Holy shit that was an exciting end to the season. A month ago, everyone was talking about how there was no races except maybe the AL Central. Well it ended up that the Tigers were the first team in MLB to clinch and we had some crazy finishes for the Wild Cards last night. The collapses of Boston and Atlanta were crazy. Hopefully the playoffs will be just as exciting. We are going to preview the Divisional Series and give you our prediction for who will end up in the League Championships.
Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees
Tigers: The Tigers won their division for the first time since 1987. They have quite possibly the best pitcher, hitter and closer in baseball in Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverder respectively. Verlander will win the Cy Young, should win the MVP and facing him is any team’s worst nightmare. The Tigers also made incredibly good trade deadline moves, including picking up Doug Fister who became their number 2 pitcher.
Yankees: The Yankees have powered to the best record in the AL, and it is mostly because of their bats. Curtis Granderson, a former Tiger, is having a MVP caliber year as is Robinson Cano. They are buoyed by playing in the band box that is the New Yankee Stadium. Beyond CC Sabathia, their pitching is highly suspect.
Pick: Tigers in 4
Tampa Bay Rays vs Texas Rangers
Rays: What is lost in the epic collapse of Boston, is the effort of the Rays to get in the playoffs, especially in the perennially difficult AL East. Their reward is a rematch of last year’s ALDS matchup with the Rangers. The Rays batting has done just enough to support their strong pitching staff led by James Shields. The big question is do they have enough left in the tanks to get past Texas.
Rangers: The Ranger’s put together a strong September to allow them to close out the AL West as well as secure home field advantage in the ALDS. The Rangers have incredibly dangerous lineup, leading the league in batting average and second in slugging percentage. CJ Wilson has stepped into the vacancy left by Cliff Lee’s exit to Philadelphia and been a strong staff ace.
Pick: Rangers in 5
St. Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies
Cardinals: There were a lot of times in the season when it looked like St. Louis had no chance of making it into the playoffs. They were able to chase down the imploding Braves and secure the wild card. It is hard to count out any team with Albert Pujols, but their pitching staff has been mediocre at best throughout the season and it will be difficult for their hot bats to overcome the arms.
Phillies: At the beginning of the season, the Phils were ordained as the chosen ones, and who can blame them with the pitching staff that they assembled. I mean Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels pitching in a three-man rotation might be enough to win this entire thing by themselves. Their batting and fielding are pretty solid and only need to put up a few runs to get the victories. Plus they have the Phanatic…
Pick: Phillies in 3
Arizona Diamondbacks vs Milwaukee Brewers
Diamondbacks: The D-Backs have been one of the most surprising teams in baseball. They went from 97 losses last year to 94 wins and an NL West championship, and a large part of it is because of second year manager Kirk Gibson (former MSU Spartan and Detroit Tiger). They have bought in to his hard work ethic and the results are there. Ian Kennedy has had a fantastic season leading a strong pitching staff and will get some Cy Young consideration for sure.
Brewers: The Brewers are an impressive team on the mound, in the field and at the plate. They have the likely NL MVP in Ryan Braun, who has had a tremendous season, as well as one of the biggest bats in the league, Prince Fielder. Their pitching staff with Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf will make them a difficult out for any team. Maybe the statue of Bud Selig out front of Miller Park has given them some sort of super powers.
Pick: Brewers in 4
So, what do you think? Did I get it right or do you have a better idea of how its going to go? Check back for the ALCS and NLCS predictions next week after these come true.
Images: Phillies.com, MLB