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BaseballEvolution.com Post-Season Coverage

2012





October 24, 2012 - World Series Preview - Tigers vs. Giants - Three times since the LCS expanded to a best-of-seven format has a team that completed a four-game sweep advanced to face a team that went the full seven. In all three instances, the team with less rest won handily. San Francisco looks to continue that tradition against Detroit. One thing is shaping up to be certain: Baseball fans are in for a wild ride.





October 14, 2012 - NLCS Preview - Cardinals vs. Giants - The 2012 NLCS features two teams that by all rights should not be there. Both teams have proven their ability to come from behind, and know how to win the close games. This series may well come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.





October 6, 2012 - NLDS Preview - Giants vs. Reds - Two clubs who stared adversity straight in the eye and refused to blink will meet Saturday in Game 1 of the NLDS at AT&T Park, where ten years previously Reds manager John B. Dusty Baker had skippered the Giants into the World Series. This Division Series matchup features the best combined record of the four and promises to go down to the wire.

October 5, 2012 - ALDS Preview: Tigers vs. A's - Everyone thought the Detroit Tigers would coast into the postseason, but they wound up squeaking in tied for the fewest wins of any postseason team. No one gave the Oakland A's a prayer at postseason play, but they swept the World Series favorite Texas Rangers to end the season, winning the most difficult division in baseball.



2011

2011 NLDS Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers - The Milwaukee Brewers won their first division title in 29 years. The Arizona Diamondbacks had a .424 winning percentage in their last 465 games before winning a division title this season. Clearly, this is a matchup of two of the more unlikely division champs in the annals of baseball.


Both teams have a good balance of offense versus defense. Both teams have been incredibly good in one-run games. Both teams benefit greatly from having their fifth starter made irrelevant by a five-game series. Both teams have a dominant back-end of their bullpen. Neither team has a wealth of postseason experience. So who the heck comes out on top?



2011 ALDS Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees - Two months ago, the Detroit Tigers were a running joke. At six games over .500, the Tigers figured to get beaten down in the postseason should they hang on to win the AL Central. After going 38-16 in the final two months of the season, Detroit has become the chic pick to represent the American League in the World Series.

Somewhere along the way, it's been lost that the New York Yankees have averaged over 98 wins per season over the past three years and don't get the chance to beat up on weak AL Central teams the way that the Tigers do. The Yankees need to be considered the favorites to win the American League Championship, not the Tigers.


2011 ALDS Preview: Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays - This time last season, the Tampa Bay Rays were the best team in the American League and hosted an upstart Texas Rangers ballclub that only made the playoffs by virtue of playing in baseball's second-weakest division. Keith predicted the Rays to sweep, but the Rangers took the series in five games.

This year, it is the Rays who only make the postseason thanks to an historic Red Sox collapse and a Yankees team that had nothing to play for in the final game of the season. Does the underdog win again, or does Texas just have Tampa's number?



2010

World Series Preview - Giants vs. Rangers - Among four Baseball Evolution prognosticators, only Scott picked the Texas Rangers to make the postseason and only Richard predicted the San Francisco Giants would get there.  But neither Scott nor Richard had either team slated for 90 wins nor a World Series appearance.  At the end of May, Texas was two games over .500, San Francisco was three, and both teams appeared to be
the solid-yet-unspectacular teams that most people anticipated.  But the Rangers took steps to improve their pitching, the Giants took steps to improve their offense, and the result was two teams who were well-rounded enough to reach the postseason.    Only one of them is good enough to be World Champs, and it's apparently going to take five games to determine which one.  

Richard: Giants in Five | Keith: Rangers in Five






NLCS Previews - Phillies vs. Giants - Two of baseball's hottest teams square off in the NLCS this year. The Giants rode a 45-29 record in the second half and a 19-10 September record to overcome the Padres' early lead in the NL West while the Phillies went 50-25 in the second half and an absurd 23-7 in the final month of the regular season to finish with the best record in baseball.

The series begins - and potentially ends - with one of the best postseason pitching matchups our generation has seen: Tim Lincecum versus Roy Halladay.

