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October 1, 2008 Playoff Games Open Thread

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I just love the playoffs, even when the Cards are noticeably absent. One thing that really stands out about the playoff teams is how many good, young pitchers will be starting playoff games. Today's first game includes two of the more exciting young pitchers in the game -- Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers and Cole Hamels of the Phils. Gallardo's thrown all of 24 IP this season yet, w/ Sabathia having thrown more than 120 pitches on Sunday on three days rest, and w/ Sheets' health in question, Dale Sveum's going to roll the dice w/ the Brew Crew's youngest starter. Gallardo's thrown 4 innings since May -- starting a game last week and going 67 pitches against the Pirates. BTW, he struck out 7 in those 4 innings. Nevertheless, you'd have to think that the prospect of Gallardo going twice in this series is really going to tax the shaky Brewers pen.

The prime time game pits two free agents -- Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster. This series pits two teams w/ some pretty damned good bullpens. The Cubs have to be considered the favorites (I don't want them to win either!) but the health of their pitching staff has to be considered a concern. Zambrano's been shaky of late and Rich Harden's thrown 17 innings in September. He's been much better than Zambrano, however, and the Cubs do have Lilly and (gulp!) Bipolar Betty waiting in the wings.

The late game, for those who either don't have to get up early or don't care if they're fully functional at work tomorrow appears to be, on paper at least, the best opening round series. That's true as long as the BoSox rotation holds up. (I'm looking at you, Josh Beckett!) It'll be either Dice-K or youngster Jon Lester against the Angels' John Lackey. My gut tells me that it'll be Dice-K for the Sox and if so, both teams will be choosing older pitchers in game 1 rather than their younger counterparts (Lester and Ervin Santana) who were better over the course of the season. This is a heavyweight matchup between two strong teams. I hope Beckett can go and maybe Bud can change this to a best 4 out of 7 series. Feel free also to follow along on any of our sbnation friends' blogs:

Brew Crew Ball

The Good Phight

Bleed Cubbie Blue

True Blue LA

Over the Monster

Halos Heaven