Friday, October 5, 2012

MLB Playoff Round 1 Preview

The new Wild Card format actually did its job, more or less; it prevented a quality NL Central team from, and it made the AL West pennant race meaningful, with Oakland pulling out a spectacular division championship on the last day of the season.

NL Game To Go: Neither the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse nor the Braves' Kris Medlen are as good as their ERAs indicate, but Medlen is the superior pitcher by a substantial margin. However, St. Louis has the superior offense. Both teams feature outstanding closers. If Atlanta is favored, it's not by much. Still, I have to go with my hometown. Braves.

AL Game To Go: This is a no-brainer, as the Orioles are the one "mistake" team that doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. By all rights, the Tampa Bay Rays ought to be in this game. Baltimore may be setting a record for the biggest difference between Pythagorean Win-Loss rate and actual win-loss rate. Despite their epic collapse, take the Rangers.

Elsewhere, I don't get the decision to fire Valentine after one year. Or rather, I don't get the decision to hire Valentine, who presided over some rather underperforming Mets teams a decade ago. The Sawx did underperform their run differential, but even Bobby Cox had seasons where that happens, so I'm not sure it's fair to blame him for the whole team's implosion.
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