Friday, September 28, 2007

The American League Playoff Picture

Holy Crap!!! October is in like two days. Seriously!! You know what that means?? Playoff baseball!! Thank goodness its finally here. Now I shall admit, the failure on my beloved St. Louis Cardinals to qualify for postseason action will put something of a damper on this years festivities, but I shall enjoy it nonetheless. I'm ready to sit back with a beer and watch a whole lotta games. Nothing else goes together quite as well as Postseason Baseball and Sam Adams Octoberfest. Bring on the goodness.

So, in order to get each of us in the mood for the playoffs, I figured I'd indulge in a bit of shallow analysis of the teams involved. What you shall find below is the teams involved, my opinion on how they got here and their chances moving forward, and (since this is a music blog) one song that characterizes my thoughts on the team's chances of winning the World Series, or just my thoughts on the team in general.

We shall start with the American League today, since the four teams involved have already been determined. I shall return sometime after this weekend with a National League edition.

Probable AL East Winner - Boston Red Sox

Band of Horses - The End's Not Near

With a 2 game lead and only three games to play, its looking more and more likely that the Red Sox will hold off the surging Yankees for the top spot in the east for the first time since like 1995, and as the title of the song suggests, I think they've got quite a bit of baseball left to play. I think they are the most complete team in the playoffs with a steady lineup (Manny really makes the difference) and top rotation (Beckett, Schill, Dice-K, with Wake thrown in for good measure) and a great bullpen (Jima and Paps). The Sox are my second favorite team and they're also my pick to represent the AL in the Series.

AL Central Winner - Cleveland Indians

Dashboard Confessional - Bend and Not Break

Jonathan Papelbon, Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, and Joe Borowski.....bwuaah?? Yes, Joe Borowski is a horrible closer. He of the 5.23 ERA isn't striking fear into the heart of anyone come the ninth inning. The Tigers proved last year you can make it to the World Series without having a good closer, but once in the WS, that terrible closer begins throwing the ball all over the infield. He's managed to get the job done 43 different times this season applying his 'bend and not break' method, but there's been quite a few rough patches. I suppose its not a long shot to say he'll screw up a very important situation at one point in the playoffs, but then again, i did say this analysis would be shallow. So there you have it.

AL West winner: Los California Angels of Anaheim Angeles

Sufjan Stevens - All Good Naysayers, Speak up! Or Forever Hold Your Peace!

I'm now officially the 189,344th person to make a "the Angels have a stupid name" joke.
Here's the thing about the Angels. No one ever talks about them. Be it they play on the West Coast, don't hit a lot of home runs, or don't hear much about them. But I'll tell you what, they scare me. Probably more so than any of the other teams on this list. Here's why: Good starting pitching?? Check (Lackey and Escobar) Star hitting power?? Check (Vlad) Good bullpen?? Check (Shields and K-Rod). So, tell me a reason they can't win the whole damn thing? There isn't one. They don't hit many home runs, but who cares. They're solid, they hit a ton of doubles and play good defense. I really wouldn't want to play them, but I suppose you can say that for any of the AL teams. Good luck NL.

Wild Card: New York Yankees

Whiskeytown - What the Devil Wanted

If I'm not mistaken, the New York Yankees were something like 12 games out of first place at one point this season, and yet here they are back in the playoffs for like the 59th straight time. It was clearly what the devil wanted, and it appears he got his way. There can be no other explanation to their inclusion in this postseason. We can all take solace, however, in the fact that the Yanks pitching sucks. Their hitting?? Awesome. Pitching?? Not so much. You've never heard the phrase, "Hitting Wins Championships" and there's a reason for that. That being said, I wouldn't want to play them. Here's hoping Choke-Rod continues his choke-foolerly, and that Clemens continues his douchebaggery.

So, that's what I've got for the AL. The NL is too close to call in every division, so i'll be back Monday or Tuesday with a look at the NL playoff teams. Holla back now



Kendall said...

Nice Rutledge. I am rooting for the Tribe to win but I'd be shocked if they beat the Yanks in the first round. What, 0-6 against them this year, with many thanks to your boy Borowski?

As you said, it will suck to face the Angels, although they've kind of sucked as of late. Good luck to your boys.

And please, pick a good song for the Cubs, like Loser or something worse.

ryan said...

Hey, don't forget though, i'm pretty sure that 0-6 record was built up on the bottom three starters of the Tribe's rotation. The Yanks haven't faced Sabathia yet this year, and only faced Carmona once. So, i think the've got a decent chance.

Oh, and don't worry about the Cubs. I've got something in mind for them.

Bunnie Lebowski said...

As a diehard Cubs fan who is not getting her hopes up for this year, I request The Black Crowes - Cursed Diamond as their song.

Bryan said...

Ah, I failed to realize that but I did hear another unfortunate stat that Sabathia is something like 1-7 all time versus the Yankees. Hopefully he'll rectify it come Thursday.

Sorry bunnie, but despite your nickname I must state that Steve Bartman is the man! Go D-backs!