Sifting through the nonsense: Quick Division Series thoughts

Four guys in the playoffs

I don’t write about baseball very often here, which I admit is strange, since my day job requires me to watch what I estimate to be about 250-300 games a year. I figure, leave the analysis up to experts like Tom Tango, who have the time and energy to invent new statistics and stuff. Plus, I prefer other sports, such as high school basketball, boxing and Jay-Z.

Besides, I can’t stand the amount of nonsense analysis that goes into something like the baseball playoffs. You get stories that go position-by-position and determine who has an edge, as if it matters somehow that Alex Rodriguez is better than Danny Valencia in particular. You want a page devoted entirely to Ross Gload’s October exploits? Well, here you go.

Baseball, more than other sports, seems to lend itself to throwing loads of information out there indiscriminately. Why take the time to decide what’s actually important when you can lump it in with a bunch of other junk? I have no idea who’s reading all this stuff, but if you checked out the Gload page before I linked it here, you need to get out even more than I do. You’re officially invited to join me at a St. Patrick-St. Benedict’s game at Kean College.

One relevant statistic I saw out there, by the way, came from Tom Verducci, who points out that the winner of Game 1 in the Division Series is 12-0 in the last three postseasons, and 21-3 since 2004. Which, well, does make sense in a five-game series.

Regardless, here are some quick – emphasis on quick – thoughts on the division series:

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Putting it bluntly: Philly’s repeat talk not just smoke and mirrors

As evenly matched a Series as we've seen in quite some time

The Yankees are one of the most talented teams I’ve seen in a long time – as well they should be. They already had the best leadoff hitter, closer, and arguably the best hitter in baseball, and they spent a cool $425 mil to add the top two free-agent starters and the best free-agent position player on the market. That is what you call economy in motion.

What I’ve been surprised about is their ability to come together as a cohesive unit. Their chemistry appears better than I’ve seen from a Yankees team in years. I doubt Jeter truly likes personalities like Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett, but I’m sure he’s learned to love the loosening-up affect they’ve had on the clubhouse, what with all the pies in the face and whatnot.

But they’re about to run into a Phillies team that is even more cohesive, that makes more sense, that has more of an identity. And that has just as much talent. Here are the factors I see affecting the World Series, which I believe will be a very close affair.

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Defending champs have not yet nearly had their Phil of success

Celebrations such as these have become routine in Philly

I sold the Phillies short this year mainly because I think it’s so hard to repeat in baseball. It hasn’t happened since the Torre Yankees about 10 years ago, and then before that the Blue Jays of the early ‘90s. Three separate teams repeated in the ‘70s, but that’s back in the early stages of free agency when it was far easier to hold onto a good team once you’ve built one.

But I underestimated the Phillies – anticipating their demise at the hands of the red-hot Rockies in the divisional round – and I really shouldn’t have.

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Predicting the playoffs: Redbirds’ moxie over Rally Monkey

After the Twins’ phenomenal victory over the Tigers tonight, the playoff field is set. Though I mostly tend to talk about other sports on this site, truth be told, I watch a pretty decent amount of baseball, so I’ll give this a go. Remember, if you use anything I say here to gamble with, may the lord take mercy on you.

Sure, this guy's 29...

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