Two...big.... SERIES. (What did you think I was gonna say?)
See, I could basically write something completely ridiculous here right now and you'd not even notice it thanks to that opening photo. See, here:
The Tampa Bay Rays are in the American League Championship Series.
How ridiculous is THAT? Oh, right...
Tampa Bay Rays versus Boston Red Sox -- I think this series has a chance to be great. The Rays, as I mentioned earlier today, are probably the only team that can really stand in the way of the Red Sox. The Sox are cocky and confident but they lost 10 of 18 to the Rays this season, including some crucial late-season games in Boston. And the Rays pretty much owned them at home. You could go with the argument that the Rays are too young and might feel the pressure, and that the Sox are so experienced and seem to be an October steamroller these days. But I keep coming back to the facts that, as mentioned, the Rays played the Sox well this season and that they won the AL East by winning 97 games. That's pretty impressive. I think each team will win once in the other team's park and that it's going to go the distance. Rays in 7.
Philadelphia Phillies versus Los Angeles Dodgers -- Who would have guessed the Dodgers would get to here, only four wins (over the Phillies!) away from the World Series? And in Joe Torre's first year. And with the possibility of Torre, Lowe and, of course, Manny, going back to Boston for the World Series. It's kind of amazing, since the Dodgers were mediocre almost all year and only began playing well when Manny showed up, though even then they managed to have an 8-game losing streak (which, in the NL West, only costs you like 2 games in the standings). I think LA's pitching is incredibly deep; the Phillies pitching is also pretty strong and looked great against Milwaukee. On offense, these teams are closer than you think, thanks to Manny, but really, if the Phillies have any sense, they won't let Manny beat them. Somehow, the Cubs let Manny belt it around the yard, though, so who knows? But I picked against Joe and the Dodgers in the first round and I'm not doing it again. I think they make it in an exciting series. Dodgers in 6.