Alright, readers. Here's my chance to have some fun and give everyone an idea of who will win the World Series. Now, both me and Nelson predicted the Marlins and Red Sox would go to the series, me choosing the Marlins to win and Nelson picking the Red Sox. Obviously the Marlines had a dissapointing season and aren't in the playoffs and I doubt the Red Sox have the pitching to get to the big series. So here are my predictions:
Boston over Chicago, Four Games
LA Angels over New York, Five Games
Houston over Atlanta, Four Games
St. Louis over San Diego, Three Games
Angels over Boston, Six Games
MVP: Fransisco Rodriguez
Houston over St. Louis, Seven Games
MVP: Andy Pettite
Houston over Angels, Six Games
MVP: Roger Clemens
Yes, Houston is a popular choice. In fact Rob Neyer, Jayson Stark, and Peter Gammons all agree with the choice. But the fact is, I don't see anyone in the postseason who has anything resembling the four-headed monster Houston has for pitching. The Clemens-Pettite-Oswald combo is 1-2-6 respectively in ERA for the National League. Nothing like that has been done since Atlanta's John Smotlz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine in 1995. (That's three likely Hall of Famers, mind you) Oh yea, they also have this guy Brad Lidge in the bullpen. I may have to change my MVP at some point because if its not one of these starters, its going to be Lidge. For anyone who skipped over the glamour of the Boston-New York series last year, they saw an amazing performance from Lidge. He was a post-season monster unlike anything this side of Mariano Riveria. His slider is unhittable beyond explanation and him and Riveria go up against each other this postseason, I'd put the tape recorder on for the history books.
Clemens, as I've mentioned, had a great year for a outerwordly career. Pettite had a career year, as he has added many pitches to offset his cutter. Roy Oswalt has been one of the best pitchers since he came up in 2001 and he is the only pitcher with two 20-win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Offensively, they aren't the greatest, but I'd love to believe that Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio have something left to prove after all their great years. And Morgan Ensburg (36 HR, 101 RBI) isn't a slouch and neither is Lance Berkman. They are constant underdogs and I almost think its easier to pick St. Louis or the Angels. But the Angels don't have a true ace. I'm sorry, but Colon doesn't qualify as that in my book just because he has the wins. Lackey is a good pitcher too, but Byrd won't do too much for them. Donnelly has been off this year and Shields has broken down and Rodriguez isn't the dominating closer Lidge is. And offensively, they are more of a mess than the Astros are. Guerroro is their man, but Anderson has had a year plague by back injuries and a power outage and Steve Finley has been a big bust.
The Red Sox? Count them out. They'll destroy the soft arms of Buerhle, Garland, and the other White Sox, but they won't match up well against the Angels, just like the Yankees won't either. The have an incredible offense and the best 3-4 team I've ever seen in Ramirez and Ortiz, but that's not enough when none of their starters have a sub-4.00 ERA, Schilling has a 5.69, and the bullpen is the worst in the AL.
Mark down Houston. If they don't go to the series, they'll at least be the most exciting team to watch with the kind of pitching they have. That combination rivals the one we saw a few years ago in Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and everyone remembers what an incredible series that was.