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LCS Staff Picks
Tom VerducciRockies over D'backs in 5
The Diamondbacks seem unbeatable when Brandon Webb is on the mound: 11-3 since way back in July, including the only time somebody beat Colorado in the last eon. But Arizona BETTER not lose when Webb is on the mound, especially at home in Game 1. The Rockies could inflict a huge blow if they beat the Arizona ace. The rest of the D-Back rotation is spotty. The Rockies are just too balanced offensively, too good defensively and too darn hot in general to pick against.
Red Sox over Indians in 6
The best team over the 162-game season is playing at a peak level. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are healthy and hot. Enough said. But also, Josh Beckett has a confidence about him (and the top-shelf stuff) that cannot be dismissed, and Curt Schilling, who's always bloody good in October, gets two starts at Fenway if the Sox need them; he's 27-8 as a starter with Boston at home. The Indians won't go quietly, not like the Angels did. This team has a toughness about it. Expect close games, but I expect they'll fall the Red Sox's way.
Jon HeymanDiamondbacks over Rockies in 7
The Rockies are red-hot, but I wouldn't dare abandon my team now (I picked Arizona on Opening Day). Besides, they are pretty darned good at winning the close ones.
Indians over Red Sox in 7
Finally, I am a believer. Their one-two punch (Sabathia and Carmona) beats Boston's (Manny and Papi).
John DonovanRockies over D'backs in 6
As much fun as it is trying to figure out the Diamondbacks -- decent power, good attitude, really good bullpen -- the NLCS all comes down to sinkerballer Brandon Webb. Without him acing the Rocks two (maybe three) times, the D'backs are little more than Colorado with a shabbier defense and a much lamer lineup. Can Webb do it alone? No, he can't, and I simply don't have enough faith in the rest of the rotation to pick up his slack. It's been fun, Arizona. (Click here for Donovan's position-by-position analysis of the NLCS.)
Indians over Red Sox in 7
Like everyone else, I love the Indians' C.C. Sabathia-Fausto Carmona hammer, used beautifully in their win over the Yanks. Boston's Josh Beckett is a much more formidable ace than the Yanks had, though, and if Curt Schilling pitches like he did last time out, the Sox's 1-2 is every bit the equal of Cleveland's. This points to at least a couple of games being decided by the bullpen, and I still wonder about Boston's. I have no qualms about Cleveland's.
Jacob LuftRockies over D'backs in 7
There isn't much letup in the Rockies' lineup. D'backs starter Livan Hernandez worked in and out of trouble against the Cubs, but he won't be able to get away this time. Both teams have solid bullpens but Colorado's is a touch nastier.
Indians over Red Sox in 6
Both teams are stacked. This is the de facto World Series right here. I like the Indians because they are young, talented and hungry. They didn't throw away any at-bats against the Yankees. Everybody in the lineup stuck with the scouting report and made the pitchers work. When you get everybody on the same page like that, you're dangerous. (Click here for Luft's position-by-position analysis of the ALCS.)
Albert ChenIndians over Red Sox in 7
Cleveland's big bats make up for its shaky defense, but the series will be won by C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona and the two Rafaels (Betancourt and Perez) out of the 'pen.
D-Backs over Rockies in 7
Arizona hitters need to be more patient at the plate and Brandon Webb probably needs to win at least two starts in the series. But I believe in the Baby 'Backs and Arizona's outstanding bullpen.
Gennaro FiliceRockies over D'backs in 6
Arizona has an edge in the pitching department, but it's not a huge one. On the other hand, Colorado is far superior offensively and boasts the best defense in baseball. D-backs faithful can't be too happy with Bob Melvin's decision to go with a four-man rotation.
Red Sox over Indians in 7
It's impossible to ignore Josh Beckett's career stats in the postseason (1.74 ERA with three shutouts in six starts). Boston's ace will add at least two more wins to that resume in this series. Still waiting on that Joe Borowski postseason meltdown ...
