Here are my quick picks for the various MLB Division Series starting this afternoon!
New York Yankees vs Detroit Tigers
How fun will it be to watch Justin Verlander vs CC Sabathia? A baseball fans dream to be sure. Because both pitchers are so dominant, they cancel each other out dramatically, so that perceived advantage the Tigers have evaporates quickly. I love Doug Fister, but who knows how he’ll do under the bright lights of pressurized playoff baseball. The Yanks have the best lineup in baseball, and I am encouraged by how well they played down the stretch. Detroit can hit, and the Yanks have issues in their rotation, but I can’t see anyone out slugging the Bombers. Yankees in 4.
Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are rolling into post season on one of the most incredible runs ever. Boston’s collapse opened the door for Joe Maddon’s crew to take the AL Wildcard in an unforgettable Wednesday night rollercoaster. It’s a great story, and I admit I’m rooting for Tampa to win this series. The problem is Texas is a better team. People tend to forget Tampa was struggling to score runs most of the season, and even down the stretch it took Evan Longoria’s bat catching fire for them to win. We know Texas can hit and score with anyone. They have a deep, balanced lineup. I think Texas’s pitching is underrated, they have a legit #1 in CJ Wilson and good pieces behind him, with a strong bullpen. Tampa is rolling a green as grass rookie out there for game one, and who knows in game 2. Texas won’t see Shields or Price until games 3 and 4, and then potentially another rookie in game 5. All this means is Tampa’s rotation is messed up for a short 5 game series, while Texas is setting things up nicely. My heart wants Tampa, and hey Joe Maddon gets more out of less than anyone, but I just don’t see how they out hit the Rangers. Tampa will stay on a roll and force 5 games, but that’s it. Rangers in 5.
Milwaukee Brewers vs Arizona Diamondbacks
This is the great mystery match up of the playoffs. Two teams that get almost no national attention, yet are packed with ridiculous talent. The Brewers are lead by Prince and MVP candidate Ryan Braun, while Arizona is lead by Cy Young hopeful Ian Kennedy and young stud Justin Upton. I’ve been intrigued by both teams all year. I love the Brewers make up, a tough, brash arrogant bunch that simply bashes the ball and wins a ton of home games. They have a decent bull pen, with ok starting pitching that is supported by the power bats. Arizona is simply a reflection of their manager, Kirk Gibson. They play tough and together as well, also playing with a chip that borders on arrogance. The key to this series to me is simple: Milwaukee has the home field advantage, statistically the best in baseball. And even on the road at Chase Field, a very homer friendly park, they’ll mash big flys. I think Prince blows up in this series, especially when they go on the road and the DBacks fans boo him again for his perceived all star snub of Upton. Kennedy and Hudson are solid pitchers, but completely unproven in the post season, especially against a powerful lineup. I’m bullish on the Brewers here. Crew in 4.
Philadelphia Phillies vs St Louis Cardinals
The Phillies come into the post season as the perceived favorites in the NL, and for good reason. When you roll Halladay, Lee and Hamels out there for the first three games, it’s hard to see how the Cards win a game, especially when Carpenter isn’t available until they go home. For this reason, and this reason alone, I love the Phillies here. St Louis is much like Tampa: red hot coming into the playoffs, but they have a jumbled starting rotation with a woefully over worked bullpen. Yes, I know the Phils struggled quite a bit down the stretch, but that doesn’t concern me at all. This is a veteran team with one goal, and that’s to win the World Series. They’ll regroup and refocus with renewed energy. I know the Cards are a chic pick in light of their recent success, but I see a let down coming, and I also see the Phillies starters dominating. Cards win one at home with Carpenter on the bump, and that’s it. Phillies in 4.
Pumped for some fall baseball! Wish the M’s were in it! Sick of the losing, wake up Howard and Chuckles! Time to hit the road!