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ROCKIES vs. PHILLIES:
Phillies are the defending champs, but they’re far from the same team as a year ago. A ballclub can get by with many things in the post-season, but not without a closer. Right now, Philly is a mess.
Prediction: Rockies in 5
CARDINALS vs. DODGERS:
My heart says Dodgers. My gut says Dodgers. But the Cardinals are the team to beat in the NL, and they won’t be beaten here. Joe Torre is getting closer and closer to Bobby Cox territory, in that (after his early success with the Yankees) he reaches the playoffs, then loses. I love Orlando Hudson. I don’t love the Dodgers’ chances.
Prediction: Cardinals in 4.
RED SOX vs. ANGELS:
I don’t care how iffy Josh Beckett has been this seasonâ€”the man is a playoff stud. That said, the Sox aren’t the Sox this year. With many teams, there comes a point when transitional pieces, no matter how sexy and appealing, don’t measure up. Jason Bay is a wonderful player. But, come playoffs, he’s not Manny. He’s just not. The Angels play with an enviable joy and spunk, and their staff is deep and convincing.
Prediction: Angels in 5
TWINS vs. YANKEES
This is my favorite matchup, in that you’ve got the ultra-talented, ultra-expensive Bombers taking on a team of ragamuffins who have little business being on the same field with A-Rod, Jeter, C.C., etc. So what’ll happen: The Twins are loose, the Yanks are tight. The Twins are supposed to lose, the Yanks are ordained to win. This is their year. Must be their year. Has to be their year.
Prediction: Twins in 4.