hilarious that after the ink and various other fluids spilled about the Red Sox finally winning something, they defend their title by putting up less of a fight than the Padres. Their godawful pitching staff made Chicago look like a team that could actually hit, which we may be about to find out isn't quite true.
It seems that the undecideds are backing the White Sox this year, which is no surprise. They haven't won since 1917 and are overlooked by media both mainstream and sabermetric, as Will Carroll's corgi has complained. Jose Contreras is about as good a story as there is right now, having suffered under both Castro and Steinbrenner. Ozzie Guillen is entertaining unless you're Magglio Ordonez. That has nothing to do with why they won, though. In the end, good pitching beat out shitty pitching, and it looks pretty obvious when it's phrased like that, huh? If I were a GM, I would try not to have such shitty pitching next time. Just saying.
Angels vs. Yankees
I'm forcing myself not to gloat about this being all $200 million gets you. I was going to do that if the Yanks missed the playoffs, and it would be cheap of me to do it even though they did, and it's not like they lost to the Indians. The Angels did everything they could to give up their LCS pass -- LA's best pitcher, Bartolo Colon, left the game in the second, suffering from the effects of having a big fat ass, and the 17 year old they replaced him with pitched like me playing MVP Baseball drunk. By the time he settled down, New York had a 2-0 lead, but that can only last so long if you can't catch or throw.
The Yankees are like a leper with two oozing sores but enough bandages to staunch only one. Either you play Tino Martinez at first and let Bernie Williams trudge around in center, or you put Bubba Crosby out there and hope Jason Giambi isn't so worn out from playing Halo and smoking up all night with his brother that he forgets to put his foot on the bag. Don't do drugs, kids. Those are only the two biggest sores, of course: five errors in the first four games, and significant sloppy play beyond that. If one were so inclined, one could string together a series of Yankees miscues speeded up in a hilarious manner and accompanied by Yakety Sax. You could show it during rain delays. The piece de resistence would be Gary Sheffield delivering a Jumbo Tsuruta-style high knee to Bubba Crosby's stomach, allowing Adam Kennedy to scamper to third with two runs having scored. Throw in Giambi tossing to first as though the ball weighed 100 pounds, and there's your first round loss. But enough about the past; on to the future!
Cardinals vs. Astros
Last year, the Astros came (far too) close to winning this series and the honor of having their heads kicked in by Boston. Can they get over the hump this time? Nah. In 2004, if I recall correctly, Carlos Beltran and Brad Lidge won three games all by themselves. Nowadays, Beltran is sucking for the Mets and . . . well, Lidge is still there. Houston probably has the best rotation in the playoffs, but St. Louis' isn't so shabby either. The Cards have an advantage in hitting and defense, and not small ones. Cards in five.
White Sox vs. Angels
I expect this to be pretty good. Neither team can hit much, both can pitch. The Sox are being handed the first game -- LA doesn't even get a day off after a grueling couple of games. The Angels are a more balanced squad, but if Chicago's starting pitching is as dominant as it can be, that won't matter. Going with my initial guesses from April stopped me from making one bad prediction, so I'll stick with it. Angels in six.