Gather close, my children, and I’ll tell you how it’s going to come down. And this time, I absolutely guarantee I’m going to get it right, as you’ll see.
National League Championship Series
Now that Brad Lidge has shown signs of life, the Phillies are just too dominant, what with that imposing lineup and two studs at the top of the rotation in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Phillies over Dodgers in 6.
The Dodgers have the home-field advantage, which is huge, and the confidence and momentum from their sweep of the Cardinals. With a second shot at the Phillies in the NLCS, they’re not going to let it slip away this time. Dodgers over Phillies in five.
American League Championship Series
The Angels are a load, no question, and their starting pitching depth is admirable, but in the end, the Yankees are just too overpowering, especially with A-Rod showing signs that his postseason malaise is over. Yankees over Angels in 7.
The Angels are this year’s team of destiny, but they have more going for them than just karma — like a four-man rotation that will keep them from using anyone on short rest, and an offensive attack nearly the equal of the Yankees. Mike Scioscia will find a way to win. Angels over Yankees in 7.
Having been shut out of the Fall Classic since 2003, and out of a championship since 2000, the Yankees are hungry. And they will be able to exploit a Phillies’ bullpen that has been scraping by but remains vulnerable. In close games, I’ll take Mariano Rivera over Lidge any day. Yankees over Phillies in 6.
This Phillies’ team knows what it takes to win big games, and is on the verge of a dynasty. The acquisition of Lee was a stroke of genius by first-year GM Ruben Amaro, giving the Phillies another big-game, No. 1 pitcher to match with Hamels. They’ll cruise to another title. Phillies over Yankees in 7.
Fox gets its dream matchup — Yankees vs. Dodgers. Think they’ll play up the Joe Torre angle? Nah, too obvious. The networks like to go for subtlety. These two teams met in the World Series three times from 1977 to 1981, with the Yankees winning the first two, and the Dodgers finally prevailing in 1981. Twenty-eight years later, the Dodgers are still riding the momentum. Dodgers over Yankees in 7
Reggie Jackson hit three homers against the Dodgers in the clinching Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. This time, it will be Alex Rodriguez’s turn to be “Mr. October, er, November,” concluding the monster postseason that will finally cement his status as a Yankees’ legend. The Dodgers just don’t have the starting pitching to sustain a title. Yankees over Dodgers in 5.
Nine years after the Mets and Yankees met in the Subway Series, we have the first Freeway Series, which should send Southern California into a frenzy of excitement and bore the rest of the nation. The Angels of Anaheim will have no trouble out-classing their neighbors. Angels over Dodgers in 4.
The Dodgers will likely be modest underdogs against the Angels, but they’ll invoke the spirit of Kirk Gibson and pull off the upset. Playing the role of Orel Hershiser will be Vicente Padilla. No, I’m not kidding. OK, kinda kidding. Dodgers over Angels in 6.
The Phillies and the Angels both have relentless attacks, but once the Phillies get past Lee and Hamels, it’s a crapshoot. I just don’t believe in Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez Not this tired version of Pedro. Angels over Phillies in 7.
Ryan Howard can carry a team. Chase Utley can carry a team. Jimmy Rollins can carry a team. Heck, even Raul Ibanez can carry a team. Together, they will carry the Phillies to the title again. Phillies over Angels in 7.
That should about cover it. I’ll check back in about three weeks to gloat.
(Photo by Getty Images)