The dust has finally settled on the regular season and it is time for the postseason. At the start of each round I will offer my predictions for how each series will turn out.
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
The Yankees finished with the best record in the American League while the Tigers are arguably the hottest team in baseball right now. This series will come down to pitching. Detroit has the luxury of throwing out the run away Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. Having Verlander throwing twice in a possible five games gives Detroit a huge advantage. The Yankees have their own ace in C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia is likely to finish second in Cy Young voting. In the end I feel that Detroit has more pitching after Verlander. Doug Fister has been amazing since being acquired at the trade deadline, plus Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello have had solid seasons. Not to mention closer Jose Valverde has converted on all of is 49 save attempts. For the Yankees, after Sabathia they will send out rookie Ivan Nova and A.J. Burnett. Ivan Nova had an impressive 16-4 record, but I dust not trust a rookie pitcher on this stage and Burnett is too inconsistent. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera may be the best closer to ever play the game but he has blown some big postseason games. In the end I feel that the Detroit Tigers will squeak out a series win in 5 games.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Those loveable Tampa Bay Rays captured the nation’s hearts and overcame a 9 game September deficit to take the AL Wild Card away from the Boston Red Sox. It was one of the most magical runs in baseball history. Tampa’s magic will run out very fast when they run into the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers. Tampa is known for their pitching, while Texas is known for their hitting. Something has to give, and I feel that the Tampa’s arms may have worn themselves out getting into the playoffs, while Texas coasted to a second consecutive AL West crown. Texas’ bats will be too much for the upstart Rays and the Rangers will win the series in 4 games.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Much like the Tampa Bay Rays, the St. Louis Cardinals used a historic September run from 8.5 games back to steal the NL Wild Card away from the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals and Albert Pujols’ St. Louis career will be over in about a week. Pujols and Lance Berkman have had great seasons but they will run into three aces from Philly: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels. The Phillies can also use Roy Oswalt out of the bullpen in a five game series. Baseball’s best team also possess one of the best lineups. Even though the Cardinals have an ace in Chris Carpenter, their pitching won’t be able to tame the Philadelphia bats as the Phils will sweep the Cards.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are perhaps the most surprising team in these playoffs. Nobody expected the Dbacks to do much, but first year skipper Kirk Gibson turned them into a force. The Dbacks are led by Justin Upton, and surprising NL Cy Young Award candidate Ian Kennedy. The Diamondbacks will be a hard out for the Brewers. The Milwaukee Brewers will bring an explosive offensive attack and balanced pitching staff to the party. In the end I feel that their two NL MVP candidates Ryan Braun and Price Fielder will be too much to for the Dbacks to handle and the Brewers will win in 5 games.