Preview/Predictions for the 2013 ALCS

I have no clue. I have basically zero clue as to what will happen in this upcoming series between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. It’s like trying to determine who would win between an unstoppable force (the Red Sox) and an immovable object (the Tigers, especially their pitching staff). That said, there are some hints as to what the outcome may be, and it suggests that the Red Sox will be the ones coming out on top.

Most importantly, the Red Sox have their rotation set-up how they want it, a result of finishing off the Rays in four while the Tigers had to go five against Oakland. That means Max Scherzer will have to wait until game 2 and Verlander won’t be in until game 3. In contrast, the Red Sox have it all set up for Jon Lester to pitch game 1 against Anibal Sanchez, with Clay Buchholz set up to go ace-on-ace against Max Scherzer. In other words, they are set up to have a great chance at winning game one and have perhaps an even chance at game 2. And, in fact, that could be pretty important for the Red Sox, as it would mean they could stumble against Verlander and still be in command of the series.

Besides that, though, I feel like the Red Sox have an advantage in bullpen and in general health. The Tigers’ bullpen was rather shaky during the ALDS (remember how they allowed the tying run to come to the plate in game 5?), which was the complete opposite of what the Red Sox was, as Koji Uehara (aside from one bad pitch to Jose Lobaton) was lights-out and Craig Breslow was similarly effective. As for health, despite that home run, it’s obvious that Miguel Cabrera is still far from what he’s supposed to be, and that could change everything.

With the better pitching set-up, better bullpen, and better health, I’m going with the Red Sox in 6.


Preview/Prediction for AL Wild Card Tonight

It’s the Tampa Bay Rays at the Cleveland Indians tonight, with the winner advancing to the ALDS. While I’ve predicted the past two games correctly, I feel like this one will be tougher. But, ultimately, I still like the Rays here.

My reasons:

  • Pitching, pitching, pitching. Alex Cobb is a better and (slightly) more experienced starter than Danny Salazar, and the Rays bullpen, while tired and sometimes erratic, at least has a defined closer and role players, unlike the by-committee approach that now rules the Indians’ pen.
  • Hitting. Team WAR on Fangraphs for the Rays this season was 30.3, behind only the Red Sox. Team WAR for Indians was 21.8, 15th in MLB. Also, Evan Longoria is on fire. That alone can turn the tide of the game.
  • Fielding: The Rays have an advantage in most advanced fielding statistics and metrics.
  • Momentum: The Rays were playing only two days ago, on Monday. The Indians have been sitting around since Sunday.
  • Playoff experience: The Rays have been here before, most (but certainly not all) of the Indians haven’t.

So, I’m predicting a 5-3 Rays victory tonight.

The 2013 Season Prediction Spectacular

Okay, so maybe it’s not so spectacular. But here’s my predictions for division winners, awards, etc.:

American League:

East: Tampa Bay Rays
Central: Detroit Tigers (best record)
West: Oakland Athletics
Wild Cards: Blue Jays and Angels
MVP: Mike Trout
Cy Young: Justin Verlander
Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar
Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon

National League:

East: Washington Nationals (best record)
Central: Cincinnati Reds
West: San Francisco Giants
Wild Cards: Cardinals and Dodgers
MVP:  Joey Votto
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Rookie of the Year: Oscar Taveras
Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson
World Series: Nationals over Tigers, 6 games.

Previous Previews for 2013:

First Things That Pop Into My Mind

162 Things That Will Happen: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4

The Continuum’s 2012 World Series Preview

It’s the 108th World Series! If this were the Super Bowl, we’d give it a cool Roman numeral name, like World Series CVIII, but that’s not how it works, so it’s just called the “2012 World Series”.

On paper, it could be either a treat or a blow-out. The Tigers could maul the Giants like they mauled the Yankees, taking advantage of their superior pitching and their more powerful hitters.

But, on the other hand, the Giants will be fresher and have more momentum, having only just recently finished their series against the Cardinals. This might not seem like much, but consider that in history, there have been three times where a team that swept their LCS faced a team that went the distance in an LCS in the World Series. All three times, the team that had to go the distance won. In addition, San Francisco has the more settled bullpen, and they will have home-field advantage, primarily because various Giants (most notably the now-exiled Melky Cabrera) beat up on Detroit über-ace Justin Verlander in the All-Star Game.

So how will it turn out? Check out my analysis after the jump:

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