The lengthy Major League Baseball season is finally over and we’re left with eight teams remaining to compete in October to win the World Series. Some teams come in to the postseason playing well while others have limped in with poor play the past couple of weeks. Some have been there and done that while others are making their first trip to the playoffs. The American League offers more competitive divisional series whereas the National League looks a little more one-sided. Let’s get to my MLB Divisional Picks:
In the American League, I hit 3 of 4 playoff teams based on my preseason predictions. I had the Red Sox instead of the Rays. I still see the playoffs playing out the same way as I did back in April.
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins
The Twins have been here before and struggled mightily against the Yanks lately, losing 14 of their last 16 including last year’s playoffs. Not a good omen. However, the Twins are playing their first playoff games in their new stadium, Target Field which should be a boost. The Twins are missing Justin Morneau as he’s been ruled out for the postseason.
The Yankees are the defending champs and are ready to repeat. Their pitching has been inconsistent but they’ve got great experience and still one of the best lineups in baseball. Robinson Cano has been huge for them this year and he’ll be the one to watch now and see how he does when he’s counted on in the playoffs.
The loss of Morneau is big. He’s one of the Twins best players and would give them a lift if he was in the lineup. The Yankees are good and will win this series.
THE PICK: YANKEES IN 5
Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays held on to win the AL East and secure homefield in the AL playoffs. They’ve got a lot of young players who’ve gained experience the last few years and they know how to win in the postseason having made the World Series just two years ago.
The Rangers ran away with the AL West this year with just tremendous offensive production. They then decided to make a big move and acquired Cliff Lee, a postseason star from last year. Lee didn’t produce the anticipated results since the move the Rangers didn’t get him to win regular season games. He’s in Texas to win in the playoffs.
This series hinges on game 1. If Cliff Lee can outduel David Price, the Rangers have a chance. I think the Rays are the better team.
THE PICK: RAYS IN 5
In the National League, I had two of the four playoff teams in my preseason picks. I had the Phils winning the East and the Braves as the Wildcard. I was way off though on the Reds and Giants. I had Cincy projected fifth in the Central and the Giants fourth in the West.
Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants
The Giants were outstanding in the September. They showed they have the best pitching in the game and their offense did enough that they were able to overtake the Padres to clinch the West. If their offense can keep going, they could surprise this postseason.
The Braves are trying to win it for Bobby Cox who will retire when their year wraps up. They’ve been up and down but are hoping it’s all coming together for one last run to the World Series for Cox. They hope emotion can carry them through these playoffs but they’ve got a tough road.
Ultimately, the Giants look a lot like the old Braves’ teams that had tremendous pitching staffs with adequate lineups. They will ride that to a sweep in this round ending Bobby Cox’s career.
THE PICK: GIANTS IN 3
Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies struggled at the start of the year but have come on strong and are ready to defend their league championship. They have great pitching and the best lineup in the NL. Roy Halladay is ready to
The Reds were a huge surprise running away with the NL Central. Joey Votto is a serious MVP candidate and had a great year leading this team. They have a lot of young players that haven’t experienced the postseason and that will be an issue.
The Phillies have better pitching and hitting and more experience. They will make quick work of the Reds.
THE PICK: PHILLIES IN 3
And I'm sticking with my preseason World Series prediction of the Phillies over the Yankees in 6.
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