Jon WeismanRockies over Diamondbacks in 6
These two teams are evenly matched -- that they finished a half-game apart in the NL West is no accident -- yet if the quick-and-dirty Division Series are a trend, one could emerge as clearly superior. Hard to know which one it will be. The Rockies have a strong offense, lovely defense and underrated pitching staff, but they don't have a starting pitcher the caliber of Brandon Webb -- nor do they have a pitching/hitting threat like Micah Owings. Luck could be as big a factor as anything in this matchup. I'll gamble that the Rockies can get to Webb in one of his starts and swing the advantage their way, but the main thing here is for people to realize this series could be a lot of fun to watch.
Red Sox over Indians in 7
What great starting pitching we should see, led by C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona for Cleveland and Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling for Boston. Although the Red Sox appear to have an advantage at closer, the Indians' middle relief shouldn't be dismissed. And shoot, it's sure hard to complain about either of these teams' offenses. I'm a little more confident in the rest of the Red Sox starting rotation than I am in Cleveland's, and with a potential seventh game in Boston, I'm going to swallow my hunch that this is Cleveland's year and tilt this one toward the Sox.
Ben ReiterRockies over D'backs in 6
So I managed the A-Rod October special on my first round picks: 0 for 4. So what? Like anybody batted 1.000? (Well, Jon Weisman did. Weisman, get on the Vegas Express. Pronto). In any event, I was in Philly for the first two games of the Rockies' demolition of the Phillies, and I'm not betting against them. I think Brandon Webb could win a couple, but I don't see Doug Davis (and his hideous 1.59 WHIP) or Livan Hernandez holding down Colorado's offense -– although the latter did post a 1.93 ERA at Coors Field this year and, being Cuban, appears to know something about humidors.
Indians over Red Sox in 7
I've been picking against the Sox all year. During spring training I picked them to miss the playoffs (whoops). Then I picked them to Angels in the ALDS (yikes). So I want to reverse the curse, as it were – but then I see that C.C. and Fausto yielded a single earned run to the Sox in 15 innings this season, and that they'll be on the hill a combined four times in this series. If that doesn't stop the Sox, then the mutant insects that Cleveland's groundskeepers have been breeding to feast on the neck of Jonathan Papelbon certainly will.
Alex BelthRed Sox over Indians in 6
These are clearly the two best teams in the league, probably the majors. The Indians have their two best pitchers, C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, lined up to pitch 4 of the 7 games. It would make sense to use Sabathia three times, but who knows if that is going to happen considering that Eric Wedge was intent on using Paul Byrd in Game 4 of the ALDS? Byrd and the Indians escaped disaster against the Yankees. Don't count on that happening again. And book Joe Borowski delivering at least one horrible outing for the Indians. It should be a good series, but the Sox have the better fielding and hitting.
Diamondbacks over Rockies in 5
Yeah, the Rockies are the hottest team at the moment. Why wouldn't they continue to roll against the Diamondbacks who, on paper, are overmatched once again? Because Arizona has simply found a way to win in spite of it's flaws. Plus, they've got Brandon Webb. He'll notch two wins and the D-Backs will finally subdue the Rocks.
Cliff CorcoranRed Sox over Indians in 5
The Red Sox stomped the Angels in the ALDS by a combined score of 19-4. Among the players who had health and/or fatigue issues entering the postseason, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings, Kevin Youkilis slugged .583, and Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz hit .375/.615/1.125 and .714/.846/1.571, respectively. Sure, Daisuke Matsuzaka continued to struggle, and Tim Wakefield, who will be Boston's No. 4 starter in the ALCS, sat out first round with back trouble, but the Indians pitchers they'll face, Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd (who's ERA this year was more than two runs higher at Jacobs Field, where he'll start Game 4, than on the road) are no more reliable. With Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling rolling, their big guns healthy in the 'pen and at the plate, the Sox should be able to compensate for the weak back end of their rotation.
Rockies over D'backs in 6
These teams are both making thrilling and improbable runs on the strength of young talent that's maturing at the right time. They're also division rivals who have already faced each other 18 times this season (with the Rockies holding a slight 10-8 advantage). The only game the Rockies have lost since Sept. 15 was a matchup of Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis on the final Friday of the regular season, but that was Webb's only victory against Colorado in six starts as he posted a 5.77 ERA against the Rockies in the regular season. Webb's struggles against Colorado tip the balance for me. Much as I liked Arizona's pitching matchups in the Cubs series, I dislike them here, particularly with Micah Owings, whom I believe is the D'backs second-best starter, only getting the ball once (in Game 4) while Ubaldo Jimenez moves up to Game 2 for Colorado, which sets him up to pitch the clincher in Game 6.
posted by SI.com | View comments |
What, nobody's taking the Yankees?
