29 September 2011

2011 MLB Postseason: Divisional Series Predictions

Well after a massive exclamation point was placed on the end of the 2011 MLB regular season, the postseason is now upon as fall has cometh. The playoff teams are set as are their matchups, eight teams now have a chance at winning the World Series. Who do I think will make it out of the Divisional Series? Let's have a gander at my predictions, eh?

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
This will certainly not be an easy series for the Yankees, the top overall seed. The Tigers feature the best pitcher in the game, Justin Verlander, who just had a monster 2010, as well as a solid lineup led by first baseman Miguel Cabrera, DH Victor Martinez, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and the surprising catcher Alex Avila. The Yankees can rake with the best and feature the game's best offense as well as one of the elite horses in baseball, CC Sabathia. The questions with New York come with the rest of the rotation as Ivan Nova has no playoff experience and veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon have really struggled of late. However, the rest of the Tigers' rotation is inexperienced as well in terms of the postseason as Doug Fister, who was fantastic in the second half, and Max Scherzer, who has been really inconsistent all year, have never played in the postseason. I think that will give this veteran Yankee club a slight edge. 
Yankees in 5

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
This is a rematch from the Divisional Series a year ago when the positions were flipped and the the Rays had homefield advantage but lost to Texas. The Rangers have a very good lineup led by centerfielder Josh Hamilton, DH Michael Young, and third baseman Adrian Beltre with an underrated rotation led by their ace C.J. Wilson. The Rays have very good pitching throughout their staff but their offense has left something to be desired as it has been inconsistent all year. The Rangers may look like the better team overall though but you cannot discount what the Rays did to get here, surging in September while the Red Sox were stumbling. I give the edge to Tampa.
Rays in 4

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Cardinals surged into the playoffs as well as they took advantage of the ridiculous collapse of the Braves as their offense was awesome down the stretch and their pitching was just good enough. That said, here they are taking on the best team in baseball with one of the best rotations in years. The Cardinals do not have the pitching depth to match up with Philadelphia's and their mediocre bullpen will be exposed by this strong Phillies club.
Phillies in 3

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Kirk Gibson did an incredible job getting this young and talented but underachieving Arizona club into the playoffs and blowing away the defending champions to do it. They have some weapons on offense, most notably star rightfielder Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy has been a fiend on the mound this year. However, they do not have the overall depth that this Brewers team has with their very strong offense led by leftfielder Ryan Braun, first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks plus their much improved starting rotation and bullpen. The only thing that could slow down Milwaukee is their rotation's lack of experience in the postseason and their mediocre defense.
Brewers in 4

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