Richard: Giants in Seven | Asher: Phillies in Six

ALCS Preview - Rangers vs. Yankees - In a shocking five game series against the Rays, the Rangers proved that they could beat a superior team on paper, defeat a left-handed Cy Young contender (twice), and win on the road (three times). They may need to do all of those things again in their next challenge, plus one more important task.

They need to prove that they can beat the Yankees.



NLDS Preview - Braves vs. Giants - Back in March, four out of four Baseball Evolution prognosticators all selected the Atlanta Braves as the 2010 World Series Champions.  Richard was the only one of the four who correctly predicted that the San Francisco Giants would make the postseason, and he had the two squads meeting in the NLDS with the Braves advancing in five games.

With the Giants entering the postseason as one of baseball's hottest teams, will Richard change his NLDS prediction?

ALDS Preview - Yankees vs. Twins - The Minnesota Twins have lost four division series in the past seven years, including nine straight playoff losses and three series losses to the New York Yankees. Those Yankees, however, broke a similar postseason slump last year in a big way, winning a World Series title in their inaugural season at New New Yankee Stadium.

Can the Twins do the same in their first season at Target Field?

ALDS Preview - Rangers vs. Rays - The Tampa Bay Rays were the best team in baseball's best division, while the Texas Rangers cobbled together 90 wins in baseball's second-weakest division. Most of these Rays players come armed with postseason experience, hungry after losing the 2008 World Series. Most of these Rangers have never played in the postseason, and the franchise hasn't won a postseason series in its 50-year history.

All signs point to this being an easy victory for Tampa, but the Rangers have surprised all year. Can they continue to shock the baseball world by upsetting the Rays?


October 5, 2010 - Homefield Advantage - On the second-to-last day of the season, the Tampa Bay Rays used Andy Sonnanstine for just his fourth start of 2010. In their season finale, the New York Yankees went with Dustin Moseley, who made his ninth start and finished the year with an ERA just under 5.00. Jason Bartlett, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher are among the healthy Yankees and Rays players held out of starting lineups in the final series of the year. Evan Longoria did not play the entire final week of the season because of a minor quad injury.

You wouldn't know it from the way they went about their business, but these teams were battling for both the AL East crown and for the best record in the American League. The Rays wound up winning both due to their unparalleled depth and inferior opponent in the Royals, but the alarming development is that neither team tried their best to get home field advantage. This is surprising, since home field advantage has never been more important in Major League Baseball.

2009



October 27, 2009 - World Series Previews – This is the matchup that most people were expecting and most people were hoping for: The Philadelphia Phillies versus the New York Yankees. The Phillies are the first team since the Yankees to defend a World Series title. The Yankees go for World Championship #27 and World Championship #1 in their new stadium. Who will prevail? Keith and Asher take sides:

Asher: Yankees in Four | Keith: Phillies in Seven




October 15, 2009 - NLCS Preview – The first time two teams faced each other in the NLCS in consecutive years occurred in 1977-1978, when the Dodgers twice defeated the Phillies for the right to lose to the Yankees in the World Series. 


The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies once again face off in the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row, with the Phillies hoping to do the unthinkable and the Dodgers hoping to avenge last year’s loss.  Which team will prevail?



So much for baseball being 90% pitching. The two best offenses in baseball will square off in the ALCS despite their middling pitching staffs. The four dominant American League starters each sat at home for the postseason, so the AL crown will go to the team with the best offense. Is that team the Angels or the Yankees?





The Minnesota twins defeated the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in 12 innings to become the AL Central champions Tuesday night. They also became the fifth home team to win a tiebreaker playoff out of six tiebreaker playoffs in the Wild Card era, justifying the rule change that altered home field determination from a coin flip to head-to-head record.

But the Twins aren't thinking as much about the coin flip that robbed them of a playoff berth in 2008 as much as they are considering how in the heck they are going to beat the heavily-favored New York Yankees in a best-of-five series. The Yankees won 16 more games and scored 98 more runs than the Twins have, despite having played in one fewer game. The Twins have momentum, but will that be enough to orchestrate an upset?



