The playoffs are here! And you know what that means, right? Yes, it means bleary-eyed baseball. TBS gets the telecasts. Let this writer state emphatically that TBS would not be this writer's first choice...or second...or third. Not only is this author not a fan of their telecast, but once again, Mr. Bud Selig has allowed the networks to bully around the fans. Common sense would dictate that the East Coast game would be on earlier and the game from Texas would be later. But no, the Yankees make the dollar signs dance in the eyes of TBS. And because of that, parents on the East Coast must again decide whether to let their kids stay up past midnight to watch their favorite teams. It's brutal and stupid and not in the best interest in the game. TBS, you fail on the TIS scale (inside joke).
Oh yes, this post is supposed to be about picking games, not ranting like some liberal democrat or ultra conservative. Right. So let's do that then. Here are the big picks for the first round of the playoffs:
- The Rangers over the Bay Rays: There is much admiration for starting Matt Moore. This is what separates the Bay Rays from the Yankees. They have the freedom to make whatever choice feels best. The Yankees should start Jesus Montero at DH and not Jorge Posada. But they do not have the freedom to even consider those kinds of things. But Moore has never thrown more than five innings of major league ball. Truly, he is impressive. And he could very well hold the Rangers down for five or six innings. But he will need relief and that's problematic. C.J. Wilson, meanwhile, should be strong and he is a worthy ace who if he can hang with Moore in the early innings should win the game in the long run.
- The Yankees over the Tigers: The Yankees faced Verlander twice during the season and held him to two no-decisions and a 4.50 ERA. The games were uncharacteristic for Verlander in that he walked more batters and struck out less against the Yanks than other teams. But he's still powerful and had a great season. C.C. Sabathia struggled down the stretch. He had several chances to get 20 wins and couldn't get there. He's had trouble with Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera (but who doesn't!?). Other than those two, the Tigers' line up can be handled, so the key for Sabathia is to handle those two carefully and be really tough on everyone else. And this writer doesn't care what anyone says, Sabathia's weight is an issue. Since coming to Spring Training in better shape, he's put on a ton of weight and that hurts him. But overall, the Yankees are home where they feel good and they smash the ball. So that's the pick.