Okay, yeah, the Red Sox collapsed, the Braves collapsed, the Giants had a touch of the World Series hangover, the Blue Jays aren’t going to the ALCS, and the Diamondbacks are in the playoffs. Oh, and the Cubs, yet again, had a dismal year.
Sounds like it was quite the season.
Last year, we ran an early September post with our playoff predictions. Sure, the Phillies vs. Rangers World Series call was sort of an ideal scenario where the Phillies pitching would square off against the heavy bats of the Texas Rangers, but, instead, the Giants stunned the Phillies in game six of the NLCS, ultimately crushing our predictions.
Theoretically, was the idea of a Phillies vs. Rangers World Series such a bad thought after all? Think about it. Let it sit and marinade for a bit. Would it be so bad to return to the well, and hope that the baseball gods give the fans one of the greatest World Series scenarios ever? The MLB’s best pitching going against the MLB’s best offense? That would sell television ratings, that’s for sure.
Maybe the idea of the Phillies seeking out revenge over their 2009 World Series loss to the New York Yankees is a better story line?
Or maybe a battle of the underdogs that would pit the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks against the Detroit Tigers. Imagine the television ratings for that one? Yikes.
The well balanced Brewers going against the well balanced Texas Rangers? Anyone on that train yet? We’ll put that idea in our pocket for later.
2011 MLB Post Season Predictions:
Let’s keep this short and sweet.
American League Divisional Series: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
The grizzled Yankees go toe-to-toe with the hot Detroit Tigers. In a series that will be decided by pitching, the edge goes to the Detroit Tigers. C.C. Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander is a great game 1 matchup, and a game that will go to the American League’s best pitcher, Verlander. After that, the Yankees pitching is extremely spotty. Nova, and Garcia are not your typical Yankees dynasty pitchers, nor are they ready for the spotlight and pressures of being the top dogs in the Bronx. The pressure will eat these young pitchers alive, and ultimately lead to a meltdown for the Yankees.
Pick: Tigers in 5
American League Divisional Series: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Can the rematch of the 2010 ALDS be the perfect stage for an upset?
Tampa Bay are coming in hot, winning 17 of 27 games in September, but, have lost 5 of 9 this season to the AL West Champion Texas Rangers.
Rangers game 1 starter, C.J. Wilson is 2-0 against the Rays this season, and Derek Holland, who starts game 2, also has a victory over Tampa Bay. On the flip side, the Rangers bats might be a little too much for the Rays to handle, again.
The clock strikes 12 as the Cinderella story that is the Tampa Bay Rays ends.
Pick: Texas Rangers in 3
National League Divisional Series: Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter had a late come around for the Cardinals, but, it seems like he has really helped St. Louis in their post-season push. Carpenter, a playoff warhorse, has an outstanding October record, boasting a record of 3-1, and a 2.93 ERA in NLDS games since 2005. Carpenter also seems to be the most consistent pitcher on the rotation, currently.
This could be a bit of a problem going up against the talent rich Philadelphia Phillies rotation. Cliff Lee (7-2), Roy Halladay(2-1) and Cole Hamels(6-4) have a combined 15-7 record in October games, including Halladay’s no-hitter against the Reds in game one of the 2010 ALDS.
The experience and arms of the Phillies are just too much to overlook.
Pujols has some sort of post-season voodoo curse, Lance Berkman isn’t the same Berkman that lead the Astros to the World Series in 2005, and an unhealthy Matt Holliday won’t be of much use either.
Pick: Phillies in 3
National League Divisional Series: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
If you picked the Diamondbacks to win the National League West, chances are, you’re a liar. Harsh? Maybe. The truth? More than likely.
Hell, if you check back to a post back in April you’ll see Arizona dead last. Dead. Last.
The Brewers, well, Milwaukee are right where a lot of people pegged them to be-first in the National League Central with a red hot pitching staff, and a set of powerful bats leading the offense. So, could this force be good enough to make it beyond the first round and avoid an upset at the hands of the Diamondbacks?
Okay, sure. Why not? Yovani Gallardo seems to be automatic these days as he’s come a long way from being the young pitcher that served beach balls to opposing batters a few years back.
It seems like the Brewers really got a quick, and solid return on that trade with the Blue Jays in the offseason for Shaun Marcum, and, the addition of Zack Greinke has paid of big.
Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, the depth at the plate just doesn’t seem like it can handle the Brewers arms. For Milwaukee, Prince Fielder has a lot to play for-mainly a big contract next season. The burly, productive first baseman is looking to have a solid post-season in hopes to land a big pay check next season from whoever. If Fielder has a monster playoff run, chances are, he may get exactly what he’s looking for, and then some.
Pick: Brewers in 4
World Series Pick:
Phillies over Rangers in 7