Aren't they gonna win it all this year? What am I missing?
Oh, yea, I'm certainly not missing the Yanks in the ALCS!
you forget that the sox beckett and matsuzaka yielded only 1 run in two games as well and they were on the road. I dont see how the indians doing the same is such a big deal.
After watching game 1 of the NLCS, I believe the D'Backs will be too star-struck to rebound. I pick the Rockies in 4.
As for the ALCS, as a member of Red Sox nation, I am worried about the 2-out RISP hits of the Indians. They seem to know when to hit. The Sox tend to hit more in bunches in random situations. They have the upper hand overall so I give it to them in 6. The Indians will definitely give them (and me) and scare in several situations.
I can only hope this all pans out as I have suggested. Then maybe the Sox will be in the series and the Rockies will reel after a real loss. Their kryptonite will be their realization that they are only human. I can only hope. The best team of the playoffs wins, not the best of the year. But that is all jumping ahead; as I have said, I am a Red Sox fan, so lets see one game at a time. I may have an opinion, but never hope beyond the game that was just played.
The Tribe will win this series, and beat the rockies in the World Series. Our aces have 4 games to dominate, now sit back and enjoy Cleveland fans!!!
The Tribe will win this series, and beat the rockies in the World Series. Our aces have 4 games to dominate, now sit back and enjoy Cleveland fans!!!
I guess all those "Webb will win 2 ( or 3!)" comment makers, will now eat crow.
The Cleveland Indians are going to destroy the Boston Red Sox in 6, or less, games. To Quote Ben Reiter's feelings on this matchup..".C. and Fausto yielded a single earned run to the Sox in 15 innings this season, and that they'll be on the hill a combined four times in this series." Fausto is one of the most unhittable pitchers I have ever seen throw a professional ball. The unbelieveable moment and speed of what he can throw raises the bar in the Major Leagues. Spot him 2 or 3 runs of support per game, and it is lights out. I wholeheartedly believe we are all witnessing the birth of one of the most dominant pitchers in the history of the major leagues. Don't forget, Cleveland went 12 for 26 (give or take) runs scored with two outs and men in scoring position against the Yanks. Let's play ball!!!!
It's a good thing you don't call them "Expert Picks". "Blind chicken picks" would be more appropriate.
I am just a humble baseball viewer from Israel, without any pretensions as to who is actually better. So I eagerly read all the staff's picks. Now I know what's going to happen. But then I said - hey, why not see how these guys did last time.
Well, I checked the DS Picks of a week and a half ago, and surprise - an absolute farce. Of 44 'picks' as to who would win the series, 24 were wrong. A blind chicken would do about the same. As for guessing the EXACT series score (which only 8 experts were presumptuous enough to try), they went 0-for-32. I think you should let the chicken have a try, she should do better.
Corcoran, you're an idiot. I like how you forgot C.C. and Carmona and the superior bullpen of the Tribe in your little analysis.
Reiter you are an ignorant moron. You have no idea what you're talking about. The 'mutant insect' comment completely disqualified your writings as nothing more than subjective fodder that ranks among that of The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy. If I didn't know any better I'd have thought you were his doppelganger. Go back to sleep pot-head.
the red sox will kill the indians in 6 games. the indians may have their one two punch but the red sox have 2 one two punches josh beckett and curt schilling and david ortiz and manny ramirez. and ortiz and ramirez don't need days off.
I love it when the experts pick against the Rockies! It cracks me up... you guys are hilarious!!! You can dismiss 18 wins in 19 games that easily, just because the D'Backs have The Chosen One, Brandon Webb? Ha! Double Ha!
I suppose you could say hindsight is 20/20, but it seems to me that the EXPERTS who get paid to do this should do a little homework. You'll find that foresight, in this case, is dead on as well. Yeah, the one loss the Rocks have suffered in the last month was to Webb. It also dropped his ERA against Colorado to a sparkling 5.77 this season!
