2013 MLB ALDS and ALCS Playoff Predictions and Analysis

ALDS Expert Analysis and Predictions

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox

I will be the first to say that I did not want the Rays in the postseason. With their first scheduled meeting today at 3:07 PM, Tampa has snuck into the playoffs winning on the road in Toronto to force a play-in game with the Texas Rangers for the Wild Card, beating them, and then defeating the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card playoff, all on the road. I liked Cleveland, and I wanted to see them win, but Tampa would have none of it thanks to their pitching. Although not as amazing as National League pitching (or that of Detroit), these guys get the job done under pressure in playoff situations. David Price is going to be tough to beat, and has the composure of a veteran in the postseason. Although Jeremy Hellickson has been really iffy this season, with Price and Moore heading their staff, if they can get past Boston after using both Price and Moore to reach this point, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. Fernando Rodney out of the bullpen is simply fun to watch (and he’s good), as this young staff compliments the young bats of Tampa well. Rookie Wil Myers has been great so far, to compliment the Rays mainstays of Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, along with Boston/LAD castoff James Loney. Although these guys are all young hitters and tend to be more aggressive at the plate, I think that will play to their strengths against Boston command and control pitchers in this series.

Personally, I still don’t understand how the Red Sox are here. I simply don’t know how they are this good, in the best division in baseball. I do understand how David Ortiz (despite the basepath liability he is) and Dustin Pedroia are good hitters, and how Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino are quality players (yet not superstars), but the rest of the team? Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks? They’re average players with average stats. Their pitching has obviously been their superiority and strength, as Clay Bucholz (when he’s healthy) is having a ridiculous year, but beyond that I’m not terribly impressed. John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Jake Peavy are all good pitchers but all very hittable. And Ryan Dumpster isn’t exactly something to brag about, and should be on the roster only for emergency long relief. At the start of the season I would’ve placed them to finish fourth in the AL East, and looking at their statistics now I probably would’ve said the same thing. And yet, they win ballgames, and a lot of them against good teams. I just can’t comprehend it.

Which is why I’m picking them to lose. Until they convincingly demonstrate to me that they’re actually good, I will always pick against them. Especially against the Rays who are coming in red-hot, and are not affected by playing on the road, and while they can start Moore and Price in the first two games at Boston. It’s a real shame that nobody goes to see Rays games in Tampa Bay, because they’re going to punch their ALCS ticket at home. Tampa Bay Rays in 3

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics

Why are the Tigers so bad in the playoffs? The past two years they have had great teams, and yet at one point or another (2011 ALCS, 2012 WS) they simply lost all their moxie and got outplayed. Is this the year that they finally shake the monkey off their back and get it all right? It could be, because I don’t think their hitting has ever been better. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in all of baseball and just an absolute monster. Then you still have the power of Prince Fielder to deal with, along with the bats of Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter, Jhonny Peralta, and even Omar Infante who all hit above .300 for the season. This team is like the Cardinals, except with more power and a deeper pitching staff. As any baseball fan should know, Max Scherzer is having what should be a Cy Young season. Anibal Sanchez is having a career year, and even though Justin Verlander is having an “off-year, his ERA is still under 3.50 and he’s almost averaging a strikeout per inning. This Detroit team has to put on a good playoff showing though, and convince everyone that they still have life after seeming rather lethargic toward the tail end of the season. If they can do that, there might be no stopping this team.

The A’s on the other hand, are a complete X factor as they always are. They receive very little press, and play in front of sparsely populated crowds, yet consistently win with different pieces every year. And then they win a lot of regular season ballgames, and lose in the Division Series just like last year against Detroit. I want them to win, because besides Bartolo Colon and his diet of Big Macs I like their team. Just like the Braves and Pirates, the A’s strike out a lot and they don’t hit for much average with only two everyday starters even close to hovering around .300, but they have a good amount of pop with Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss. And in traditional Oakland style, their pitching is what counts. Barty Colon has seemingly revitalized his steroid and grease ridden career with a ridiculous 2.65 ERA, supported by a young staff that although they aren’t superstars, throw quality games with ERAs under 4.00. They’re also very like the Red Sox in the fact that they play very well in their division, even though most teams don’t have a tough time playing the likes of Houston and Seattle.

