Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Baseball Offseason Has Begun.

As a Chicago Cubs fan, usually as soon as the regular season is over, I really just can't wait til the off-season begins. Over the years, other teams celebrating championships has become less and less appealing to me, to the point where its tough for me to watch the World Series, I guess I'm just too addicted to me team and too bitter to enjoy others success. Lately its been nice to at least make the postseason but the hasty exist have made me care even less about the postseason. According to the TV ratings I wasn't the only one this year as the 08 World Series experienced record low ratings and an embarrassing finish.

Anyway now that, that is over we can get to the good stuff. The first trade of the off-season was made to today, with the Marlins shipping Mike Jacobs to the Royals. Over the next 3 months there will be many more to follow.

And so, my top 5 baseball off-season questions.

5. What Will the Mets do to turn things around?
Last year they went out and got Johan Santana, who had an amazing year, but it still wasn't enough to get in the playoffs. The Mets have as many stars any any team in baseball, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and the aforementioned Santana. Is it time to rebuild? There has been rumors that they may be shopping Beltran. no matter what they do, the fans in New York won;t put up with the underachieving team much longer.

4. Who will sign Mark Teixeira?

Teixeira is one of the premier names on the market this year as far as offense goes. He was nothing short of fantastic after being traded to the Angels, and is great with the glove too. He would be a huge asset to any team. The Angels will likely make a hard push to re-sign him. There may only be a few teams out there that need a 1B and can afford his salary.

3. Will Manny re-sign in LA?
So far we have already heard the dodgers offered him a contract, then we heard they actually hadn't. We do know that Manny said LA was like being on vacation all the time after the trade last year, and his numbers seem to show it. He was the best hitter in baseball during August and September. Some also believe he may go to the Bronx to stick it to his former team in Boston

2. Can the Brewers somehow hold on to CC Sabathia?
If Ramirez was the Offensive MVP during August and September, Sabathia was surely the Cy Young during those 2 months. He literally almost single handily carried the Brewers into the playoffs on his back. Losing both Sheets and Sabathia would be a huge blow to the Brewers so they are likely to offer anything and everythign they have to keep him. Still there is almost surely to be higher offers available, so it will depend on whether or not CC is willing to give a hometown discount to the Brewers.

1. Who will win the Jake Peavy sweepstakes?

The Padres have made it known they are going to shop the 2007 Cy Young winner to the highest bidder. Peavy does have a no trade clause and is said to prefer to stay in the NL. He has given the padres a list of preferred teams that includes the Cardinals, Braves, Cubs, Astros and Dodgers. The Braves are believed by many to be the favorites but they do not want to part with their top prospects. whoever lands Peavy though will get an instant ace.

Anyway, I'm sure there are to be many surprises and interesting story lines that will develop before spring training in February. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The NBA "Big 9", Power Rankings

As with the NFL, we will be checking in weekly with an NBA power rankings. The rules will be the same. The 9 teams we think are playing the best right now. So if the Lakers lose 3 strait we're not keeping them in the top 3 just because they are the Lakers. Win or go home. Besides... The Lakers suck... :P

So here you go. The Week 1 Edition..

1. Boston Celtics - They're the still the Champs and looked solid in their opener against LeBron and co.

2. Los Angeles Lakers - I try to keep objective as much as possible but I really don't like the Lakers. You can't deny their talent though. They won the west with Bynum unavailable and look to be even stronger this year.

3. New Orleans Hornets - Added James Posey to an already imposing roster. If Peja can turn back the clock they can win it all. If not I still think they're a player away.

4. Utah Jazz - Big year for the Jazz. Will the potential free agency of Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur be a huge distraction or will the opportunity for a big payday have them playing better than ever? As always it will come down to Kirilenko.

5. San Antonio Spurs - Everyone seems ready to write them off despite the fact they were playing without Manu down the stretch last year. I think there is plenty of firepower left.

