My Picks, as the Baseball Playoffs Begin

On the eve of the 2014 Major League Baseball Playoffs, this is what’s going to happen:

One Game Wild-Card: AL Oakland over Kansas City
One Game Wild-Card: NL San Francisco over Pittsburgh

AL Division Series: Angels over Oakland and Detroit over Baltimore
NL Division Series: Dodgers over St. Louis and Washington over San Francisco

AL Championship Series: Angels over Detroit
NL Championship Series: Washington over Dodgers

LA Angels and Washington Nationals in the World Series

I've gotta go with Jon Lester coming up big today against KC, in what I'd say should be a 2-1 win for Oakland. Tomorrow, I see the same type of a great effort from Madison Bumgarner for the Giants, but I also see San Fran teeing off on Edinson Volquez, who is neither a big game pitcher, and despite his strong finish this season, nor is he even a front-line starter (one, two or three in a good rotation.

Detroit looks stronger than they have all year now that Justin Verlander has hit his stride, and along
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with Max Scherzer and David Price, they have the best and deepest starting staff of any American League playoff team. Plus, they have maybe the hottest hitter in baseball in Victor Martinez, and a one-two of him and Miguel Cabrera will be too much for the young Orioles starters to contain. If Baltimore were at full strength, they might have a shot, but not without Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Matt Wieters.

A couple of weeks ago the Angels looked invincible, but since, they’ve faltered and the question marks with the starting staff make the series with Oakland a lot tougher than it figured to be. They need the good C.J. Wilson to show up and a healthy Matt Shoemaker, and with their solid offense, tremendous defense, and strong and deep bullpen, they

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should take care of the A's and their struggling offense.

The Angels, with their depth, power, defense, bullpen, and with Mike Scioscia on the bench, should also take care of Detroit. But, it wouldn't hurt to have a healthy Josh Hamilton back in the lineup, either.

Washington has the dominant pitching staff of
any playoff team, and they should take care of the Giants in their series, especially since the Giants can not lead off with their number one starter, Bumgarner, who pitchers tomorrow. The Dodgers will take their revenge over St. Louis after losing the Division Series to them last year. Kershaw and Greinke will get LA off to a 2-0 start, and that will be all she wrote in that series.

But, the Dodgers can keep winning their division and maybe one playoff series, but they will never win a World Series with the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly. I have to pick the Nationals over them in the NL Championship series primarily due to mattingly and also because of the deep and dominating pitching the Nats have been getting the past couple of months. The Dodgers’ front line pitching is as good or better than anyone, but

they do not have to depth of pitching that Washington has, and even with the super hot Matt Kemp (NL player of the Month for September) and Adrian Gonzalez, pitching depth will will out in a seven game series.

So, I see the Angels and Nationals meeting in the World Series.

One final note: One of the big reasons I see the Angels getting to the World Series is the
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talent and experience of Mike Scioscia, and similarly, the major reason I see the Dodgers failing to get there, is the total lack of competence of their manager, don mattingly. Yet, of the six division winners, two, Detroit and Washington, are led by inexperienced, first-year managers, Brad Ausmus and Matt Williams, respectively. While the experience factor is important, basic, innate competence, intelligence and ability are all vitally necessary as well, and can in some cases, make up for lack of experience.

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