First and foremost, the Dodgers are in the playoffs and they didn't need a Steve Finley grand slam this time. They just needed Manny to be Manny.
The Dodgers have been to the playoffs three times since 1988, not including this season: 1995, 1996, and 2006.
They got out of the first round 0 times in those three years.
Now the Dodgers face the best team in the National League. The Cubs don't have too many names that strike fear in opponents. There's no CC Sabathia or Ryan Braun. There's no Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, or Ryan Howard. There's no Johan Santana or Jose Reyes.
The Cubbies have done it with patience, Alfonso Soriano excluded.
They're first in the NL in runs scored, obp, slugging, ops. They have almost 100 more walks than the Dodgers.
On the mound, they're first in BAA, second in ERA, and second in whip.
Ryan Dempster, the game 1 starter overacheived with 17 wins. Ryan Theriot led the team with a .307 batting average. Rich Harden overcame injuries to rebuild his career. Derek Lee bounced back as well. Kosuke Fukodome led the team in walks and name chants.
Only one Cub had 100 RBIs, Aramis Ramirez, but 10 players had at least 38.
Plus the Cubs have "America" on their side. They are the Red Sox of 2004. The Dodgers are no doubt the underdog.
What the Dodgers have is a big question mark. The column L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote at the end of the season had nothing to do with getting out of the divisional round.
It had everything to do with Manny Ramirez. The man has done everything in the second half the season to earn a huge deal, but Plaschke says -- and I agree -- that the Dodgers shouldn't give him that deal.
Reportedly, he will be asking for a 4-year deal worth $100 million. At the absolute least he will command more than the $18 million a year Tubby Jones is making for the Dodgers. The four year deal will take Manny into his 40s and will stifle any effort to go after other marquee free agents such as C.C. Sabathia, who's shopping for houses in California.
In the meantime, let's hope Manny knows that he has to continue putting up big numbers in the playoffs for his contract demands to be legit. Because without him, the Dodgers go back to being mediocre.
Just for the hell of it, I'll make a homer prediction. This Cubs feel good story is too good to be true. They are still cursed, after all.
Dodgers in five.
Before I get to today's special guest predictions, check out my last prep sports video for the Signal Newspaper.
Here's what Guido Murga, formerly of the Dorm Room Sports Chat thinks will happen in the baseball playoffs:
Dev…Opps that was close
Rays vs. AL Central Division Champion (White Sox/Minnesota)
Rays win series 3-1
The Rays are a major league best 57-24 (that’s a .703 winning percentage) at home this season; add that up with these two Central teams potentially playing the season into Tuesday and the Rays go up 2-0 and close it out in 4 on the road.
Let's just hope that the fact that there will be actual people (what I like to call the Florida Fakes, think ’97 and ’03 Marlin Fans) at the stadium in Tampa doesn’t startle the Rays too much. That’s right Florida get those retirement home shuttles ready and get those old folks to the ball park.
Tucson Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels vs. Boston Red Sox
Red Sox win series 3-2
I do not know how I am picking a team that its highest paid player is J.D. Drew... but I guess that Boras guy is just a genius.
The Defending Champs have announced that they will not be able to start their ace Josh Beckett in game 1 which unfortunately means that the Sox will have to go with 16 game winner Jon Lester for game 1 and Dice K who went 18-3 for game 2, slating their ace for a game 3 start.
Boston allowed 694 runs this season and the Angels were just as good only allowing 697.
The difference: Boston Scored 845 runs (that’s +151 for the season) to the Angeles 765 (a dismal +68 in comparison). Sox lose game 1 take the next two and close it out on the road in Game 5 in the series in which I believe features the eventual World Series Champion.
Phillies vs. Brewers
It seems like C.C. Sabathia has started 6 games in the last two weeks. The over use of their Ace will not allow the C.C. to go in Game 1 meaning a game 2 or 3 start is slated with a hope for a Game 5 start.
Sorry Brew Crew…you’ll have C.C. for one more start for the rest of his Brewer Career (Sabathia is the biggest prize in Free Agency).
C.C. dazzles in his one start and the Phils take the other 3 winning it in four.
Cubs vs. Dodgers
The Dodgers have won 1 play off game since their 1988 World Series Win. LIMA TIME! Yes Jose Lima pitched that one playoff win.
And we all know the Sob Story that is Cub baseball.
The Cubs took the season series 5-2, though Chicago did not face the boys in blue from Mannywood.
Which now features Casey Blake, a hot Derek Lowe (5-1 with the loss being a complete game, two-run contest he lost in Washington), and former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez in which changed the entire Dodgers Franchise since his arrival (music is now allowed in Joe Torres Club House!)
The Dodgers have a great mix of young and veteran players with a playoff proven Derek Lowe (Won every series clinching game in Boston’s magical 04’ run) leading the way and a loose atmosphere in the clubhouse along with Joe Torre a manager that is no stranger to the playoffs.
Dodgers keep the curse going and beat the Cubs at home twice.
Also from Guido:
Consider it done.