6. Cleveland Cavaliers - Mo Williams is definitely a big pickup and arguably the best sidekick LeBron has had in Cleveland. But he's still not a legit #2. You can still beat them if you slow down LeBron.

7. Detroit Pistons - Another powerhouse that everyone seems ready to write off. I think they're still good enough for the #3 seed in the East.

8. Phoenix Suns - This one is a bit of a reach but I don't think they ever got comfortable after the Shaq trade last year. With a new system better suited to an aging roster I think the Suns surprise people. Amare, Nash and co. are too talented to fade away and if Shaq is motivated. Look out.

9. Houston Rockets - They seem to be a favorite of many in the media to make a big jump this season but I don't see it. Yao hasn't played 60 games in a season since the '04-'05 season so unless Artest is bringing some sort of special medical staff with him, I don't see how his signing puts them over the top.

Apologies to: Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The "Big 9" for Week 8

Unlike the previous week, this last week in the NFL went pretty much as expected. Most of the teams expected to win, did and our big 9 doesn't change a whole lot at the top. The Chargers and Cowboys continued to struggle however, which makes room for a few new teams this week. Only one prime time game in the NFL this week, thanks to the World Series, but week 10 is not far away, when we start getting 3 prime time games a week. Anyway, lets get to the rankings.

1 (1) Tennessee Titans 6-0 - The Titans kept on rollin' this week with a 24 point win over the lowly Chiefs. Their backfield duo of Lendale White and Chris Johnson combined for over 300 yards and 4 TDs on the ground and their defense continued to shine. Their poor QB play really hasn't caused any problems and they are drawing more and more comparisons to the 2000 Ravens.

2 (2) New York Giants 5-1 - The Giants bounced back from their poor performance against the Browns to pick up a nice road win in San Francisco. The Giants still look like the most likely team in the NFC to make the Super Bowl but they face a very tough test at Pittsburgh on Sunday that may answer a few questions for us.

3 (3) Pittsburgh Steelers 5-1 - Another spot at the top of the rankings that doesn't change this week. The Steelers destroyed the Bengals on the road Sunday even without Willie Parker. Backup Mewelde Moore showed that the Steelers have some depth at the RB position if Parker continues to deal with nagging injuries. The Steelers haven't played this well since their Super Bowl year in 2005.

4 (5) Tampa Bay Bucs 5-2 - Jeff Garcia seems to have answered any questions about a QB controversy in Tampa. He looked very good in the Bucs 20-10 win of Seattle on Sunday night. The Bucs can put themselves in a great playoff position if they can defeat the struggling Cowboys this week. Their defense continues to look very strong.

5 (4) Washington Redskins 5-2 - The Skins looked a little bit skittish this week but still held on for a 3 point win over the Browns. Its still a tough road to the postseason for the Redskins considering the division they play in, but a week 8 match-up against the Lions should put them in a very favorable spot in the standings for the 2nd half. Clinton Portis continues to stay healthy and look better than he has in years.

6 (NR) Buffalo Bills 5-1 - Our first newcomer to the week 8 rankings. The Bills simply continue to win games. On paper they don't look like the best team around but they keep getting it done. They'll have to travel to Miami this week, but if they can come up with a win they will have a great shot at winning the AFC East.

7 (7) Arizona Cardinals 4-2 - The Cardinals had a bye week in week 7 but they still may have improved their chances at an NFC west title. The Rams, 49ers and Seahawks are all struggling mightily so even 8 wins may be enough to seal a playoff spot up for the Cardinals. They get Anquan Boldin back soon and should easily be able to come up with 4 or 5 more wins with their schedule. Its looking more and more like their first division title in over 30 years may finally happen.

8 (NR) Carolina Panthers 5-2 - The Panthers may have looked better than any other team in week 7, drubbing the Saints 30-7. Their defense ranks first in the NFC in scoring defense allowing only 14.8 points a game. The NFC South still looks like a tough division this year but if Jake Delhomme can continue to play like he did in week 7, the Panthers have as good a chance as anyone to win it.

