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Ok, so the first pitch has been thrown and the 2005 Baseball Playoffs are underway.

Here are my predictions:

Padres vs. Cardinals:  Cardinals in 1.

The Cardinals are going to win the first game 23-1.  The Padres will concede the rest of the series and apoligize for even being in the playoffs with an 82-80 record. 

Astros and Braves:  Astros in 4.

The Braves, too, will apoligize for continuing to win the National League East.  Roger Clemens will nail Chipper Jones in the face intentially, ruining a division series perfect game but then get the next guy to preserve the no-hitter.  Clemens will use age and dementia as an excuse for the wayward 97MPH fastball.  Nobody buys it.  Doesn't matter...  everyone's tired of the Braves anyway.

Yanks and Angels:  Angels in 5. 

Garret Anderson will drive in 10 runs.  Still, he will be drafted in the 12th round of most fantasy leagues next year.  He will legally change his name to "No respect."  Arod will go another year without a ring.  Yankee stadium will be packed with fans who got corporate seats and have never been to a baseball game before.  They'll wonder why that Ruth fellow isn't playing.  Mariano Rivera will not give up a run in his 5 appearences.  Neither will K-Rod.

Sox vs. Sox:  Red Sox in 4.

Podsednick will steal 8 bases in the series.  Both teams will combine for more than 8 runs in every game.  Red Sox fans won't even watch or attend, because, after last year, everything else is gravy.  I can't seriously pick the White Sox here, mostly because, as Brian pointed out, they're throwing out Jose Contraras in the first game.

League Championship Series:

Cards and Astros:  Astros in 6.

Pitching wins games.  Clemens will give up four hits in his two shutouts... 3 in the first game, 1 in his second appearence.  Craig Biggio will also pitch, catch and play SS, and be solid all around.  He'll also get his helmet dirty.  As good as the Cards are, the three headed pitching monster will just be too much to take.  Rocket, Pettitte and Oswalt...   bye bye Birds.

Red Sox and Angels:   Red Sox in 7.

This will be the most dramatic series of the post season.  Garrett Anderson will win MVP in spite of the Angels loss.  These games are going to be slugfests.  I'm not too keen on either team's pitching.  Look out for Earvin Santana, though...   he could be a pleasent surprise for the Angels.

World Series:

Red Sox and Astros:   Astros in 6.

The Red Sox just aren't as good as they were last year.  No Pedro.  Shilling has been hurt.  Keith Foulke is gone.  They're still a fun bunch and probably going to be the best playoff team in the AL, but the best teams this year are the Cards and the Astros and either one could beat them.  I'm a fan of Craig Biggio because he's not flashy and he plays wherever they want him to... and just hits.   I'd like to see him win a Series MVP, but I feel like Lidge is going to factor in here at some point.  Roger Clemens will retire after this season, then come back in the spring and pitch seven more seasons, breaking Ryan's K record.