The epic final games of the regular season prove how great of a game baseball is. Regardless of what team is your favorite, no one can deny how exciting and entertaining the end of the 2011 regular season was. Sorry Boston fans, maybe next year. Please don’t blame the Yankees for your self-destruction in September. While everyone is talking about the Red Sox collapse, and Atlanta’s implosion, how about we talk about something more important…the playoffs.
The odds are on the Phillies to win the World Series with New York right behind Philadelphia. My prediction: Yankees and Phillies in the World Series. A World Series Champion prediction will come later. Let’s take a quick look at the divisional series matchups.
New York vs. Detroit: The ALDS will be a challenge for the Yanks. Sabathia, Nova, and Garcia are set. Sending Burnett to the bullpen is the smart move as his unpredictability is simply too much of a risk for the playoffs. Game 1 Friday night will truly set the tone of this series. Justin Verlander has the stuff to shutdown the Yankee lineup. New York will need to give Sabathia tremendous run support. Game 1 can go either way.
Series prediction: Yankees in five.
Tampa Bay vs. Texas: C.J. Wilson is about to become a truly household name. Tampa Bay’s pitching is the key to staying in the hunt. The Rays are rolling and will bring their surprise offense. In the end however, Texas sees a return trip to the ALCS. The Rangers high-powered offense ultimately wins the day.
Series prediction: Rangers win in four.
St. Louis vs. Philadelphia: There is not much to say with this series. The Cards are in really for the same reason Atlanta is out: the Braves blew it. The Phillies are carrying, arguably, one of the top rotations in baseball history. Halladay is contending for the NL Cy Young and Cliff Lee will be Cliff Lee. The Phillies offense isn’t as threatening as past seasons. However, a solid lineup behind this rotation is simply too dominant.
Series prediction: Phillies win in four.
Milwaukee vs. Arizona: The Brewers clinched home field advantage and as such, will clinch the NLDS. The combination of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, along with a solid lineup will win the series. The Diamondbacks have Upton offensively and seem to be placing all their eggs in one basket with Ian Kennedy. There’s something brewing in Milwaukee and the Diamondbacks won’t keep pace.
Series prediction: Brewers win in four.
Of course, I could be completely wrong. I once predicted Boston to win the East, Minnesota in the Central and a team from Colorado to take the NL West. In the end, what truly matters is October baseball is here. If the end of the season is any indication of what’s to come, we are all in a for a treat.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!