9 (8) Atlanta Falcons 4-2 - Despite their hot start the Falcons fell to 3rd place in the NFC South during their bye week. They will have to play very well against conference foes if they hope to win a playoff spot. It won't be easy but this young team has a lot to look forward to in the coming years. They have a tough match-up at Philadelphia this week.

Apologies to the Patriots, Bears and Packers

Swedish Hockey Fans Know How to Party

Now I've followed sports passionately my entire life and I've seen fans do some pretty crazy stuff. Things can get especially ugly when the target is a former player who now plays for a rival team. But NOTHING I've seen or even heard of can possibly top what went down in Sweden the other night. The target was Swedish National Team defenseman, Jan Huokko who used to suit up for the club AIK out of Stockholm but now plays for Leksand.

Take a look at the incredible welcome his former fans gave him when he came back for a visit...

Unbelievable.. Remind me never to play hockey in Sweden....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Mad Scientist

They used to call him "The Mastermind", but these days he looks more like a mad scientist who refuses to listen to outside ideas and insists on pushing through his own crazy agenda despite the results. I am referring to Denver Broncos' Head Coach, Mike Shanahan. When you win back to back Superbowl titles, you get a lot of leeway but it's clear to this Bronco fan that The Mad Scientist is wearing out his welcome in Denver.

He traded one of the top tailbacks in the league in Clinton Portis to get Champ Bailey and then 3 years later traded the guy that replaced Portis, Tatum Bell, to the Lions for Dre' Bly. The tandem of highly regarded DB's was supposed to help turn around a porous defense. The result? The worst pass defense in the league. And what of that running game? Once regarded as the top rushing attack in the league because of Denver's superb zone blocking scheme, it seemed for awhile like anyone could run in the Denver system. No names like Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns all had big years in Denver. The problem? It was a different guy every year. There was zero consistency in the offense and no chemistry in the locker room. Guys would rush for 1400 yards one year and then lose their spot to an undrafted rookie the next. And the past 2 seasons? Led by lightweight Selvin Young and a series of journeymen including Michael Pittman, Anderson and Travis Henry, Denver is well on it's way to a 2nd consecutive season without a 1000 yard rusher and is being forced to throw on almost every big play.

I know what you're thinking. Denver is still posting solid rushing totals, in fact they currently rank 13th in the league right? Sure that may be true but this team has zero ability to control the clock and put away a team late. In fact, Denver has often squandered big leads because of their inability to put teams away by running the ball down their throat when they had the lead. They even lost to the lowly Chiefs, who allow more rushing yards than any team in the league, because of their inability to exploit the Chiefs weak rushing game. Selvin Young has a lot of talent but he is built more like a kick returner than an every down back and there is a reason nobody wanted to sign Michael Pittman until Denver came calling. His best years are in the rear view mirror. He's a solid 3rd down back and does a nice job of protecting Cutler but you can't build an offense around him. Teams are figuring this out and as they bite less and less on the play action and keep more and more DB's back in coverage it becomes harder and harder for the Denver passing game to be efficient and operate like it is capable of doing.

Don't get me wrong. I still believe Shanahan has a future as a head coach but I think it's time for a change. If he goes somewhere else and starts fresh, I think he has a shot at turning a team around. But you have to take away the personnel decision making power. If you let him mess with the roster the mad scientist will take over and the results won't be pretty..

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The "Big 9" Week 7 Edition

What a crazy crazy week in the NFL. The Redskins, Cowboys and Giants all looked awful. The Falcons and Cardinals come up with huge exciting wins and Cleveland out of no where looks like the Browns of last year. This causes quite a shake up in the big 9.

1 (4) Tennessee Titans 5-0 - Can it really be anyone else at this point? Our top 3 teams from last week all lost to inferior opponents. The Titans remain the lone undefeated team in the NFL. Their schedule also stays weak with a match-up against the Chiefs this week.

