Gonna hit you with a bunch of prognostications today, a few of which are sure to be right.
So much is happening. The weather is so beautiful. My mood is such that I’m almost giddy. I want to get up from my chair and fly around outside because I actually think I could fly today. And there are no artificial supplements feeding my good cheer, it is 100 percent natural.
Because these moods come along so infrequently, I’m not 100 percent sure how to proceed. But my work doesn’t step aside when my mood brightens, so let’s get to some sports. OK?
I’m going to start with the four divisional series in baseball, which I would like to think is enjoying a spike in interest based on the amazing end to the regular season. I have and always will love baseball because it’s the game I have the most history with. I have come to understand the nuances and intricacies of the game. I relish its romance. A baseball game can captivate me for hours. For some of you, I recognize that is not the case.
All four series coming up interest me. So let’s do a little predicting, what say you?
Tampa Bay vs. Texas – The Rays fought like crazy to overtake Boston for the American League wild card. They are going with a
rookie left-hander, Matt Moore, in today’s opener against Texas’ C.J. Wilson. The Rangers are tough at home and played in the World Series last season. There is no reason to pick Tampa, except that the Rays have this way about them. They don’t hit particularly well, except when they need to. Their pitching can be suspect at times, except when it’s not. Manager Joe Maddon seems to pull all the right strings; his decision to go with pinch-hitter Dan Johnson over Sam Fuld in the ninth inning against the Yankees on Wednesday night was brilliant. Especially when Johnson homered to tie the game, which the Rays won in extra innings. Texas has a great offense, just like last season. But is there enough pitching? I like Tampa to win this series in five games.
Detroit vs. New York Yankees – What a great series. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander opposes C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees today. So, you’re thinking 1-0? 2-1? Watch it be 9-8. Detroit has a solid team and its acquisition of pitcher Doug Fister at the trade sideline was one of the great deadline moves of the 2011 season. The Yankees are the Yankees. I think Joe Girardi did a brilliant job of managing New York this season. This team isn’t very deep in its starting rotation and the offense has been hit and miss. But here it is with home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. I’m going with the Tigers in five games.
Arizona vs. Milwaukee – For most, the NLDS has no intrigue. Milwaukee and Philadelphia are shoo-ins. Well, I’m here to tell you that Milwaukee and Philadelphia are shoo-ins. Wait a minute! No that’s not what I’m here to tell you! I’m here to write a bunch of sentences that end in exclamation points! OK, calm. I do think Milwaukee has too much for the Diamondbacks, but all everybody has done all summer long is underestimate Arizona. This team obviously gets its competitive fire from manager Kirk Gibson. And if the Brewers indeed do win this series, it will be over Gibson’s beaten-up body. I think this series will be a fight to the finish. Milwaukee clearly has the better personnel. But that Gibson guy can’t be discounted. Milwaukee in five.
St. Louis vs. Philadelphia – OK, I really don’t even want to go here. The Cardinals are a little to close to my heart for me to make a logical pick in this series. Everybody in baseball – and I mean everybody – is picking Philly. With good reason. The Phillies have Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee ready to go in Games 1 and 2; the Cardinals will counter with Kyle Loshe and Edwin Jackson. If the Cardinals had Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter to go in these games I wonder if anybody would give them a chance? Probably not. Well, I’m giving St. Louis a chance. There’s something about this team. I think they’ll push the Phillies. I think they can win the series. Am I picking them? Do I really have the gumption to do that? No, I’m picking Philadelphia in five games. I hope I’m wrong.
College football picks (home team in bold)
Texas A&M 26, Arkansas 21 (Arlington, Texas)
South Carolina 33, Auburn 14
Clemson 28, Virginia Tech 26
Alabama 31, Florida 17
Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 20
Iowa State 24, Texas 21
Baylor 36, Kansas State 27
Texas Tech 40, Kansas 34
Houston 28, Pittsburgh 24
Minnesota 27, Kansas City 21
Chicago 23, Carolina 17
Buffalo 30, Cincinnati 20
Cleveland 17, Tennessee 14
Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 14
Washington 28, St. Louis 20
Detroit 27, Dallas 24
New Orleans 40, Jacksonville 17
Atlanta 24, Seattle 7
New York Giants 23, Arizona 14
San Diego 37, Miami 17
New England 38, Oakland 27
Green Bay 30, Denver 13
Baltimore 24, New York Jets 20
Tampa Bay 23, Indianapolis 14