The National League Championship Series features two teams from the National League West. The Arizona D-Backs, who finished with the best record in the NL, and the Colorado Rockies, who have won 17 of their past 18 games, including 14 of 15 to clinch the Wild Card.
I’ve written about the Rockies in the past, calling them God’s Team. And yeah, that entire “God is our co-pilot” crap really does bug me. I’m just one of those people who believe that, if God actually exists, He’s got more important things to be doing than making sure a bunch of jocks get to dump champagne on their heads. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that I really do like this team. I picked them to finish fourth in the NL West this season not because I thought they were a bad team, but because I thought they were still a year or two away. Boy, was I surprised (and judging by their showing, the Phillies were a bit surprised as well).
And the D-Backs found a way to win the division, but no one is quite sure how. They were last in the National League in team batting average. The roster consists of a bunch young kids, some veterans who have bounced from club-to-club, and a formidable bullpen. The D-Backs are also the team that I have designated as the Team of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
If you go by match-ups, player by player, the winner of this series should be the Rockies.
The Rockies field a team that includes Matt Holliday, an MVP candidate in left field, power hitter Brad Hawpe in left, old man All Star Todd Helton at first base, Garrett Atkins at third, and the potential Rookie of the Year Troy Tulowitzki at short. The Rockies are one of the best field teams in baseball, and they can cover the wide open spaces in the Coors Field outfield.
The best the D-Backs can counter with is left fielder Eric Byrnes. Byrnes is flashy, and he makes lots of highlight reel catches, but his on-base average isn’t the world’s best, and even though he hit under .300, he’s still got the best batting average of all of the D-Back regulars.
If I were a smart man, I’d pick the Rockies. But I’m not a smart man. There are three reasons I’m picking the D-Backs to beat the Rockies. I think Bob Melvin, the D-Backs manager, is the manager of the year. He knows how to get this team to operate. The second reason is, well, they’re the Team of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster will not be denied.
And reason number three is the most important reason: Sports Illustrated has put the Rockies on the cover. That’s right. The Rockies are going to fall prey to the celebrated SI cover jinx. Don’t believe me, then ask last week’s SI cover subject, the Phillies.
And the best news about this series, it’s on TBS, so no Joe Buck and no Tim McCarver.
The bad news comes if you want to watch the American League Championship Series. Not only will you have to deal with the insufferable Red Sox fans, you’re going to have to deal with Buck and McCarver. It’s going to be painful.
The Red Sox beat up on the Angels. And they beat up on the Angels real good. Manny’s back to being Manny. Ortiz is back to being Ortiz. The pitching staff is excellent. This is a good team. The team plays good baseball. They even have several ex-Astros. But I just want this team to lose. I just can’t stand those damn fans.
The Indians counter with a starting staff that is probably just as good as that of the BoSox. Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, and Grady Sizemore match-up with Manny and Ortiz.
The Indians will win. But not before we see countless shots of this guy sitting in the stands.
The Rockies/D-Backs, live from Phoenix, start tonight. The Red Sox/Indians, live from Boston, start up on Friday night. -- John Royal