I guess it is too late for my NLDS predictions (which, for the record, would have been Chicago and Colorado, FWIW). I have been gradually licking my wounds enough to start paying attention again.
TBS can’t be happy with the prospect of as many as four sweeps in the first round, nor with an Arizona-Colorado series (they don’t have the ALCS). Of course, I will not shed a tear if Roger Clemens goes out today the way Glavine did against the Marlins.
For the NLCS, I’m inclined to take the Rockies, who won the season series 10-8 and have now won 17 of their last 18. I have not been a believer in the D-Backs all season; their poor Pythagorean record (they may be the first team ever to have the best record in theleague while allowing more runs than they scored) reflects the fact that they have neither a dominant offensive player nor a deep offense, their defense aside from Orlando Hudson is nothing special, and their pitching, while improved in depth over the second half (especially Micah Owings and a deep bullpen) is not, other than Brandon Webb, spectacular enough to overcome that. By contrast, the Rockies seem to be the ideally constructed team for their park – an outstanding bullpen (there may be no more pivotal figure in the league than Manny Corpas), good defense at key positions, a deep lineup and at least an adequate starting rotation. Not that Colorado is a 95-win type of team, but when a team has Kaz Matsui hitting grand slams in key games, you can’t give the other guy extra points for momentum and luck and a better bullpen.
That said, I’d have to expect a long series, as neither team has the starting pitching to just put the other away consistently, and with two good, deep bullpens, a lot of extra inning games are easy to imagine.