The Red Sox have faced the Angels in the American League Divisional series three times in the past five seasons, and their upcoming 2009 showdown will make it four times in six years. So far, Boston is 3-0 in those series and 9-1 in those games. Because of this, Angels fans are terrified and the Red Sox are heavily favored. Will history indeed repeat itself?



2008

World Series Review

It has been 27 years between World Championships for the Philadelphia Phillies, and for some reason, everyone is acting like that is an absurdly long time, despite the fact that Philadelphia's previous World Series drought had lasted nearly 100 years.  The ridiculous Curse of William Penn only had the power to last for what was almost the exact odds for a team to win the World Series, since there were 26 teams in the majors between 1981-1992, 28 between 1993-1997, and 30 between 1998-2008. 

Not only was the Philly victory odds-on, but it was predictable as well.  Keith predicted that the Phillies would win in five with the Rays taking Game Two after correctly pegging the Phillies over the Brew Crew in four games in the NLDS.  Keith even had this to say in an email to Asher after Asher had talked up Gabe Gross: "I have been trying to figure out why Eric Hinske hasn't been on the postseason rosters."  Hinske, of course, would be a late addition to the World Series roster, homering in his first at-bat in nearly a month before fanning in the final at bat of the series.

What wasn't necessarily predictable was the postseason ineptitude of Akinori Iwamura following his strong showing in the ALDS.  In fact, Keith writes that it has been an unexpectedly disappointing season for Asian players in general.

One of the first things you learn about when you move to Philadelphia is the Curse of Billy Penn. During Rocky's famous run up the Museum steps, you can see downtown Philadelphia circa 1979 behind him. There are no tall buildings. Apparently there was once a time when a “gentleman’s agreement” guaranteed that no buildings would be built taller than the top of the hat of the statue of William Penn atop City Hall. For decades this agreement was kept, but in the early 1980s, the gentleman’s agreement was breached, and Philadelphia now has several buildings that tower over the statue of the state’s namesake.

And in case you haven’t heard, the city’s major professional sports teams haven’t won a championship since, despite the fact that they have all had their shots. 2008 represents the City of Philadelphia's most recent chance to break the curse. Will it happen?

The Rays know how to celebrate

After bringing up the rear of the AL East division in nine of 10 seasons and never finishing with more than 70 victories in a single season, the Tampa Bay franchise is headed for the World Series. Gregory revels in a remarkable ALCS and looks forward to the World Series in his final Pepper.

ALCS MVP Matt Garza is making Bill Smith rue his first trade as Minnesota Twins general manager, a November, 2007 deal that sent Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan to the Rays in exchange for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie.

Cole Hamels won the 2008 NLCS MVP Award
The Philadelphia Phillies are truly a franchise with a troubled history. Their .470 historical winning percentage easily ranks the lowest among non-expansion franchises. Between 1919 and 1945, the team finished either 7th or 8th in an eight-team league 20 times, and between 1918 and 1948, the Phillies only finished better than 6th in their league three times and only better than 5th once (a 4th-place finish in 1932).

Before Wednesday night, the Phillies had only won five pennants in 125 years. They have made it six in their sixth straight season of winning baseball. Congratulations, Philadelphia, on your recent successes!


2008

World Series Preview

One of the first things you learn about when you move to Philadelphia is the Curse of Billy Penn. During Rocky's famous run up the Museum steps, you can see downtown Philadelphia circa 1979 behind him. There are no tall buildings. Apparently there was once a time when a “gentleman’s agreement” guaranteed that no buildings would be built taller than the top of the hat of the statue of William Penn atop City Hall. For decades this agreement was kept, but in the early 1980s, the gentleman’s agreement was breached, and Philadelphia now has several buildings that tower over the statue of the state’s namesake.

And in case you haven’t heard, the city’s major professional sports teams haven’t won a championship since, despite the fact that they have all had their shots. 2008 represents the City of Philadelphia's most recent chance to break the curse. Will it happen?

Championship Series Previews
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies each went an impressive 17-8 in September and both handled their Division Series opponents without much trouble. In both 1977 and 1978, the Dodgers slipped past the Phillies for the right to lose to the 100-win New York Yankees in the World Series. What is in store for 2008? Tony breaks it down.