Bottom line guys: can the Rockies finish this run without losing another game? Probably not. But who is going to be able to beat this team four times?
Colorado celebrates World Championship #1 in eight more games.
I cant wait too see Borowski get the ball in the 9th with 1 out,2 on againt ortiz with the Sox down two. Cleveland fans, get your heart pills ready.
Sox in 5
"two outs bottom of ninth,runners on the corners,Indians lead sox by 2. Borowski delivers---a swing by Ortiz high fly ball to right field that ball is gone!!! Ortiz does it again and the sox are headed to the world series on a walkoff home run by david ortiz" "Borowski blows his 2nd save opportunity of the series"
Joe Buck to Tim Carver-"Tim what do you think Eric Wedge was thinking when he decided to give Borowski the ball?"
Tim-"Well Joe the experts at SI.com stated that Clevelands bullpen was superior,but the forgot to mention that Borowski had 8 blown saves and a +5 era during the regular season. I think Eric Wedge read the "fungoes" blog and beleived his pen was better"
How can anyone claim the Boston-Cleveland series will be over in 5? That's insane.
The Sox are the best team in the majors.Josh Beckett is in a zone.The experience is very important in the playoffs and the Sox have plenty of that.The Sox win it in 6 or 7 games.Be ready for another World Series championship.Pitching is the key and the Sox have plenty and of course the all important home advantage.
Think Tribe/Sox will be a 7 game marathon, won by the Tribe. Let Borowski sell cotton candy and give Betancourt the ball. Might be the most refreshing post-season in recent memory with the Yanks, Mets and Braves safely tucked in their home theaters watching.
I remember a young John Elway showing a "superior" Clevland sports franchise how to win games. Now the young Rockies will show up a "superior" Cleveland sports franchise in the World Series. Denver has your number Cleveland!!
Well, I guess this means webb is not gonna win two games this series. Webb is a better pitcher than Francis, but Francis has a much much easier job pitching to Arizona. Rockies in five.
If Borowski wasn't Cleveland's closer, then the tribe would have the advantage in this series. But he is. Tribe loses in 7 with at least one blown save.
I have been a fan of Cleveland sports for a long time. I have watched the Indians and Browns snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on many occasions. The win over the Yankees has given me renewed hope that these guys have what it takes to win it all. Go Tribe! Go Tribe!
I knew an Elway/Denver/Colorado reference would be coming sooner or later. At least I don't have to look at his teeth anymore! The Sox are not much better than the Tribe (identical records people!) I like CC and Fausto pitching 4 games (and potentially some work out of the pen for game 7.) It's going to be reeeaaally close...but the Indians win this time!! GO TRIBE!!!
ok the rockies are on fire, but this is the playoffs where the teams that you play are as good if not better than as you. webb didnt have a great start, but the 7 hits that he gave up were singles. he is a dominant pitcher and will winn his next start. the diamondbacks demolished a very talented cubs team in 3 games and the rockies did the same to the padres. but in all reality the diamondbacks will win in 7.
on the other side, its hard to argue which team is better. they both have a great ace, but C.C. against beckett will come down to who can stay in the game longer, and that will go to C.C. Carmona is the third best pitcher so C.C. wil get the tribe 2 wins and so will Carmona giving the tribe the series. the 1-2 punch of manny and ortiz will be challenged by hafner-sizemore and after that the indians have the better lineup. the sox have a better closer than the tribe, but so did the yanks. the bullpen is close but the perez, betancourt and fultz combination is better than the okajima, gange an buchholz combination. the tribe will go on to win the series in 7 games with a borowski strikeout of big papi.
the real world series happened in the alcs, but the indians will continue there power surge and beat the diamondbacks 4 games to 1, with the lone loss by jake westbrook. and the mvp will go to C.C., who will have a 5-0 record in the playoffs this year.
I realize everyone thinks the ALCS is where the real show is at, but those of you not familiar with what happens in Colorado when a team gets like this better be prepared! The Rockies are going to sweep the D-Backs and beat the Tribe in 5, maybe 4. When it happens, you can all just stand in awe and wonderment.
