Time to reach into the mailbag...
There’s a game I like to play when the playoffs roll around, and I thought you & your readers might like to play, too (although I’m not leaving much lead time). I make 7 predictions for a series (trying not to be too obvious or too obscure), and need four of them to come true to claim victory. I welcome you to do the same. Here are mine for the ALCS:
1. Jim Leyland, managing in two pitchers’ ballparks, will choose to challenge Frank Thomas rather than pitch around him; no more than four walks for Thomas in the entire series (I'm assuming the series goes to six or seven
2. The bullpens generally will shine, but there will be at least one loss hung on a closer due to a blown save or extra inning game (Todd Jones, Huston Street).
3. Placido Polanco will have to leave a game or miss a game due to injury.
4. Both 3b basemen – Chavez and Inge – will generally struggle at the plate (hitting less than .250 combined, one home run max), but one of them will get an important late inning hit.
5. Craig Monroe will be more productive at the plate than Magglio Ordonez.
6. Kenny Rogers will have the worst start of all the Detroit starters (bonus credit for me if: Jimenez and Scutaro are his biggest problems).
7. Jason Kendall’s relative defensive weakness will be a factor; the Tigers, normally not very speedy, will have at least two players with two or more steals in the series.
Ok, I'm game. And I invite readers to give their best shot in the comments. Here's mine:
1. Frank Thomas will be walked intentionally at least three times.
2. There will be at least two shutouts in this series.
3. Rich Harden will get hurt.
4. Joel Zumaya will give up a run.
5. Detroit will come from behind in the late innings to win one game.
6. Esteban Loaiza will not get a win.
7. Detroit will not lose a home game. (And I don't just mean in this series.)
I'm sure glad I decided to skip Terry Ryan's 2007 Cheat Sheet yesterday and publish Hunters Option(s) yesterday, because today it would have been obsolete. The decision to pick up Hunter's option was basically a foregone conclusion given the risk tolerance of this organization, and given the way Hunter finished the season, it's defensible, and maybe even necessary.
But it doesn't mean that the Twins shouldn't be hustling to find the right-handed #3 or #4 hitter they still need. And there shouldn't be too many untouchables in that search.
Don't worry. I haven't forgotten about Terry Ryan's 2007 Cheat Sheet. I should have it tomorrow.