“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.”—George Will
It’s October, which means fall and playoff baseball is in the air. And while many of our favorite teams will be watching the games from their respective couches this fall just like us, 8 teams will take the field starting tomorrow to see who will represent their league in the Fall Classic. Every pitch will be scrutinized, every hit crucial.
With life comes uncertainty, and the American League still has one game to go to determine the Central representative. However, the National League is set. For those of you who want the heads up to the National League Division Series, here it is, courtesy of those geniuses at the ULOT:
Philadelphia Phillies versus Milwaukee Brewers
Brewers pitcher and Cy Young candidate C.C. Sabathia carried Milwaukee with his 300-pound frame and rubber arm into the post-season, beating out the hapless New York Mets for the Wild Card. They now face the Philadelphia Phillies, NL East Champions for a second year in a row. The Brewers, recently recovered from an awkward managerial coup, are young, inexperienced, and exhausted, barely riding into the postseason. Sluggers Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have pop, but they’ve also never played baseball in October before. But the wild card for the wild card will be Sabathia, who must recover quickly again to match up against Philadelphia sluggers Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Pat Burrell. Milwaukee’s second starter Ben Sheets is out for the season, meaning this series might be quick and bittersweet for the Brew Crew.
ULOT X Factor: Cole Hamels. The Phillies have their own southpaw ace as well, except he’s not 300 pounds and worn out. If he pitches like he’s capable of and forgets his October woes from last year, Philly will see its first NL Championship Series since 1993
Bold Prediction: Phillies in 4.This won’t be close, unless the Brewers pitch C.C. Sabathia every game, which could be deemed by the United Nations as an egregious violation of human rights.
Chicago Cubs versus Los Angeles Dodgers
The Bad News Bears are back in the postseason, setting up what should be a dramatic run to the World Series. They won the division in what seems to be an eternity ago with dominant pitching and hitting. From what we’re seeing from Chicago’s North Side, the only team that can beat the Cubs is the Cubs. That and God, curses, a goat, Steve Bartman, Alex Gonzales, Mark Prior, Dusty Baker, and fate, that wiley muse. However, they do have the weapons to win. Rich Harden is their shiny new toy who reminds everyone of that annoying kid from Rookie of the Year who breaks his shoulder and ends up throwing a 100-mph fastball. Except this ain’t no movie, and Rich Harden actually can throw a 100-mph fastball. Their lineup is simply disgusting and should score tons of runs, the key word being should. Anything can happen to these Cubs.
They will face a Dodger team that is better than their record shows. Manny Ramirez can rake better than a gardener, and he’ll get help from Los Angeles’ young bats. Base stealers should know that Russell Martin has a cannon and hates when people steal his milk. They should also know that the Dodgers have one of the best bullpens in baseball and a rotation that could match up nicely with Chicago’s aces. Watch Game 2 starter Chad Billingsley; I’ve been high on this guy since he got the call from AAA last year. He’s the real deal.
ULOT X Factor: Manny Ramirez. Ramirez has batted .396 since defecting to Los Angeles. If his bat stays hot, the Cubs will be eating Wrigley dogs with loser sauce on the side by the end of the week.
Bold Prediction: Cubs in 5, but this will be a lot closer than people think.
American League preview once the field is set. Until then, play ball!