When is the "national" media going to wake up to the Colorado Rockies. The announcers on ESPN Baseball Tonight didn't even know the name of Willy Taveras and stumbled through explaining why Tulowitzki was moved into the 7 hole in the batting order. Stay up, TEVO, or read something from someone who actually follows sports west of the mighty Mississippi! Coors field has been leveled by the humidor!! Coors field didn't even come close to surrendering the most homeruns. WAKE UP and actually watch the Rockies, learn their names and start making some logical assumptions about a team that has played above themselves and aren't showing any sign of slowing down. Holliday should be the runaway NL MVP, Tulo the ROY, Hurdle the NL Manager of the Year etc. This club has the 4th best record in baseball and NO ONE outside the mountain time zone even notices!! Get with it.
"Webb will win his next start" Thats wonderful, too bad it won't be until next season. The Rockies are playing with such swagger that the D-Backs will be hard pressed to win A game. Rockies in 4
Oh and Heyman - "The Diamondbacks will win because I said so...7 months ago" Good one buddy, keep up the good work.
Me, I'm a member of Red Sox Nation, so I say the Sox take the Rockies in 5, but I think the thing we can ALL agree on is:
THANK G-D NO MORE YANKEES!!!
Cassie Ranger's Mama
If Arizona don't start making waves soon is gonna be hard for then... If anyone saw the Thursday game will see a rockies team giving everything, playing smarter... If the 2nd game drops to the rockies this is gonna be a 4/0.
I have been a Rockies fan since Day 1. I'm very excited about how well they ave done this year I mean come on 18 wins of 19 games for real. GO ROCKIES!!!!!!!!!!
Simply this, whether Easterners realize it or not, these are the four best teams to reach the LCS in decades. Both series will be amazing to watch. There are some really great stories and amazing players. All four teams can take pride in their accomplishments and knowing that they did it with players that love to play, not players bought from other teams for hundreds of millions of dollars. These are four very gentlemanly clubs who play dynamic, pure, fast, top notch ball. Wouldn't it be cool if rather than speaking with fan pride and putting other teams and players down, we actually focused on the great talents of these young men?
All I can say is I really hope CC comes back for at least one more game in the LCS. If he's the best the Indians have then Boston will win in 5 (and I only said 5 becasue if Wakefield pitches game 4 and his back is still messed up it may be a tough game to win).
Well so much for your theory Alex....Webb went down in game 1 and so will the D-backs....the ride continues..it's Rocktober...and the Rockies are up 2-0 and going home to Coors Field...what is that 19 out of 20 games now?...Go Rockies
At this point the Red Sox and Yankess are the same team. Bloated payrolls, obnoxious fans with awful accents, cold and cruddy East Coast city they think everyone else admires and relates to. Who cares between the two. The only difference is one wears red and one wears black.
Reading this after Webb stunk it up in Game 1 I have to laugh at all the "plus the Diamondbacks have Brandon Webb comments". Please guys, keep picking everyone but the Rocks!
So much for Red Sox in 5. Wakefield and Dice-K have stunk and Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook shut down the "great" Boston lineup. I am looking forward to seeing the Red Sox go home for good Thursday night
Oh ye of little faith.
Well, here we go again. The medicore payroll of the Indians beating up the over bloated Red Sucks payroll. Oh, and by the way, way to go Manny Ramirez on show boating a homerun when your team is still down by 4 runs. Apparently you didn't see the scoreboard rounding the bases. That just goes to prove that the Red Sucks are all about individuals and not team. The Indians will prevail in this ALCS and will host the Rockies on October 24 in the Fall Classic. I know the nation will not watch the World Series with Cleveland and Colorado but people need to wake up. This will be the most pure Wolrd Series. There will be two TEAMS playing and not a bunch of individuals trying to look good on national TV.
Since this series started with the Indians and the Red Sucks the media is all over Josh Beckett and the Red Sucks. I hope Beckett takes a line drive in that stupid looking soul patch on his chin. The Jake is rocking in Cleveland and I think that may be enough to throw Beckett off his game. Go Tribe!!
Tribe fans, put the current series status in perspective. If one concedes that all Josh Beckett starts are locks for the Red Sox (a pretty solid assumption in the postseason) then the Indians need to win four of the other five games to win the series. So far they're 3 for 3 in those games. I like their chances.
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