As promised here are my 2008 MLB postseason predictions.
Let's begin with the American League.
ALDS - Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Sox have swept the Angels in the ALDS in 2004 and 2007. But this is a much better Angels team who are healthy and ready to play. The Sox on the other hand are banged up especially J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell. But the greatest concern lies with Josh Beckett who was originally slated to start in Game 1 has been pushed back to Game 3 because of a strained oblique muscle. There's no guarantee he'll answer the bell. There is not a lot of optimism in Red Sox Nation. Angels sweep 3-0.
ALDS - Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The Chisox can hit the hell out of the ball but the Rays can hit the ball, pitch and catch it. If the Rays can shut down the Chisox power game this will be a quick series. Rays sweep 3-0.
ALCS - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Both of these are fundamentally sound. Rays manager Joe Maddon worked in the Angels organization for 31 years as a coach before taking the helm of the Rays in 2006. So Maddon knows how Angels manager Mike Scioscia thinks. But Scioscia also knows how Maddon thinks. This will be a great chess match between two strategic thinkers. The Angels in 7.
So now let's look at the National League.
NLDS - Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Brewers are an offensive powerhouse with the likes of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. But the Phillies have Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins plus Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Not only are the Phillies as powerful as the Brewers but their pitching and defense is much better. Outside of C.C. Sabathia, the Brew Crew doesn't have much pitching. Sure there's Ben Sheets but he's been hurting and Sabathia can only pitch on three days rest for so long. Another sweep. Phillies in three.
NLDS - Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Cubs haven't won the World Series in 100 years. They haven't played a World Series since the end of World War II (that's 1945 folks.) And I don't think they will in 2008. Manny Ramirez has turned the Dodgers into a feared force. But even if Cubs pitching shuts down Manny I believe Andre Ethier will rise to the occasion. There's one other former Red Sox I see making an impact for the Dodgers - Derek Lowe. He is starting Game 1 for the Dodgers and has a habit of pitching playoff clinchers. Don't get me wrong the Cubs won't roll over. In fact, they'll fight tooth and nail. All the more reason Cubs fans will have their hearts broken yet again. Dodgers in five.
NLCS - Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Manny Ramirez changes everything. Even if he isn't hitting there's still the possibility he can. Yes, Brad Lidge has been perfect in save situations. But I see Manny being to Lidge what Albert Pujols was to him back in 2005. Dodgers in 7.
2008 World Series - Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Yes, I see an all Los Angeles World Series. Yeah, Manny hit a walk off HR off K-Rod in the 2007 ALDS. But that was then. This is now. K-Rod has long forgotten that encounter. Angels in six.