2 (1) New York Giants 4-1 - Their defense looked pretty awful last night against the Browns and Eli went back to his old ways of turning the ball over at every opportunity. Still, every tea, has some bumps in the road and the Giants have looked too good over their last 10 games to just collapse.

3 (5) Pittsburgh Steelers 4-1 - The Steelers move up two spots during a bye week. Willie Parker should be back and healthy this week, and the Steelers should have no trouble improving their record to 5-1 against the lowly Bengals.

4 (2) Washington Redskins 4-2 - Of all the games this last week, the one I thought was a certain lock was the Skins over the Rams. However, the Rams looked rejuvenated after a head coaching change and somehow came up with the win. THe Redskins defense is still very good however and they should get in to the playoffs with out too much problem.

5 (NR) Tampa Bay Bucs 4-2 - The Bucs defense looked fantastic on Sunday against what previously had looked like a strong Panthers offense. They look liek the odds-on favorite to win the NFC South, but it won't be easy.

6 (NR) San Diego Chargers 3-3 - The Chargers really could be 6-0 or at least 5-1, they have had some real bad breaks, including one game being taken away that they won fair and square. They still have an uphill battle, but they looked fantastic against the Patriots and I still think they will come away with the AFC West crown.

7 (9) Atlanta Falcons 4-2 - The Falcons-Bears game on Sunday migth have been the best I have seen all year. Matt Ryan looked exceptional, throwing for well over 300 yards and completing a miraculous pass with 6 seconds left to set up the winning FG. The NFC South is wide open and the young Falcons have a real shot.

8 (NR) Arizona Cardinals 4-2 - Another newcomer to the rankings this week. The Cardinals played a great game against the cowboys on Sunday and proved themselves the heavy favorites to win the NFC West. When they get Anquan Boldin back they may have the best receiving core in the league.

9 (3) Dallas Cowboys 4-2 - The cowboys fall 6 spots in this week's rankings, partially because they lost but mostly because Tony Romo will miss the next 3 games with a broken finger. If the Cowboys can win one or two of those games they will still have a shot at the playoffs but things got a whole lot dimmer in one week for Cowboys fans.

Apologies to the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos

Monday, October 13, 2008

NFC Week 6 Roundup

NFC East

Bye Bye Cowboys?

At the start of this season, I like many others thought this could be the year the Cowboys finally broke through and won a playoff game for the first time since 1996. I even picked them to be the NFC's representative in the Super bowl. Through their first 3 games the Cowboys looked to be everything that was promised. Great offense, strong defense, 3 very convincing victories. However the last 3 weeks they haven't looked like the same team. Now there are reports that Tony Romo has a broken finger and will be out for at least 4 weeks. If true the Cowboys could very well be sitting at home this January, considering the division they play in.

NFC South

Hello Falcons?

The NFC South has been one of the most wide open divisions in Football for a long time. Each of the last 3 years, we have seen a different divisional champion. The only team not to win it recently is the Falcons, but they are trying to do something about that. Rookie Matt Ryan seems to have the poise it takes to be a winning QB, and the Falcons keep looking stronger each week.

NFC North

Who will win the North?

The NFC North Division looked like it had a chance to be a very strong division at the start of the year. Everyone loved the Vikings and the Packers were coming off a 13-3 year. The Bears also looked strong early on. Lately through, the division has looked anything but strong. All 3 teams sit tied for first with 3-3 records, while the awful Lions bring up the rear. The Vikings really haven't impressed and the Packers have had no running game at all. If The Bears can get their defense healthy, they could have a good shot to win this division.

NFC West

Year of the Cardinal?

Are the Arizona Cardinals finally going to do it? The team that has had great skill players and a solid defense for a long time now, finally looks poised to make some noise. Kurt Warner is showing flashes of his old past and The Cardinals keep winning games. No one else in the West appears to be even decent, so if the Cardinals can't win the division this year, they may never win it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Shocker in the Desert.. Sign of Parity or Just Another Cowboys' Choke?

