Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 MLB Playoff predictions sure to go wrong

How amazing was last night? There are few words to describe the events that unfolded in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore. Multiple teams were down to their last out before making comebacks for the ages. The Rays were down by a touchdown in the middle innings and fought their way back for two improbable home runs. The Red Sox had their closer on the mound with the season on the line and he couldn't get the job done. The Braves fought their way into extra innings before the Phillies crushed their hopes and dreams.

It might have been the single greatest day of regular season action in the long history of Major League Baseball. The Commissioner's Office only has to hope that the excitement carries over to the playoffs.

At the beginning of the season, I made predictions about the playoff teams in both the American League and the National League. How did I do? Well, not too hot. I did not predict a single team correctly in the American League but I was a little biased towards the Twins. I did manage to select two of the four National League playoff teams and my match-up for the NLCS is still possible so I was not totally off base.

Here are my 2011 MLB Playoff predictions that are sure to go wrong:

ALDS
Yankees versus Tigers
The question for the Tigers is, "How can we get Justin Verlander to start every game in the series?" and there is a good chance that doesn't happen. This means the superiority of the Yankees offense will shine through during the five game set. I think CC Sabathia and Verlander will spilt the two games they face each other as starters. The Yankees have their own starting rotation problems but their offense is strong enough to propel the team.
PREDICTION: Yankees in five games

Rangers versus Rays
The Rays are riding a dramatic high into the postseason but starting tomorrow night, it is a whole new season. The Rangers offensive was clicking on all cylinders to end the year. It didn't matter who was in the game because they were all crushing the ball. The Rays have not had time to get their rotation set up for the playoffs and that can hurt a team in a best of five series. The bullpen of the Rangers could be tough for any team to handle this postseason.
PREDICTION: Rangers in four games

NLDS
Phillies versus Cardinals
The Phillies have been the class of the National League for the entire season. Their starting pitching staff  was built to play in the month of October. The Cardinals are in the same boat as the Rays in that they used up most of their energy just to qualify for the postseason tournament. Chris Carpenter, the best starting pitcher for the Cards, had to pitch on Wednesday night and that means he won't be ready again until later in the series. The Phillies are going to be tough for any team to beat especially against a club that worked so hard to get to this point.
PREDICTION: Phillies in three games

Brewers versus Diamondbacks
The D-Backs might be the most surprising team to qualify for postseason play. Their roster is not full of recognizable names and the playoffs will be new territory for most of them. The Brewers won their first division title since 1982 and are in the playoffs for only the second time since joining the National League. The Brewers have an offense centered around two MVP candidates in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. The D-Backs have Justin Upton and not much else.
PREDICTION: Brewers in four games

ALCS
Yankees versus Rangers
The ALCS will be a rematch of the great ALCS of a year ago. One difference could be that the fact that Cliff Lee has moved to the National League and he won't be there to help the Rangers. Both of these teams are not without their flaws. The Yankees are going to have to use more of their pitching depth in their first round match-up with the Tigers. This means that the Sabathia will only be able to make two starts in the seven game series. That advantage will swing the series in favor of the Rangers.
PREDICTION: Rangers in seven games

NLCS
Phillies versus Brewers
After their sweep in the first round, the Philles are going to have plenty of time to rest before the start of round number two. The team from Philadelphia also has plenty of experience with making it to this round of the playoffs. The Brewers were lucky with their match-up in round one and their inexperience will show in this round. The Brewers might be able to squeak out a win in front of their hometown fans but the Phillies have been here and done that.
PREDICTION: Phillies in five games

World Series
Phillies versus Rangers
During the offseason, Cliff Lee was one of the biggest free agent prizes for a contending team. The Rangers were rumored to be near the top of his list but his final decision ended up being with the Phillies. Lee showed he could carry a team in last year's playoffs and now he has even more help around him. In each of the last three seasons, one of these teams has made the trip to the Fall Classic. Out of those trips, only the Phillies have come out victorious back in 2008. The starting rotation of the Phillies was built to win the World Series. The Rangers fell short last season in their attempt at the crown and that story line will carry over to 2011.
PREDICTION: Phillies in six games

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