Even though Asher undershot the Tampa Bay Rays' 2008 win total by a full 10 games, he came closer to their actual record than most prognosticators did. Meanwhile, he overshot the Red Sox' win total by six games. Many of what has now become the nation's most annoying fan base are undaunted by the fact that the Rays won the AL East this season and predict that the Red Sox will make the World Series for the third time in five years.

What prediction does Asher, who has adopted the Rays as his favorite American League team, now make, knowing that his track record in picking postseason series is lacking? Find out in his ALCS Preview.

Division Series Previews

What does Angels-Red Sox make you think of? The two teams that have bludgeoned the Yankees in the playoffs for the better part of this decade? Coast-to-coast rivalry between one of the original American League teams and one of baseball history’s more anonymous expansion teams?

For many, it is the matchup between the two top teams in the playoffs this year. One of them has to go home, and Asher tells you which one he believes it will be.




If you think the Brewers versus the Phillies is a mismatch, get a load of this one. Some people give the White Sox a chance because they have momentum, experience, and a mouthy manager. Keith does not. Not only were the Rays a far superior team in the regular season, but they are rested, will play in front of packed houses, and are better-prepared for a short series.





The Philadelphia Phillies had another hot September to leapfrog the New York Mets and enter the postseason. That did not help them advance in the playoffs last year against a sizzling hot Colorado Rockies squad, but this year they face a Milwaukee Brewers team that faded in September despite the incredible efforts of Workelephant C.C. Sabathia. Keith analyzes the teams and determines who has the edge in this series.





The Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers have each made an impact late-season acquisition (Rich Harden and Manny Ramirez). Both teams developed an all-around fantastic young catcher (Geovanny Soto and Russell Martin). Both franchises house fan bases hungry for a World Series victory (100 years and 20 years). Yet the Cubs and the Dodgers are more unalike than alike, writes Keith, who contrasts the teams and gives his prediction for the series.





2007

Why were the Rockies swept in the World Series? Was it divine intervention? Were they just Rusty? Or were the Red Sox simply the better team? At Baseball Evolution, we tolerate all faiths and beliefs... well, excepth the belief that Rube Marquard belongs in the Hall of Fame. In fact, scratch that whole tolerance thing.

Keith's take
Gregory Pratt's take







Guest contributor Gregory Pratt isn't shy about making it clear where his loyalties lie for the 2007 World Series. In a letter to the Colorado Rockies, he spends as much time expounding on reasons not to like the Red Sox as he does lauding the Rockies themselves.





The Colorado Rockies took two of three from the Boston Red Sox this June, demolishing aces Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling in the process. Tim Wakefield gave Boston their only win of the series with a 4-hit 8-inning masterpiece.

This all happened in Fenway Park, and in this World Series, Boston will need to not only dominate at home, but also to take a game or two in Colorado. This should hardly seem an impossible task for a team that has won 103 games in a difficult American League, despite how ridiculously hot the Rockies are.

2007 World Series Preview


The Boston Red Sox beat the Cleveland Indians five out of seven times during the regular season, had a Pythagorean record of .624 to Cleveland's .564, and played a tougher overall schedule than the Indians did. Yet they scored only one run in 15 innings against dual Cleveland aces C.C. Sabathia and C.C, Fausto. We take a closer look at this pairing of two excellent teams in our ALCS Preview.





The Colorado Rockies won 10 of the 18 contests between these two teams, but their final two wins against the Arizona Diamondbacks came with low-stakes for Arizona, as the D-Backs had already clinched a playoff berth. Not only are these two teams evenly matched, they are similarly matched; both squads are laden with young talent with a couple of veterans sprinkled in.

Both teams have excellent bullpens as well. Get an in-depth look at how these underrated clubs match up in Keith's NLCS Preview.





When the New York Yankees released left-handed specialist and submariner Mike Myers, it raised a lot of eyebrows. He was ostensibly the Yankees' most effective reliever at the time, taking a 2.66 ERA with him as he was booted off the team. Even though it was his third straight excellent season, Myers wasn't handling left-handed batters as well as he had in the past.