It's been a crazy season in the NFL so far. It all started in the 1st Quarter of Week 1 when Tom Brady went down and took the juggernaut Patriots with him. Since then it has been a week to week roller coaster of ups and downs for just about every team in the league. Sure, the defending champion Giants are undefeated, as are the surprise Titans, but it's been a free for all with just about everyone else..

The Redskins? They won back to back road games at Philly and Dallas then promptly lost at home to an 0-4 Rams team. Green Bay started the year looking like it would be smooth sailing without Favre only to lose 3 strait before bouncing back on Sunday. Jacksonville, my pick as the best team in the AFC, couldn't take care of business at home against Buffalo and Pittsburgh but managed road wins at 2 of the toughest venues in the NFL, winning in Indianapolis and at Denver. But perhaps the greatest example of the ups and downs in this year's NFL are the Dallas Cowboys.

They were pretty much everyone's pick to represent the NFC in the Superbowl and appeared to be the best team in football after Brady went down but looked erratic in a home loss to the Redskins and then fell apart in crunch time once again Sunday at Arizona.

It was a special teams nightmare for the Cowboys, who allowed a 93 yard kickoff return for a TD on the first play of the game and a blocked punt for a TD in OT on the last play of the game. It was an unbelievable finish for the Cowboys and perhaps evoked memories of a previous Special Teams gaffe when Tony Romo fumbled the hold in a playoff game at Seattle in Jan. of 2007. It just seems like no matter how much talent they have, this team just can't get the job done when it matters. Add in the circus-like cast of characters from T.O. to Pac-Man to Tank Johnson. Dallas has made a living out of taking chances on troubled individuals and it has repeatedly come back to haunt them. More importantly, with this many volatile personalities in the locker room, can this team possibly co-exist for an entire season with this many bumps in the road? Anything is possible, but things sure didn't look good for them Sunday in Phoenix.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

He Looked Like a Ghost!!! I Swear!!

Cowboy fans can't be happy with this news. Look who is at it again. It's our good friend Adam "Don't call me Pac-Man" Jones. Police were called to an altercation on Tuesday night between Jones and one of his bodyguards at an upscale hotel in downtown Dallas. No charges were filed but it is the latest in a line of numerous altercations involving Jones and the Police. The truly ironic part is that it took place mere hours before a scheduled meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday morning.

It's just the latest in a string of strange events involving Cowboy players in recent years ranging from the alleged suicide attempt by T.O. in 2006 to the Jessica Simpson scandal during last year's playoffs. The Cowboys have the talent to be an amazing team but it's hard to imagine them reaching their potential with all the distractions surrounding this cast of characters.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The NFL "Big 9" Week 6 Edition.

Ahhhh, sweet, sweet wonderful parity. Can you imagine if 2 months ago I had told you the Dolphins would own wins over the Patriots and Chargers? That the Falcons looked like the best team in the NFC South, that the only undefeated team in the AFC through 5 games was led by Kerry Collins? You would have thought I was insane.. Welcome to the 2008 NFL Season! Parity is fantastic, no? Let's get to the rankings.

1 (1). New York Giants - 4-0 - No Plaxico Burress? No problem for the defending champs who humiliated the Seahawks on Sunday. And things don't look any tougher the next couple weeks with games at Cleveland and home to the 49ers on the horizon.

2 (4). Washington Redskin - 4-1 - They just keep chugging along, winning big games. Hard to believe this is the same team that was humiliated in Week 1 by the Giants. They don't win pretty but they just keep on winning. Back to back road wins in Dallas and at Philly earn them the 2 spot.

3 (5). Dallas Cowboys - 4-1 - T.O. claims the media made up his fued with Romo and that everything is dandy in Cowboywille. It certainly looked like it against the Bungles on Sunday. Don't believe the hype though. The big guns on this offense aren't Romo and Owens, but rather the RB tandem of Barber and Jones.