I want Oakland to win, simply because they’re the underdog and they are due for some playoff victories. But when matched up against Detroit, the fact of the matter is that they are overmatched. The A’s should manage to steal a few games and make things interesting, in the end though, the Oakland playoff curse will continue, and the Tigers will be seeing a repeat of last seasons ALDS. Detroit Tigers in 5

Down the Road……

ALCS

Detroit Tigers vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Unless Tampa manages to convincingly sweep Boston, there’s no way they will be able to handle the Tigers and all their weapons. Detroit Tigers in 6

World Series

Detroit Tigers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

This will be a marquee matchup with fantastic staffs and great teams working together. But, Detroit falls apart again to an NL West squad. Los Angeles Dodgers in 5

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2013 Midsummer Classic Live Blog

11:25 And, Alvarez pops up to end it. By divine intervention, it wasn’t a strikeout. No clear ASG MVP, but Joe Buck wants to award it to either himself or a New York player. Because he knows best. 3-0 American League win, the National League is just straight up. – DC

11:22 Paul Goldschmidt hits a 2 out double off Joe Nathan. And then the umpire calls an obvious ball a strike on Pedro Alvarez (a Pirate). He’ll strike out anyway though. – DC

11:20 Why is the National League so bad? The Pirates. Andrew McCutchen just struck out again. – DC

11:19 The Umpire just wants to go home. Those were some borderlined pitches that Matt Carpenter took that home plate blue rung him up on. Of course, if I were him, I’d call those pitches strikes all day too. The National league just refuses to get their bats off their shoulders. 2 hits through 8 1/3. – DC

11:11 Make a wish, I wish for a NL win. Of course, Jason Grilli gave up the triple to Prince. A Pirate. Go figure. Back to back groundouts though, as the NL infield looks Fielder back to third base. Who is still catching his breath from running 270 feet. – DC

11:10 Prince Fielder just does the impossible and runs, but Fox needs to give Rivera a 5 minute interview.  Why do I expect anything different? – JD

11:07 And hit triples, thanks to Carlos Gomez. – DC

11:06 Prince Fielder also likes to eat. – DC

11:04 Me : (on Blue Diamond Almond commercial) “Almonds are really expensive, and brand name ones? They cost so much.”

Thurston Howell : “I wonder how expensive that hot mama is.” – DC

10:59 Is Tim McCarver really dissecting Metallica lyrics and how they relate to Mariano? I think enter night is a racial term, at least. And off to Never-Never Land can be a good time if Peter Pan is telling it to you. – DC

10:52 #EnterSandman as FOX Sports assumes the position for Mariano Rivera. Joe Buck just went six to midnight. – DC

10:47 I never knew that one could strike out on a 2-1 count, thanks for the education Fox Sports and the incomparable Joe Buck. -JD

10:44 Dom Brown is too busy gazing into Elysium that a double by Jason Kipnis goes over his head for an RBI and a 3-0 AL lead following a double play ball by Torii Hunter. Also, Machado just swung at one that bounced way up there LOL. Newb. – DC

10:40 Back to back hits to start the top of the eighth  by Salvador Perez and Jhonny Peralta off Craig Kimbrel. Joe Buck is dissecting about how it makes so much sense to bring Mo Rivera in for the eighth rather than the ninth, but he’s actually wrong. He just wants to talk about New York more, who probably is paying him per mention. – DC

10:34 No, it’s okay NL. Swing at pitches that are balls, and take pitches that are strikes. Blue Jays pitchers tag-team for back to back strikeouts of Brown and Buster Posey. This offense is pathetic. – DC

10:28 Jim Leyland is afraid of Dom Brown and how he’s gonna hit a game tying home run here following a David Wright single. 2-0 AL, bottom 7. – DC

10:27 Manny Machado. Self-explanatory. -JD

10:25 What a play by Machado. Only 21 years old. I still hate Joe Buck, though. -TH

10:19 I think a better way to Bless America would be Jennifer Lopez streaking across the outfield, instead of her ex-husband Marc Anthony singing a song. – DC

10:16 A fat slug, I mean, Bartolo Colon, could beat Edwin Encarnacion in a race. – DC

10:09 Andrew McCutchen strikes out with a runner on. I bet all the Steelers fans out there are thinking up excuses for why he didn’t get a hit. Fact of the matter is, the Pirates strike out too much, which is why they suck. – DC

