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2007 Division Series Previews

The playoffs are finally here, and if Monday night's 13-inning thriller between the Padres and Rockies is a harbinger of things to come, this will be a sensational October. Here's a quick look at each of the Division Series match-ups:

Lineup and starting pitching ratings are based on my hitter and pitcher rating systems. Odds of winning series is based on my adjusted pythagorean formula. The two are completely separate formulas, but in theory should correlate.

Angels vs. Red Sox

Lineup Ratings:
Angels - 81
Red Sox - 82

Starting Pitching Ratings:
Angels - 80
Red Sox - 82

Odds of Winning Series:
Angels - 36%
Red Sox - 64%

Bottom Line: Talent-wise, these two teams are fairly evenly matched. However, Mike Scioscia's absurdly aggressive base-running hampers the Angels offense much more than it helps it. John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, and Vladimir Guerrero might be good enough to bail the Angels out, but I doubt it. The Red Sox are the better team to start with, they are managed better, and they also have home-field advantage. I'll take the Red Sox in four games.

Yankees vs. Indians

Lineup Ratings:
Yankees - 83
Indians - 79

Starting Pitching Ratings:
Yankees - 78
Indians - 82

Odds of Winning Series:
Yankees - 59%
Indians - 41%

Bottom Line: The Yankees offense is scary good, but so are C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. I tend to not put much stock in playoff experience, but I doubt Sabathia and Carmona are resting real easy knowing they are facing such an intimidating lineup that won't be intimidated by playoff baseball at all. New York's starting pitching is not great, but it's good enough with that potent lineup. Grudgingly, I'm picking the Yankees in four games.

Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

Lineup Ratings:
Cubs - 79
Diamondbacks - 76

Starting Pitching Ratings:
Cubs - 80
Diamondbacks - 76

Odds of Winning Series:
Cubs - 59%
Diamondbacks - 41%

Bottom Line: The Diamondbacks are the best team in the NL only by wins and by no other sort of measurable. Granted, wins are ultimately all that matter, but at some point reality will catch them. The Cubs clearly have the better offense, and they also have the better starting staff (though Brandon Webb is the best pitcher in this series). Bob Melvin is a terrific manager, but Sweet Lou is no slouch, and he's got the better hand to play with. The Cubs in five games are my pick.

Rockies vs. Phillies

Lineup Ratings:
Rockies - 83
Phillies - 83

Starting Pitching Ratings:
Rockies - 70
Phillies - 76

Odds of Winning Series:
Rockies - 54%
Phillies - 46%

Bottom Line: Both teams rely on their offenses and hope their pitching is good enough to win. This wasn't so much the case with the Rockies at the start of the season, but their staff has taken major hits thanks to injuries. Still, this is the staff the Rockies have won 14 of their last 15 games with. It's great that the two feel-good stories of the past few weeks will face each other, because it guarantees one of them will play for a World Series berth. If Colorado had Aaron Cook and/or Rodrigo Lopez I would pick them to win, but because they don't I'll go with the Phillies in five games.