Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB 2011 Preview: The Playoffs

Now that you have an idea of what to expect from each team, it's time to recap the divisions and talk about what the MLB 2011 postseason has in store for baseball fans (the playoff teams are in bold).

AL East:
1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central:
1. Chicago White Sox
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

AL West:
1. Oakland A's
2. Texas Rangers
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4. Seattle Mariners

NL East:
1. Philadephia Phillies
2. Atlanta Braves
3. Florida Marlins
4. Washinton Nationals
5. New York Mets

NL Central:
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West:
1. San Francisco Giants
2. Colorado Rockies
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

This will give us the follow LDS matchups:

Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers - This will be a matchup of teams that are very similar.  Both teams thrive on offense, but have aces that can shut down opponents and a solid bullpen.  The prospect of two of the best first baseman in the game going head to head is exciting, but it will be their surrounding casts that will tell the story in this series.   In the end, the rotations and bullpens are very equal, but the Red Sox revamped offense will just be too much for the Tigers and will take the series 3-1.

Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland A's - The A's have a very good rotation and bullpen that can get on a roll like the Giants did in 2010.  However, White Sox will be ending the year very hot after battling with the Tigers and Twins for the division.  Chicago's pitching will be effective against a weak A's offense, giving the White Sox power to win the ALDS 3-2.


Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds - I know these are the same matchups as 2010, so I expect them to play out a lot like last year.  The Reds offense is real fun to watch (a nice comeback on Opening Day), but the Phillies pitching is just way too good.  The Reds have the offensive talent to take a game from the Phils (unlike last year), but in the end, Phils win 3-1.

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves - This will be a much improved Braves team taking on the Giants in the NLDS.  The Braves pitching can be very effective and the offense can challenge the Giants stellar rotation.   But this will once again be the time for the Giants offensive playoff leader to step forward and the pitching to dominate.  The Braves keep it close, but the Giants win 3-2


Red Sox vs. White Sox - The battle of the Sox will come down to which team is playing hotter.  I am really high on the White Sox this year (their talent, not the team) and think that they take this series.  The Pale Hose have a underrated rotation and a lineup that can produce alot of power.  Despite the Red Sox outstanding offense, the White Sox are built to win now and have the drive to get back to the World Series. The Chicago White Sox win the AL pennant 4-2


Giants vs. Phillies:  I am so excited to watch these 2 rotation battle it out.  A series with potential like this is the reason we all watch baseball.  Halladay vs. Lincecum, Cain vs. Lee, Sanchez vs. Hamels, and Bumgarner vs. Oswalt.  The Phillies do hold the edge in the starting pitching, but these won't all be complete games.  The Phillies bullpen is very weak, while the Giants only improved theirs after winning it all last year.  I also have serious questions about the health of the Phillies lineup.  Although the Phils rotation is hard to pick against, I will.  The Giants take the NL pennant 4-3.

World Series:

Giants vs. White Sox:  Plain and simple, the Series will once again come down to pitching.  I have been waiting for a quality World Series since 2002, when the Angels took down the Giants.  However, this may shape up to be another disappointing championship.  The Giants pitching is so good that they can shut down the White Sox offense.  If Chicago can keep its power alive, their pitching can challenge the weaker Giants offense.  But as we saw in 2010, a high powered offense can be neutralized.  San Francisco's pitching will once again take them to the promised land.

My pick for the World Series: The San Francisco Giants over the Chicago White Sox 4 games to 1.

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