10:04 mikey thomasJust realized that Bartolo Colon looks just like Mikey Thomas from Backyard Baseball -TH

10:03 Grant Balfour is kind of losing it. Four pitch walk to Michael Cuddyer, and then the camera cuts quick to Bartolo Colon, who they paged seconds before to tell him to put down the cheeseburger he was eating, as they were about to show him on camera. Also, the only reason he came to New York to play was because they told him there was unlimited free food. And steroids. – DC

10:02 My heart sank when I realized that I would have to listen to the mindless commentary of Joe Buck again in the post-season. -JD

9:52 Jose Fernandez is only 20 years old and is pitching in the All Star Game, which is amazing because when Joe Buck was 20 years old, he was still in 10th grade. -TH

9:48 I feel like I am beating a dead horse but if I see one more blatant endorsement during this game, I may lose all respect I have for Fox sports and the MLB. -JD

9:44 A Phillies pitcher always gives up runs in the All-Star game. Ugh, Cliff Lee. 2-0 AL, bottom 5. Branny Phillips is showboating like a boss though, barehanding double play balls like it’s his job. Wait……… – DC

9:35 Joe Buck should be like the streaking fan. Neither seen nor heard. -TH

9:34 Adam Jones representing Baltimore well. Joe Buck is still talking about the Yankees. -TH

9:33 I am waiting for Joe Buck to gaze upon the faces of Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington in the New York skyline.  Two of his favorite things to do, sell out and blow smoke up the butt of the Big Apple. -JD

9:33 If Joe Buck can see Elysium in the New York sky, I wonder if he can find love in a man’s eyes? – DC

9:32 I guess with all issues surrounding steroids and baseball, the MLB has started to try and find other avenues for revenue. -JD

9:29 Elysium is about as real as Joe Buck’s friends. – TH

(At this point in time, the camera shows the outfield sky, and Joe Buck says “There it is, Elysium” in an attempt to promote the trailer of the movie that was just shown during commercials. It comes off awkward and flat, and there’s a long pause afterward where I imagine everyone hit the mute button to cover up the laughter at how idiotic a comment it was.)

9:27 Joey Votto has “Paint it Black” as his walkup music. Boss. Also, shut up Joe Buck. The Pirates aren’t fun to watch. They strike out the third most in all of baseball. Can’t wait for their second half tank. Still 1-0 AL, bottom of the fourth. Wright up to bat, McCutchen on third pinch running for Beltran, after stealing second and reaching third on a groundout. I bet he gets stranded. (Update) – He does. – DC

9:25 Of course King Felix only is hittable when he’s pitching with the Orioles on his team. – TH

9:25 How much can Fox and the MLB  suck up to the city of New York? Like I thought this was about the players not the host city. -JD

9:17 Joey Votto sucks at fielding, but not as bad as Miguel Cabrera sucks at running. In unrelated news, I wonder if mouth cancer is giving Chris Davis his superpowers this year? – DC

9:13 Hopefully that bat hit Joe Buck -TH

9:11 Nobody likes Mr. Met. Phanatic all the way. – DC

9:09 All Star games are supposed to be a showcase of the best players in the league. Not just a pitching match-up.  I want to see big hits and clutch plays like Ichiro in 2007.  The AL could have the most potent line-up in the game’s history and they have one hit through 3? -JD

9:01 I don’t want to see commercials about women, trucks, or horses. Or country music. Or any of that garbage. Just stop, truck companies. None of that is good. – DC

8:59 Robinson Cano getting beaned is the highlight of the night so far. -TH

8:57 Nomar Garciaparra is a better SS today than JJ Hardy. And, his batting routine is way more fun. – DC

8:50 All right, Chris Sale is dirty. That slider? Making Carlos Gonzalez (the best NL hitter) look like Desi Relaford. – DC

8:47 Darryl Strawberry probably hit up his crack dealer for tickets to the game just for old times sake. Also, why is David Wright hitting cleanup? Is this just a giant NYC lovefest tonight? Besides Robbie Cano getting hit by a Matt Harvey fastball and having to go for X-Rays, that is.  -DC

8:43 Is Matt Harvey, as a young pitcher, really good enough to strike out a batter with the skills like Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Adam Jones? – JD

8:37 Looking at the starting lineups, I must say that I agree with Bryce Harper batting ninth. Superstars like Edgardo Alfonzo hit ninth for the NL in the past. – DC