4 (3). Tennessee Titans - 5-0 - The Titans fall to the 4 spot but it's more an indictment of their opposition than it is of the Titans themselves. 5 wins is nice and all but the collective record of their opponents to date is 6-17 including W's against the winless Texans and Bengals. Things remain easy next week with a game against the struggling Chiefs before finally facing their first big test in a Monday Night Match-up with the Colts on Oct. 27th.

5 (6). Pittsburgh Steelers - 4-1 - It seems new names are added to their injured list almost on a daily basis, but for now at least, the Steelers keep plugging along. After failing to practice much of the week with shoulder pain, Ben Roethlisberger had a huge game against the Jaguars, throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TD's. Mewelde Moore provided the rushing attack with Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall both out with injuries. They remain the most talented team in the AFC, IF they can get healthy and overcome injuries.

6 (7). Denver Broncos - 4-1 - Yes, Virginia, the Broncos DO have a defense. In one of the biggest surprises of the week the Denver defense made a cameo just in time to welcome former friend Brian Griese back to town. And welcome him they did to the tune of 3 1st half sacks and a big hit by Champ Bailey that chased Griese from the game. Of concern to the Broncos are injuries to Eddie Royal and Tony Sheffler that may leave Jay Cutler without 2 of his favorite targets for an extended period of time.

7 (8). Carolina Panthers - 4-1 - The defense was impressive again as the Panthers shutout the hapless Chiefs. The running game was also in fine form as the offense rushed for almost 200 yards rushing. Injuries to OT's Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah could prove troublesome long term though.

8 (NR). Chicago Bears - 3-2 - The Bears are back and as staunch as ever on the defensive side of the ball but what's impressive is for the first time in a long time the Bears offense is actually quite potent as well. Led by rookie phenom Matt Forte at RB and Captain Neckbeard himself, Kyle Orton at QB the offense is averaging nearly 26 points per game. With the Packers in a sudden tailspin, the NFC North appears to be Chicago's to lose.

9 (NR). Atlanta Falcons - 3-2 - No, that's not a misprint. The Falcons are for real. Led by breakout star, Michael Turner and rookie sensation Matt Ryan, Atlanta is giving it's fans something to cheer about for the first time in years. A big win at Lambeau Field propels them into the rankings but they'll have a real chance to show they belong in a big matchup with the rising Bears this coming Sunday.

Apologies to the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Bucs.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Best Pitcher You Probably Haven't Heard Of...

It's not often you can pitch for a team with a storied pitching history in the second largest media market in the country and fly under the radar. It's not often you can post a 3.14 ERA and be the best pitcher on a division championship team and receive little to no recognition. Usually when you finish 7th in the league in ERA, 5th best in ERA+ and 5th in the league in strikeouts while pitching for a 1st place team you end up being a household name in a hurry... Unless your name happens to be Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He might be the best pitcher that casual baseball fans have never heard of. In the lead up to the Cubs-Dodgers NLDS matchup there was lots of talk about Manny, and how well Derek Lowe had pitched down the stretch. There was talk of the Cubs deep rotation and concern about the health of Zambrano and Harden... But almost no mention of the best pitcher on the Dodgers staff. Chad Billingsley. Yes, Lowe got the Game 1 start and most of the hype, but that was largely due to his previous post-season experience. Don't fool yourself, it was Billingsley that carried this pitching staff and put the team on his back at times. Just 24 years old and having just completeted his first full season as a regular starting pitcher, he is already the ace of a team that built it's reputation with the likes of Koufax, Drysdale and Sutton.

That might have all changed Thursday night as Billingsley made his first post-season start. On the road in a tense Wrigley Field, he took the ball and was nothing short of sensational. He allowed just one earned run in 6 2/3 IP and struck out 7 while facing the best offensive team in the National League. His performance, along with a series of defensive miscues by the Cubs infield, helped the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead over the heavily favored Cubs and maybe, just maybe will help Billingsley get the type of recognition his performance on the field deserves...

