I WAS WRONG about every divisional series.
Yankees. Red Sox. Braves. Yes, even the — gulp — Padres.
Hey, at least I was consistent. If I was right about just one series, notably the Yankees, then I would have looked worse. "Oh, way to go out on a limb and pick the team with a $200 million salary."
0-and-4 is beyond bad. 0-and-4 is gloriously off-the-mark. It's a direct result of over-thinking, over-analyzing, and having the brain capacity of pine tar.
I FIGURED THE Yankees had enough quality starting pitching, experienced clutch hitting and a guaranteed lockdown by Mariano Rivera in the last 1 1/2 innings of each game.
And Mike Mussina did pitch a gem in Game 1, with 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Shawn Chacon had a gutsy outing, 6 1/3 innings allowing 2 runs and putting his team in a position to win Game 4, which they did.
But Randy Johnson got shelled in Game 3. And rather than starting diamond-in-the-rough Aaron Small, they gave the ball to rookie Chien-Ming Wang in Game 2. Finally, Mussina was hit early and often in Game 5.
And when Bartolo Colon went down for the Angels after an inning with an injury in the deciding Game 5, I thought I'd have that one correct prediction. But rookie Ervin Santana went 5+ innings, outlasting Mike Mussina and earning the win over Randy Johnson in the same game. I don't think anyone else can say they beat 487 career wins worth of pitching in a single game, let alone someone with 12 career victories.
I FIGURED THE White Sox was the season's surprise team whose division title was a fitting prize, but that was all coming their way. Plus the Red Sox had been here before.
But it wasn't the same Red Sox team, and their monochromic footwear foes exposed those holes — specifically, starting pitching and second base.
I figured the White Sox were too new to this whole playoff thing. New? Paul Konerko was there when they were swept in 2000. So was Mark Buehrle. Three-ringer Orlando Hernandez gave them a legendary relief appearance in the clinching Game 3. Manager Ozzie Guillen has played in a World Series. So did Jose Contreras and Jermaine Dye. In all, nine of the 20 who played for the White Sox in the series had been in the postseason before.
I FIGURED THE Braves had enough magic to go deep into the playoffs. They just didn't have enough bullpen.