View From The Bleachers

October 3, 2005

My Opinion on the 2005 Playoffs (NL Edition)

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 10:22 pm

This edition hits closer to home because it reminds me that the Cubs are, yet again, absent from the list of participants. Nonetheless, here are my opinions on the four teams that will be battling it out for the NL pennant.

Each time I think about the fact that the Astros will be opening up their 2005 playoff series on Wednesday I think about how easily that could have been the Cubs. The Astros were brutal in the first third to half of the season and were virtually counted out. All of a sudden they start winning and put it all together to win the Wild Card. It’s frustrating to see them do it two years in a row when both times it could have easily been the Cubs. I think the Houston Atlanta series is the most intriguing for me in terms of pitching matchups. There are 5 big names taking the mound in this series in Pettitte, Clemens, Oswalt, Hudson and Smoltz. All of those guys are primetime pitchers and should make for an exciting series. I give the edge slightly to the Astros simply because their rotation is deeper than the Braves. It’s not too often that you can say someone is deeper than the Braves in the SP department, but I think the Astros fit the bill.

I find the Atlanta Braves postseason scene rather entertaining. It’s gotten to the point now that Atlanta fans have become bored with the Braves making the postseason. The only reason I know this for sure is the ease of buying playoff tickets. Two years ago I was able to secure very nice playoff tickets 3 days after they went on sale. In fact, there were tickets still on sale at game time. At Wrigley, however, tickets went quick and forced fans to travel to Atlanta and Florida just to see a game. This year I think the Braves have a balanced attack offensively and I am interested in seeing if that works better for them in October. I think it will.

Series Pick – Braves in 5

This is by far the best team in the Major Leagues and I fully expect them to win the World Series this year. There is no way Tony Larussa gets them there again and has a collapse of epic proportions like last year. This year his team will be solid straight through to the end. They are just too deep in all facets of the game and should figure to breeze through the playoffs.

These guys have no business being in the playoffs. When you look at how weak their record was, you can make the case that teams like Philly or Florida deserve the ticket to play in October far more than the San Diego Padres. I would like to take the time to revisit the predictions that I made in the beginning of the season and gloat that I did pick the Padres to win their division, along with all 5 other division winners that I correctly picked. If I could just nail down this Wild Card mess, i’d be in business. All that aside, look for San Diego to lay down and die in the first round.

Series Pick – St. Louis in an easy 3

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My Opinion on the 2005 Playoffs (AL Edition)

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 1:45 pm

Well, another year has passed and I am again watching the playoffs purely to see who wins and not to be devoted to any participant. With that being said, here are my opinions on the various participants in this years playoffs, beginning with the AL.

This is by far my least favorite team in the majors. There are a lot of people that say that they identified with the Red Sox up until last year because they had not won the World Series in such a long time. If that is the case, why not identify with the White Sox. Me, I’ve always hated the Red Sox for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure if it’s the team so much as it is the annoying Bostonian fans that watch them. They are so cocky and yet their team has a history of doing nothing up until last year. I am hoping and praying that they are swept in the first round by the White Sox. Nothing would give me more satisfaction than that.

I know what you’re all thinking about this team. I have to say, though, that I do not subscribe to that same hate process. Since moving to North Carolina from Chicago, I’ve developed an incredible pride for ALL things Chicago, including the White Sox. That doesn’t mean that I am a White Sox fan, but my hatred for them has significantly subsided. I now find myself cheering for them in this opening series with the hated Red Sox. I think they have an exciting team. I enjoy watch guys like Scott Podsednick steal bases and make big plays. It takes me back to the way baseball was when I was a kid. I understand that they are a power team as well, but that speed factored in with the hometown pride makes me cheer for the White Sox in the opening Series.

Series Pick – Red Sox in 4

Of all the teams in the playoffs this year, this is the one I identify with the most. The main reason for that is due to the amount of time I used them in a league for a game called Out of the Park Baseball. If you’ve never checked into it, it’s very much worth a look. Here is the website where you can view screenshots and price information. Because I used the Angels so many years, I am familiar with a lot of their players. I enjoy watching Vlad hit everything in site, despite pitch location. His charred batting helmet is also a joy each time I see it. I would like to see the Angels do well this year in the playoffs and I think they are quiet enough to this point that they could make a big impact in this opening series. They have had the opportunity to set their playoff rotation and should be ready to compete with the Yankees. If their starting pitching holds up, the Angels should do fine against a Yankees team that is also weak in the area of SP.

Ah, the evil empire. This year they look weak and beatable to me, along with every other team in the AL. Their starting pitching is thin and in my opinion does not have enough to get it done this year. After Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, the Yanks are working on spare parts like Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon as a result of injuries to the other 3 guys they penciled in at the beginning of the season. Both have been very good to this point, but what will happen on the big stage? Mussina and Randy Johnson have got to be lights out for the Yankees to be successful in 2005. Anything less than a World Series appearance and Joe Torre could be on his way out at seasons end.

Series Pick – Angels in 5

Tomorrow I’ll break down the NL matchups. Until then, show us your opinions in the comment section as well as vote in the Kerry Wood poll for 2006.

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October 1, 2005

Cubs make the right move

Filed under: General — Joe Aiello @ 3:09 pm

Cubs signed RHP Ryan Dempster to a three-year, $15.5 million contract extension through 2008. This is a smart move seeing that he can close or start for the team. It gives them the flexibility to chase a starter and a closer in the offseason and convert Dempster to whichever one they do not accquire. Good call guys!!!!

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