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San Diego Padres to Upset Cardinals

Yeah, that's right.  The Cardinals are going down in the first round.  I finally have something in common with Buster Olney, who also picked the Padres to defeat St. Louis.  (OK, we have two things in common - my first name is also Buster.)

Buster and me aren't the only ones picking against the winningest team in baseball.  David  Pinto of Baseball Musings won't come right out and say it, but he does hint at a possible upset.  Pinto mentions that the Padres have "five pitchers that can blow batters away."  Which brings me to my first reason for Padre victory:

Deep Bullpen That Misses Bats

In a five game series, this goes a long way.  Having four dominant relievers lessens the load on a team's weaker starters, and the Padres have plenty of those.  The Hoffman-Seanez-Otsuka-Linebrink beast can turn a game into a four inning affair.  I call it Hofbrinksukanez.  If Adam Eaton puts all of his energy into throwing four or five solid innings, that may be enough for a victory.  The Cards have a nice bullpen, although they just lost top strikeout artist Al Reyes

Jake Freakin' Peavy

Peavy was awesome this year.  His 9.58 K/9 was second only to Mark Prior among starters.  Plus, Peavy should have some gas left in the tank after throwing forty innings less than Chris Carpenter.  He's coming off a dominant mean streak for the last two months.  Remember why the Marlins won in 2003?  Josh Beckett.  Peavy can be this year's Beckett.  I think the 24 year-old can carry the team and win two games in the NLDS.

Chris Carpenter Looks Shaky

Admit it, Cardinals fans - you're worried about Carpenter now.  No doubt he had an incredible season, but the 5.73 September ERA is no small concern.  He's never pitched so many innings in his life.  If Carpenter reverts back to his good but not great 2004 form, the Cards will lack the ace that every playoff team needs.  Much like the White Sox, their rotation is built for the long haul, not a five game series.

Overrated Cardinals Hitters

Pujols is a superstar, and Edmonds is very good.  Edmonds is fighting a strained shoulder at the moment however.  Larry Walker is on life support, relying on cortisone shots.  Some combination of the three will be formidable, but this isn't Manny/Papi by any stretch.  The Cardinal lineup is fully capable of being subdued by Jake Peavy.

Luck

That's right, good ole' Lady Luck makes a Padre win plenty possible even if their team were blatantly inferior.  Check out some of the streaks this Mystery Team conjured up:

  • Won 2 of 3 from Angels in April
  • Swept 3 from Yankees in late May/early June
  • Took 2 of 3 from White Sox in July
  • Won 2 of 3 from Oakland in August
  • Won another 2 of 3 from Boston in August
  • Beat the White Sox 2 of 3 again in September

Of course, I'm talking about the Kansas City Royals.  Absolutely anything can happen during a short series.  That's why you should get some money down on the Padres to win the NLDS.  You'll get 3 to 1 odds on that.  As World Series Champs?  30 to 1.  You could turn $20 into $600.  If Peavy's on his game, it could happen. 

Today's pick: (1-2, -$70)
Jake Peavy (+160) over Chris Carpenter (-200)




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