The division series are over and it didn’t take long to lose the chance of an all-Los Angeles or all-Chicago World Series. None of the series went to five games and all the competitive games were found in one match-up. Hopefully, closer games are on the horizon.
Dodgers vs. Phillies
Dodgers NLDS recap: It was World Series or bust for the Cubs. Turns out they forgot they had to play the Dodgers to get there. Manny Ramirez led an offense that dismantled what was supposed to be the best three-man rotation in the playoffs. Instead the Dodgers’ rotation of Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda stepped up with three brilliant starts, stymieing a formidable Cubs offense to complete the sweep.
Phillies NLDS recap: The Brewers were supposed to have the momentum, but it turns out they were just tired. The Phillies handled CC Sabathia and didn’t seem to have a problem pitching to the Brewers’ anemic offense. Cole Hamels gave us the best division series start in Game 1, going for eight scoreless innings while only giving up two hits. The biggest moment of the series was Pat “The Bat” Burrell hammering out two homers in the deciding Game 4.
This best-of-seven series looks to be an exciting one. Both teams swung the bats efficiently and received enough pitching to get through their first-round match-ups. For the Phillies, the biggest factor in winning the series is getting consistent production out of the middle of their lineup. Ryan Howard was basically shut down against the Brewers, and aside from a two-RBI double in Game 1, Chase Utley was unreliable.
If the Dodgers continue their solid pitching and keep riding Ramirez, they will be in the World Series for the first time since they won it in 1988.
Game 1: Dodgers @ Phillies, 5:22 p.m. today on FOX
Projected Starters: Derek Lowe and Cole Hamels
Prediction: The Dodgers pitch their way into the World Series in six games.
Red Sox vs. Rays
Red Sox ALDS recap: The most entertaining division series match-up was by far the Red Sox and Angels. It featured four games that were not decided until at least the ninth inning. Angels blunders had a big part in deciding the series, but the Red Sox came through when it counted and took advantage. After this series it’s hard to say the Red Sox have a weakness. They hit the ball, have masterful starting pitching and a solid bullpen, and make all the necessary defensive plays.
Rays ALDS recap: Playing against the White Sox, it seemed like the Rays had someone stepping up in every win. In Game 1 it was rookie Evan Longoria going deep twice and in Game 4 it was B.J. Upton rekindling his swing, also hitting a pair of home runs. On the other side of the ball, the Rays bullpen was sensational, giving up only one earned run in 11 2/3 innings. They showed everyone that they deserve to be here.
The Red Sox and Rays match-up is the classic case of defending champs versus the young underdog. The regular-season record was 10-8 in favor of the Rays. Tropicana Field supported the best home record in the majors this season with a mark of 57-24 – including an 8-1 advantage over the Red Sox.
However, the Red Sox aren’t playing in the regular season. It is postseason time and in the postseason, Boston wins. If the Red Sox want to pull out a second consecutive World Series appearance, they need to keep the same attitude that was displayed against the Angels and in years past.
Game 1: Red Sox @ Rays, 5:37 p.m. Friday on TBS
Projected Starters: Daisuke Matsuzaka and James Shields
Prediction: The Rays fight their way to the World Series in six games.
All the NLCS games will be shown on FOX while all the ALCS games will be shown on TBS.
The World Series starts Oct. 22.
Mat Adams is a mathematics junior and Mustang Daily sports columnist.