But after Myers got walloped outing after outing with the White Sox, Brian Cashman and company looked like geniuses... until Game 2 of the ALDS, that is. With the bases loaded, two outs, and Travis Hafner at the plate in the 11th inning, Joe Torre had to stick with Luis Vizcaino (1.58 WHIP vs. L), who gave up a game winning single to the Cleveland slugger.

Myers may or may not have been the answer, but the Yankees failed to replace Myers with any left-handed specialist whatsoever. For the record, Hafner is 1-for-7 lifetime against Myers, and had walked in his only 3 plate appearances against Vizcaino before the clutch single.




2007 Division Series Previews -

We'll be honest - Baseball Evolution did not fare well in predicting the winners in the first playoff round last year. We're going to do better this time around:

NLDS- Rockies vs. Phillies
ALDS- Angels vs. Red Sox
NLDS- Cubs vs. D'backs
ALDS- Yankees vs. Indians




2006 World Series Preview:

Before the season started, Scott was extremely high on the Detroit Tigers, projecting them to win 88 games and the AL Wild Card. While Keith certainly did not share his enthusiasm, when Keith noticed that the online sportsbook Keith uses was giving 100:1 odds on the Tigers winning the World Series, he brought this fact to his brother's attention. After some urging, Keith convinced Scott to put a dollar on the Tigers. Why not?

If Scott decides to wager money on the Cardinals now, he can get nearly 2:1 odds in doing so. Keith considers the issue of whether Scott should hedge his season long Tigers bet with a countering bet on the Cardinals?



2006 League Championship Series Previews:

Oakland vs. Detroit - The BaseballEvolution.com staff remains mired in the waste of its post-season picks. How the staff could go 0-4 shocks the mind. Asher dwells on this as he finds himself as devoid of confidence as Alex Rodriguez with men on base, or Jason Giambi trying to start a double play. In the end, though, Asher writes that Tigers will prove to be a Team of Destiny, and will head off to the World Series to face the Mets. Given his track record up until now, that probably means that the A's should make reservations for St. Louis.


Cardinals vs. Mets - I'd like to think that we weren't the only ones who were surprised to see a Cardinals team that had a .485 winning percentage since May 1st drub a Padres squad that had a .572 mark over that same span.  Anything can happen in a short series, which is part of the reason that the Mets should not be quite the 2:1 favorites over the Redbirds that you see in most of the sportsbooks.




2006 Division Series Previews:

Athletics vs. Twins - Asher writes that frankly, if Francisco Liriano was healthy, we would be talking about how the Twins were about to Schilling and Johnson their way to a World Series title. Since he is on the shelf, the Twins will have to earn most everything they get. But with the way the A’s and Tigers have played coming down the stretch, the Twins should really only have to worry about getting past the Yankees in order to get to their first World Series since 1991.






Cardinals vs. Padres - The Cardinals had better hope they take Game One with Cris Carpenter on the mound, and they had better hope Pujols and Rolen can hit big, because the Cardinals are not a team built to win in the playoffs. Asher doesn’t think they’ll even take Game One, predicting that while last year the Cardinals swept the Padres out of the playoffs in the first round. This year, the Padres get even.






Dodgers/Mets - With the Padres, Twins, and Yankees huge favorites in their respective series, this Dodgers/Mets matchup looks to be the most interesting of the first round, in Keith's opinion. It features one team who coasted into the playoffs, everyone assuming in July that they would represent the NL in the World Series. It features another that quietly finished the season hotter than any other team in baseball.




Tigers/Yankees The Tigers just got swept by the Royals, so guess what's going to happen when they face the Yankees? Right. The games aren't even going to be close, writes Tony Aubry, as the free-falling Tigers simply don't match up well against the Evil Empire.

2005 Postseason Previews:

League Championship Series -

Angels vs. White Sox

Astros vs. Cardinals

Division Series -

Astros versus Braves

American League Divisional Series

Padres versus Cardinals

2004 World Series Preview:

Cardinals vs. Red Sox






Think you can predict the postseason better than we can? Send your prognostications to submissions@baseballevolution.com


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