After months of ups and downs and then an incredible September, the Dodgers' postseason is finally upon us. I'm excited, for reasons I'll post later on this week, but as of right now I am desperately trying to absorb all the playoff series predictions and read all the playoff series articles I can. And I only have five hours left before first pitch!
- The ESPN series preview page is here. Accuscore (which may be related to Accuweather, I imagine) has the Dodgers at a 46% chance of winning Game 1, far more favorable than I would have expected. Keith Law has a nice breakdown of the team that is insider only, but here's some snippets:
How They'll Win
• Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley have the potential to dominate opponents, although the Dodgers might have to win every game started by either of those two pitchers.
The Dodgers have the deepest pen of any NL playoff team, and the more the relievers come into play (through early knockouts, extra innings or back-to-back tight games), the more the pendulum shifts in their favor.
Their core young players have plenty of upside, which also means there's potential for an explosive performance, be it Clayton Kershaw's chance to dominate any left-leaning lineup or Matt Kemp's potential for a three-homer game against a pitcher who grabs too much of the plate.
How They'll Lose
• Their No. 3 and No. 4 starters, especially if Kershaw isn't among them, will match up poorly against most other playoff teams' starters in those games. If either of Lowe or Billingsley misses a beat, the Dodgers will be flushed out of the series.
• October brings better pitching, both in terms of stuff and command. That's bad news for most of the Dodgers' lineup, and the improved pitching will leave them struggling to score runs.
• An opponent that puts the ball in play will make the Dodgers pay for their weak team defense, especially if manager Joe Torre chooses to be loyal to veterans such as Jeff Kent or Nomar Garciaparra.
Also interesting is that ESPN expanded its expert picks list, and we've got Jim Caple, Peter Gammons, Pedro "I stalked Barry Bonds for an entire season" Gomez, and Enrique "Cookie" Rojas all picking the Dodgers to not only win this series, but go all the way to the World Series (no other ESPN pundit picked the Dodgers in the NLDS). Of those four, only Rojas has the Dodgers winning it all; the other three have the Angels beating the Dodgers, which would be a pretty sucky outcome even though I have nothing against the Angels per se.
- Si.com's Game 1 preview highlight's the Cubs' home-field advantage today against the Dodgers' woeful run production on the road. Today is a pivotal game for the Dodgers, SI's Cliff Corcoran contends, about which I don't disagree with Carlos Zambrano's big shadow looming over Game 2. Meanwhile, John Donovan must have had one too many Big Mac sandwiches, as his article about Baseball Prospectus' "secret sauce" puts the Dodgers dead last and the Red Sox in the pole position. Look, if there's anything Andruw Jones knows, it's secret sauce. Don't be hating on the Dodgers, Donovan.
- Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal basically admits that he is gutless in picking against the Dodgers. Let's see if he gains or loses intestinal fortitude after tonight.
Look, it's One Day at a Time, my friends. Let's make sure we're enjoying the moment, while the stomach ulcers burn us out from the inside and the tidal wave of news stories overwhelms us. Better to be written about, than not at all.
Let's go, Dodgers!