It's about time......

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Playoffs are finally here....

Its been an awfully long season, for us die-hards we have been going at it since mid-February. All working towards one thing, the postseason.... and its finally here. Things get underway this afternoon on TBS.

The Match-ups:


Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

What a year for the Rays, I remember thinking at the start of the year that there were a few teams in baseball that had absolutely no chance of ever making the playoffs. The Pirates and Royals came to mind and also... the Rays. I never could have guessed this one.

Why the Rays might win....
Pitching. The Rays have done it with pitching all year long. Kazmir, Garza and Shields might be the best playoff rotation in the AL. It doesn't get much easier in the bullpen either.... Balfour, Howell, Wheeler and Bradford have been lights out. The Rays may be the best built team in the AL to go to the World Series.

Why the White Sox might win....
Momentum, Looking over the two squads on paper, this should be a Rays win, however the White Sox are coming off 3 victories in must-win situations. They also have a lot of power, when an offense like that gets hot, it might not matter what pitcher they are facing.

CubsFella's pick: Rays in 4

Boston Red Sox vs. LA Angels of Anaheim

This is a giant match-up, TBS is watering at the mouth at the chance to have 5 games in this series. Two major markets with large fan bases, the meda will be all over this one.

Why the Angels might win...
The most complete team in baseball. The Angels don;t really have an MVP candidate or a Cy Young candidate, but they are solid in every aspect of the game. Above average starting pitching, a strong offense and a great bullpen, and while Closer may be an overrated position during the regular season, in the postseason a shutdown closer like K-Rod can make a huge difference.

Why the Red Sox might win...
Confidence and Experience. The Red Sox might be the most confident team in the bigs. After struggling for decades they have shown the world they have what it takes to win. It won't be easy with a banged up Josh Beckett and without Manny Ramirez, but the Red Sox still have a lot of talent and character and they have been here before.

CubsFellas pick: Angels in 5


Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs

As, mentioned before, here at the Sportsfellas, this is the matchup to watch. I myself have been a die-hard Cubs fan sine I was a very small kid. I haven't missed more than a handful of Cubs games all season and I am hoping and praying somehow the this is the Cubs year. As for Gaddeus he has been a Dodger fan for many years, the Dodgers have won just one playoff game in 20 years so he will be hoping for a change in fortune as well.

Why the Cubs might win...
Depth. The Cubs, like the Angels don't really have an MVP or a Cy Young, but they are strong at literally every position across the board. 4 very good starting pitchers a stacked lineup and two power arms at the back of the bullpen. The Cubs will need good outings from the starters as middle relief has been suspect.

Why the Dodgers might win...
Derek Lowe and Manny Ramirez. Derek Lowe has been the best pitcher in baseball since August, an ERA well under two and a 6-1 record. Not to mention he has had a lot of past success against the Cubs. He will take the ball twice in the series and that might make things tough on the Cubs. Manny Ramirez is also the best hitter in the game right now.

CubsFella's pick: Cubs in 5

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies

This might be the most low key match-up of the postseason, this one might fly under the radar a bit in the media. The Phillies look to be huge favorites in this one as the Brewers limp in without Be Sheets and a tired Sabathia

Why the Phillies might win...
Utley, Howard, Burrell. The Brewers bullpen has struggled mightily and they also really only have one good starting pitcher, The middle of the Philies order may feast on the rest of the Brewers pitching staff and put this one away early

Why the Brewers might win....
CC Sabathia. There really isn't any other way, The Brewers will need two more dominating short rest outings from CC to win this series. Sabathia has been lights out since coming to the Brewers in a trade 3 months ago, but he has been overworked big time. Still the big man looks strong, he will have to stay that way if he wants to carry the Brew into the NLCS.

CubsFella's pick: Phillies in 3