Though only two days into the postseason, we’ve already had our share of surprises. In the American League, both series have only gone one game, and while the Yankees first game went as expected, the Red Sox performance last night raised some eyebrows. If the Yankees had not crushed the Twins on Wednesday evening it would have been a major disappointment. Regardless of the fact that the Yankees are the better team to begin with, Minnesota was coming off their one game extra inning playoff with the Tigers the night before, on top of that it was CC Sabathia facing off against Brian Duensing. The Yankees are right where they should be in this postseason, their AL East counterparts on the other hand are not. The Boston Red Sox got blanked by the Anaheim Angels 5-0. Now a John Lackey-John Lester matchup in LA is one that favors the Angels, so its not surprising that they won. What is surprising is the score, or lack there of by the Red Sox. In six postseason games this year, the Red Sox are the only team not to score. Boston is not a team that can win 2-1 or 3-2 games this postseason, their pitching is no better than solid and their defense is suspect. They are built to out hit their opponent, except it didn’t show last night when they only managed four hits (all singles). If the Boston bats don’t awaken soon then Anaheim will cruise to the second round.
In the National League each series has gone two games and each has had its own surprises. The Dodgers are up 2-0 and look to go for the sweep Saturday evening in St. Louis. Look I like the Dodgers as much as anyone, and have been among their biggest supporters of their postseason aspirations, but not even I thought they were going to be up 2-0. The Cardinals were a number of analysts’ World Series pick from the NL, and seemed destined to steal a game in LA with Carpenter and Wainwright pitching the first two games. The fact that the Dodgers already beat the two best pitchers in the entire NL playoffs (Wainwright didn’t get the loss, as Matt Holliday the bullpen blew last nights game), bodes well for the rest of the October in LA. Now the Cards are reeling, even if they can win game 3 they will need to rely on John Smoltz or Kyle Loshe in a deciding Game 4…ouch. Theoretically they could bring Chris Carpenter back on short rest, but he didn’t look sharp in Game 1 (105 pitches in five innings, giving up four runs on nine hits) on regular rest I’m not sure how he’ll respond when he’s less fresh. Wainwright was lights out, but he isn’t going on two days rest for Game 4 if they get there (though don’t be surprised to see him come in out of the bullpen if its close). The other NL series is just as surprising. The World Champion Phillies were the team I thought that would be up 2-0 in their series over the Rockies. Instead the Rockies touched up ace Cole Hamels for seven hits and four runs in five innings yesterday to even the series up 1-1. Now I thought the Rockies would win at least one game in this series, but I thought it would be in Colorado, and not against Hamels. The Phillies needed to jump out to a series lead before the games went back to Colorado given the precarious state of their bullpen. Now the pressure is on the Phillies to win on the road to keep their hope for a repeat title alive.
So what do you guys think, have the early returns changed anyone’s postseason predictions?