Monday, May 8

Early Series Capsules: 5/8/06 - 5/10/06

Update! I'm actually posting something tangible after this. The horror!

Again, same basic idea as I did last time. Consider yourself warned.

#5: Houston Astros (19-12, L3, 4-6) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (15-17, W3, 5-5)
Pitching Matchups:
5/9: Pettitte vs Seo
5/10: Buchholz vs Tomko
5/11: Rodriguez vs Lowe

For the Astros:
Ouch. Get swept in Colorado, which can't be good for the psyche. Didn't hit well in Coors, either. They're struggling, and unless they ramp it around quickly, they could be up against it in the NL Central really quickly.

The good news? Their surprises are pitching - Buchholz and Rodriguez. There's no telling when they'll come back to earth, but you have to ride it while you can. Their pitching shouldn't be horrible in Chavez Ravine.

Can they win here? It's possible. Seo and Tomko aren't spectacular, so they should pull out one of those games. This is a very open series; if they get hot early (they have a game tonight, too), then they could very easily roll through here.

For the Dodgers:
Momentum is nice. Currently riding a 3-game sweep of the Brewers, the Dodgers now welcome in a struggling Astros team. Can they piece it together enough to sniff .500? Perhaps. Their starters should be serviceable, leaving the bulk of the burden on the offense. That's going to be a problem against the Astros starters.

Figure they'll win one game at least (not the Tuesday night game, though) and move from there. Homefield advantage should get them two, but there's no real key to this series, oddly enough.

#4: Milwaukee Brewers (15-15, L3, 4-6) @ San Diego Padres (16-15, W8, 8-2)
Pitching Matchups:
5/9: Davis vs Hensley
5/10: Capuano vs Park
5/11: Bush vs Peavy

For the Brewers:
Live by the young kids, die by them, huh? They lost a couple of close games to the Dodgers this weekend before getting blown out on Sunday. They should rebound, especially given the guys they're throwing. Davis is the key to this series for the Brewers - if he pitches well, they can come out of this series with a victory. Otherwise, they might win one, but asking for more than that will be tough.

David Bush draws the short straw and has to go against Peavy on Thursday. That's going to hurt, as he has to pitch pretty much perfectly to have any real shot of a victory. Of course, if the offense retools, all bets are off, but a 2-1 series victory isn't out of the question here.

For the Padres:
Eight-game winning streak? Yikes. The good news is Peavy goes for them in this series, so they've got a good shot at winning at least one. They're on a roll to boot - even Hensley and Park might be able to scrape enough run support to pull a game out. Of course, when you're not routing the hapless Cubs, that's not saying much. A couple of close victories early on before a decisive Sunday victory give this series the same basic view as the previous series for both these ballclubs.

Still, give the homefield advantage to the Padres and don't expect a lot of runs. Do expect a 2-1 series break for the Pads.

#3: New York Mets (21-10, L1, 7-3) @ Philadelphia Phillies (17-14, W8, 8-2)
Pitching Matchups:
5/9: Martinez vs Myers
5/10: Glavine vs Lidle
5/11: Trachsel vs Floyd

For the Mets:
Uh-oh. Here comes Lima Time. Well, to be precise, Lima Time went on Sunday, but still, there are some back-end rotation issues that the Mets won't have to deal with this series. They will, however, get to deal with Gavin Floyd. Open season!

Aside from that, though, this matchup is pretty even. Undoubtedly, the pressure is on the Mets to keep their hot start intact, and they'll be tested against a scorching Phillies team. Look for the Mets' bats to have an impact in the second two games, and if they're going to win the first, it's going to be on the back of Pedro.

For the Phillies:
Normally, I'd say they don't have much of a chance, but let's check the matchups. They're not too bad pitching-wise; Myers gets the short end of the stick, but if anyone can handle it on this staff, it's him. Glavine's been off the chain lately for the Mets, but who knows how long that'll last. They need to bring the bats on Thursday, though.

The Phillies need to get a little lucky here, to be honest. However, roasting San Fran is a pretty good tune-up for your bats, as their weekend victories were convincing. A sweep is probably too much to ask for, but a series win is at least plausible.

#2: Colorado Rockies (19-13, W3, 7-3) @ St. Louis Cardinals (20-12, W3, 5-5)
Pitching Matchups:
5/8: Francis vs Marquis
5/9: Fogg vs Carpenter
5/10: Kim vs Suppan

For the Rockies:
So much for struggling at home. After wiping out Houston there, the Rockies take their show on the road. They get a Cards team that isn't as good as the previous year's model, but still isn't bad in its own right. Brad Hawpe's been a road monster this year; if he can keep doing that, then the Rockies stand a chance.

Figure they'll lose the game Carpenter's starting. The other matchups aren't quite in their favor, but they're not so slanted that they can't pull both out. A series victory might be pushing it for them - but then again, they seem to be winning out of spite now anyway.

For the Cardinals:
Uh-oh. You knew they were going to get hot eventually, and while 5-5 in the last 10 isn't exactly hot, the 3-game winning streak could easily be a sign of things to come. There are holes, but they shouldn't be too terribly tested against the Rockies. Carpenter should rock the house against them.

For the other games, the question is where does the offense come (outside of Pujols)? It's a good question; Edmonds has struggled, and Rolen needs a third bat in the lineup to provide some protection - and that's a bat they don't have right now. If someone gets hot - Encarnacion, maybe - then you could see this lineup roll. Otherwise, they've got issues, but they can probably piece it together enough to win at least two.

#1: Boston Red Sox (19-12, W4, 6-4) @ New York Yankees (18-11, W5, 8-2)
Pitching Matchups:
5/9: Beckett vs Johnson
5/10: Schilling vs Mussina
5/11: Wakefield vs Chacon

For the Red Sox:
Everyone and their brother is covering this series. I'll be brief. Beckett and Schilling gives the Sox a huge advantage in the pitching department, as all the Yanks starters are at least reachable. If Wakefield has a good knuckler, then the Sox might sweep. If not, 2-1 is possible.

For the Yankees:
They've gotta hit. Plain and simple. If they do that, they'll give the pitching enough of a cushion to make a few mistakes, which they could very well need.