Thursday, September 29, 2011

MLB Playoff Predictions

With the regular season under wraps, it is time for The Sports Vibe's MLB playoff predictions:

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
Winner: Detroit Tigers
I'm picking the underdog for this one. Yes, the Yankees have the more potent offense, but the postseason is all about pitching. 2 of the last 3 World Series champions have gotten there by way of their pitching. In this era of baseball, pitching wins games. Looking at the probable pitching matchups in this series, Justin Verlander is better than CC Sabathia, Doug Fister (who's been lights out for the Tigers since the trade) trumps Ivan Nova, and Max Scherzer vs Freddy Garcia is a toss up. That's two very winnable games for the Tigers, who have a well rounded lineup to match their pitching staff with Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, and Alex Avila. This series, In my mind, goes to Los Tigres.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Winner: Texas Rangers
The Rays find themselves lucky to be in this position after the historic collapse of the Boston Red Sox. However, they will meet their match in the Texas Rangers, who possess one of the most well rounded teams in the postseason. Their lineup features the superhuman Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus. Their rotation is solid as well, with starters CJ Wilson and Derek Holland leading the way. And with the trade deadline deals the Rangers pulled off this year, they are looking like the team to beat in the AL.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
This one is obvious: the Cards may have the best player in the game but the Phillies have the best team in the game. As I've said before, pitching wins in the postseason and the Phillies have the best pitching staff in the entire league. They also enough hitting to sustain the great pitching, ranking 16th in batting average and 14th in runs scored on the season. The hitting is not as good as the Cardinals, but the Phillies' pitching should be more than enough to get them through this series.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Winner: Milwaukee Brewers
This series is meeting of two of the most unexpected playoff teams. No one expected either of these teams to be here at the beginning of the season. That being said, these are two great teams. I love the what the Brewers have done this year, bringing in quality pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Their offense has produced big time. Ryan Braun is having a great year, batting .332 with 33 HRs and 111 RBIs. Along with Prince Fielder, these two make the Brewers' lineup one that opposing pitchers hate to have to face. The Diamondbacks have been a great story (I never thought they would get this far), but I don't think they have enough pitching or hitting to defeat the Brewers.

Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers
Winner: Detroit Tigers
This is an interesting series. Detroit has the better rotation, but Texas has the better bullpen. Texas has the better lineup, but Detroit's lineup is nothing to scoff at either. Both teams look like serious contenders, but as I always say, pitching wins championships. And Detroit clearly has the upper hand in that regard. Verlander, Fister, and Scherzer will be a tough match for the Texas Rangers. Texas has the bats to do it and I wouldn't be surprised if they come out on top, but I'm not sure there pitching can keep them in the game all the time.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Winner: Milwaukee Brewers
Don't be shocked, I'll tell you why. Last year, the Phillies were in a similar situation, against a team with a great rotation but a mediocre offense. This year, the Milwaukee Brewers remind me of last year's Giants, except their offense is far superior. If the Phillies choked then, they can definitely choke now. Milwaukee, as I said before, is a well balanced team with a good rotation and lineup. They just might have what it takes to upset the favorites.

World Series:
Detroit Tigers vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Winner: Milwaukee Brewers
When I looked back at my picks, I nearly laughed at the World Series I had before me. Tigers-Brewers? Haha. But the more I think about it, it seems to be all about luck. If the Brewers had the played the Cardinals, I would not have picked them to win, but they avoided them and made it this far in my predictions. If the Yankees' rotation wasn't such a mess after Sabathia, I would have picked the Yankees, but the Yankees have pitching problems at the moment. So, the two unlikeliest teams will meet in the championship. And I am picking the Brew Crew. They remind me so much of last year's San Francisco Giants, you can't help but love them. They have a fun to watch cast of stars, with Nyjer Morgan and his hilarious interviews and the bumbly Prince Fielder hitting the long ball. They have, in my opinion, what it takes to win the championship. And they will.

Too bad the Giants didn't make the postseason. That would be fun to watch.

What do you think?

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