Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Postseason Predictions: Yanks Are Going Down

As baseball heads towards the conclusive autumn classic, this year’s postseason promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. The reason? My Yankees are sucking.

The Yankees are still the favorite heading in, and they will remain so until they prove otherwise. They have the experience, the class and the offensive fire- power to take home their 26th World Series Championship. However, and believe me it pains me to say this, I can’t in good conscience choose them to take the crown. Here’s why.

The key to post season victory is pitching. In the past, the Yanks have had this in abundance. Featuring a staff led by David Cone, the Yankee hurlers could go toe to toe with any staff in the majors, including the vaunted Braves. This year, the Yanks’ staff has utterly collapsed down the home stretch of the regular season, again led by David Cone, who features an ERA so large it could block the sun, 6.91 to be precise.

A lot of hype has been generated out of another part of the city that never sleeps: Flushing Meadows. With the amazing Mets back in the playoffs with an actual pitching staff this year, several fans believe that this is the year the Metropolitans will take the title. The problem is that the crazy lady on the corner of Wisconsin and M who claims that `the government killed Roger Rabbit’ has more credibility than these disillusioned fans. Yes, Mike Hampton, Al Leiter and Rick Reed will provide a formidable trio on the mound, but the Mets’ lineup from last year is no more, with only the core of Edgardo Alfonso and Mike Piazza remaining. Think Piazza will be a big factor in the postseason? Wait and see how many times he gets pitched around with Robin Ventura (who’s hitting .232 this season) batting behind him.

If you want to talk offense, lets talk about the St. Louis Cardinals. Lead off with the ever crafty Fernando Vina, follow him with J.D. Drew, then protect him with the bats of Jim Edmonds, Ray Lankford and/or Eric Davis (who have combined for 32 home runs and 105 RBI this season), and Will “The Thrill” Clark, who has tossed aside his walker to return to greatness, by batting .345 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI since being shipped from Baltimore to the Red Birds, and you have a middle of the order that can slug it out with the best of them.

Another key element to the postseason, particularly in the national league, is bench depth, and who better to come off the bench in a clutch situation than Mark McGwire? Sidelined with an injury since August, Big Mac will be relegated to pinch hit detail throughout the playoffs.

Pitching has been the trademark of the Atlanta Braves for nearly the past decade. With a starting five of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood, Andy Ashby and Terry Mulholland, the starting staff is formidable even without secondary ace John Smoltz. Additionally, teams really only need three starters for the postseason, shortening the list to Maddux, Glavine and most likely either Ashby or Millwood. The Braves have a batting order to be reckoned with as well, highlighted by youthful prodigy Andruw Jones and counterbalanced by the Big Cat, Andres Galaraga, who by all rights should receive NL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

Frank Thomas will most likely win AL Come Back Player of the Year award from the American League. The White Sox clinched their division before any other AL team, but they too have limped into the post season. Starting pitcher James Baldwin has been battling a nagging injury for much of the second half, hampering what seemed like a legitimate shot at 20 wins at the All-Star Break. The Pale Hose will rely on Baldwin, Cal Eldred and Jim Parque as their starters. With their recent struggles, however, their division series matchup with the Mariners will be an interesting one. Neither the White Sox nor the Mariners should advance to the Series, though. Neither has the experienced staff necessary to master the veteran lineup of the Yankees, who should overcome the other playoff team from the AL West, the divisional champion Oakland A’s, with little difficulty.

The dark horse of the playoffs will be the San Francisco Giants, who have quietly climbed to the top of the NL West and take homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, when they were picked by many to be a non-factor in the preseason. Lack of pitching could burn the Giants, but their first round meeting with the Mets, owners of the post season’s weakest lineup, could be a God-send. The key for the Giants will be big efforts from Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent. If these two can create some offense and get into the Mets’ bullpen, which has been as reliable as the Georgetown mail service, then the Giants have a real shot at moving on to the National League Championship Series against the Braves-Cardinals winner, most likely the Braves. The Giants were 3-6 against the Braves this season, but have taken the last two of three, and are playing their best baseball of the year heading into the postseason.

After numerous hours of contemplation, several mathematical equations and several coin tosses I have decided who will win this years World Series. Sadly, it won’t be the Yankees. The Yanks will reach the Series, gutting out a tight series with the A’s, who will bank on their heavy hitting offense and the youthful arm of 20-game winner Tim Hudson to make it to the American League Championship Series. The ALCS will see the Yanks take what should be another tight series from the White Sox whose pitching will most likely collapse like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

On the other side of the Majors, the Braves’ staff will subdue the Cards in what will be the best series of the post season, then beat back the Mets in what should be a sweep. The Mets may score a run, allowed by the Braves out of pity in the final game. Finally, and this is very hard for me to say, after what seems like an eternity the Braves will win a game against the Yankees, four of them to be exact, and take the championship back to Atlanta.

I know it’s hard, my fellow Yankees fans, but I just don’t see another title in the cards. To help us all through the emotional trauma, Red Sox fans will be holding a group therapy session next weekend on “How to Cope When Your Team Chokes in the Postseason.” I hope you all will attend with me.

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