Dulany: Looking for a West Coast Series
Josh Dulany | Monday, September 29, 2014
At 162-game-season-long last, the calendar flips to October and the fresh air of the postseason breathes new life into baseball.
If you’re like me, you’ve remained vaguely aware of baseball’s existence, but you haven’t been able to convince yourself that it really matters until now.
Sure, I almost enjoyed the semi-drama of teams jockeying for playoff seeding and seeing the Pirates, Orioles and Royals — especially, the Royals — make the playoffs was very nearly exciting. But now, now there is finally a sense of immediacy to it all. Win and move on, lose and it’s over.
Ten teams are in, and in about a month, it’ll just be one. Each team has a shot, but everybody knows that. What nobody knows is who will be the one left at the end.
That unknown is half the fun. The other half is pretending to know that unknown. It’s time for some playoff picks. I look forward to coming back at the end of the month and laughing at these.
A couple rules I tried to follow: When in doubt, you should go with the better pitching, and trust your first instinct. So … here goes:
Pirates Over Giants
This pick was probably my toughest one. On one hand, the Giants seem to be on a nice run of winning championships every other year. I can see the Giants crushing Pittsburgh’s collective soul and making yet another postseason run. On the other hand, the Pirates come into the playoffs on an 18-6 run and are 51-30 at home, tied for first in the league. Neither of these teams has a dominant rotation, but this is just one game, and I think the Pirates ride the hometown momentum to the win.
Dodgers over Cardinals
Two of the best pitchers in the game. Two historic franchises. The Cardinals are as consistent as they come and the Dodgers are just as rich. I’ll admit, I really want the Dodgers to win. The Cardinals just refuse to go away and keep coming back in seemingly more bland and yet successful ways. But I also genuinely think the Dodgers should get this one. Clayton Kershaw is just a little better than Adam Wainwright and the Dodgers rotation as a whole is much better than the Cardinals.
Nationals over Pirates
The Nationals rotation is just too much here. Stephen Strasburg still throws nasty stuff. Jordan Zimmerman is coming off a no-hitter. Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez are better than anyone else’s number three and four starters. Pittsburgh may be able to steal one at home, but the Bucs don’t have enough firepower to get by the Nats.
Dodgers over Nationals
I am so excited that we could see Kershaw vs. Strasburg and Zack Greinke vs. Zimmerman. It should be a low-scoring series and it could easily go seven based on pitching alone. Plus, how great would it be to see Yasiel Puig and Bryce Harper share a field for seven games? Pretty great. The Dodgers will go to D.C. and take game seven from the Nats.
Athletics over Royals
The A’s have everything to lose. The Royals have nothing to lose. The A’s spent the summer putting the money in “moneyball” and nearly watched it all go to waste. The Royals are just happy to be here. If they start fast against Jon Lester they may have a chance, but I think the investment in Lester pays off for the Athletics and the Royals’ taste of the playoffs is brief.
Tigers over Orioles
The Orioles fought through injuries and a less-than-stellar rotation to an unexpectedly easy AL East crown. The Tigers made another big trade and rode an incredible rotation to a tougher-than-expected AL Central crown. In the playoffs, it’s tough to beat pitching like the Tigers have. Max Scherzer, David Price and Justin Verlander will get the Tigers by the O’s.
Athletics Over Angels
The Angels took seven of the last eight games from the A’s in the regular season, but I just don’t think Jared Weaver will be enough for the Angels. When Michael Shoemaker is your second best starter, its tough to win a series. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols are great, but Lester and Sonny Gray will shut them down.
Athletics Over Tigers
These two squared off at the trade deadline and they’ll square off in seven games here. It will be tight, but the Tigers have won these teams’ last two series and the A’s finally get them here. Billy Beane finally gets his team to the World Series.
Dodgers over Athletics
Pitching wins. The Dodgers have the best pitching. It really seems that simple here. The Dodgers have the game’s best pitcher and a spectacular cast around him on the mound and at the plate. The A’s will keep the games close, but they will come up short. Clayton Kershaw wins Game 1 and clinches the title with a win in Game 5.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.