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Oktoberfest Moves on Without the A's (or Giants)

I have to, first of all, grieve with all NoCal fans. What a weekend! First the A's, then the Giants. If you're an A's fan, at least the boys across the Bay did you one better. 3 - 0 in the bottom of the 9th?

Okay, getting back to the here and now… Some of you may be wondering, "That's all he's going to mention about my A's?!" (Giants fans make the appropriate substitution). Sorry, there's always next year, and we have to move on. More than anything, A's fans should be wondering if next season their team will be referred to as the San Jose A's.

Yankees Vs. Twins
It's currently 5 - 5 in game 2 between the Yankees and the Twins. The Twins think they have the right makeup to match the Yankees. That kind of confidence goes a long way, but so do wins and loses. Taking a cue from the Angels, who took it to the Yankees a couple of years ago, winning against them will be no small matter. This Yankee team has consistently shown a kind of Lakers-aura of invincibility. A-Rod, Jeter, Shef... these guys are rock stars, models, and athletes rolled into one. Every time the Yankees were challenged by the Red Sox, they kicked it up a notch. So the question has to be -- how much do these Yankees hunger for championships? They have the most overall talent of any team not named the Cardinals.

That said, Johan Santana will have a lot to say about this outcome. He has been flat-out dealing and did so again in game 1. In a five game series, he will pitch two times. That might be the difference. The Twins' offense doesn't scare me but the combination of Santana-Radke should give the Yankees fits. Of course this game 2 will be crucial if the Yankees are to get back to the World Series.

Key indicator: If the Yankees have or don't have the lead after 7 innings.

Winner: I like to play with fire so I'm taking the Twins in the big first round upset. Five games.

Red Sox vs. Angels
If names were how I chose the winner, of course I'd choose the Angels. Who could ever not want the Angels to win? Unfortunately, for the Angels talent and drive are the measures against which the winner of this series will be determined. That's why the Red Sox are my pick for the World Series this year. They have the third best talent level, but I feel the Red Sox have the most drive out of any of these teams. I didn't think they were going to be this good when I made my early season picks. I thought they would fold down the stretch, leaving the West with the wildcard. But the Red Sox would not be denied. They got back in the race with the Nomar trade. And Schilling kept getting better and better as the season continued. Also, Cabrera was a find.

In this series, the Red Sox look to beat up on (at least Johnny Damon, aka Mountain Man, does) a good but not great Angel team that scrambled passed a slowly dying A's team. As with the A's, something is lacking from the championship team of a couple of years ago. Didn't it seem to be in that year that the Angel's hitters had permanent rights to first and third base? This year, no such luck.

The Red Sox on the other hand have a great, consistent 1-2 punch in Schilling and Martinez. Nobody can match that. If they are on, I think the curse will be over and the Red Sox will deliver a championship to their long-suffering fans. The offense is solid.

Key Indicator: Can the Angels successfully claim first and third?

Winner: Red Sox in four games.