Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - I think the tone for this series will be set with tonight's game. If Brandon Webb stakes the Snakes to a one-game lead, they'll take the series. Chicago plays tight when they get behind and tighter still in the postseason at Wrigley. Best case scenario for the Small Bears: Alfonso Soriano leads off the game tonight with a homer.
D-Backs in five.
Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Potentially the most entertaining of all the early-round matchups. Two hustling, scrappy teams that play balls-out. Tons of great young players that nobody's ever heard of. Naturally, MLB is burying the first two games in the three o'clock graveyard time slot. Heaven forbid that Joe Torre or Kevin Youkilis might pick their noses without all of America admiring their haul in prime time, right? Colorado has to be gassed after closing the season winning 13 of 14 and then enduring that 13-inning marathon play-in game with the Padres, right? I'm thinking so.
Phillies in four.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Diddy Ali vs. Boston Red Sox - It's a struggle to be objective here because I actively loathe the Red Sox. But when the Sox are on, they're a juggernaut. Beckett and Dice-K in the first two games? With Schilling waiting to take the mound for game three? Forget it.
Red Sox in a sweep. Four games, tops.
New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians - These two teams are so even that little things will decide this series. Cue up the "Blah, blah, blah....nobody does all the little things like Derek Jeter...blah, blah, blah" white noise. (Personally, I believe that...but liking Jeter makes you a pariah among "real" baseball fans.) The Yankees' starting pitching is iffy and, if I'm the Indians, I never want to go into the postseason counting on Paul Byrd. I give the Yanks a slight edge...thanks to their experience and a couple of guys named Chamberlain and Rivera. Borowski might blow one for the Tribe but those two will carry the Yanks into the ALCS.
Yankees in five.