INTERESTING NOTE: ALL 4 TEAMS ARE FROM THE SOUTH DIVISIONS (THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!)
5. Charleston Country Boys (101-61) vs. 6. Atlanta Aliens (99-63)
*This matchup features the first wildcard team vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the World Series to play the Tampa Bay / Mexico City winner. The two teams split the season series 5-5. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:
Game 1: Chang (CHR; 20-6, 2.77) vs. Uribe (ATL; 22-5, 2.22)
Game 2: Halladay (CHR; 15-11, 4.16) vs. Pritchett (ATL; 17-8, 2.75)
Game 3: Crosby (9-6, 2.81) vs. Taylor (CHR; 19-10, 3.80)
*Prediction: It doesn't matter how you get to the dance, as long as you're dancing. Atlanta has struggled in 2 previous series while Charleston is 6-0 in the playoffs this year. Based upon expected win % for most of the regular season, Atlanta had the better team. They've got arguably the best SP in our world, and if that isn't enough, I asked my wife this morning and she said Atlanta is going to sweep my team 4-0. She said 2 of the games will be close and 2 of the games will be blowouts. When asked why she felt that we, she responded with "Uribe has struggled so far in the playoffs, and he's too good of a pitcher to let that continue. Plus, the algorithm has to start kicking in at some point." Ok, we all know she didn't talk about the HBD algorithm, but she did predict a sweep for the other guys. If there is one thing I've learned in my marriage, happy wife = happy life. Atlanta sweeps Charleston to represent the AL in the World Series.
1. Tampa Bay Orange Crush (110-52) vs. 6. Mexico City Margaritas (92-70)
*This matchup features the NL South division champions vs. the second wildcard team. Winner of this series will advance to the World Series to play the Charleston / Atlanta winner. Tampa Bay won the season series 9-1. Here are the probable match-ups for the first 3 games:
Game 1: Washington (TB; 19-8, 2.38) vs. Ausmus (MC; 14-10, 3.32)
Game 2: Mesa (TB; 17-4, 3.24) vs. Salvador (MC; 15-7, 4.00)
Game 3: Atchley (MC; 13-11, 4.79) vs. Arnold (TB; 17-6, 2.89)
*Prediction: Tampa Bay has been as consistent a team the NL has seen since the Richmond team that has since been dismantled. They are ranked 3rd in the NL in hitting and 1st in pitching. Despite not having a true ACE of the staff (at least based on ratings), TB has an amazing 5 SP's with over 16 wins. That type of depth will serve them well in a 7 game series. Mexico City has been like the little engine that could this year. They held off CSP for the final playoff spot. I picked against them vs. Pawtucket and they took care of business. I picked against them vs. Las Vegas, and they proved me wrong. So, behind the sound logic behind your current commissioner, I am going to pick Tampa Bay in 5 games (YOU'RE WELCOME MEXICO CITY!).