Wednesday, October 6, 2010

MLB Playoff Picks

Apologies for the gap between posts - sometimes life just gets in the way of important things like maintaining one's blog.
Enough whining - Let's wake up this near dormant blog with some picks for the 2010 MLB Playoffs!
National League
Philadelphia vs. Cincinnati
Doc Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels....need we say more.  This team is battle tested, anxious to recalim the World Series, and playing it's best ball of the year.  Cincy is a great story, but the feeling here is that Dusty Baker's boys won't be able to ovcercome the Phillies pitching (despite the sometime thrill ride known as Closer Brad Lidge).
The Pick: Phillies in 4
San Fran vs. Atlanta
Can the perennial postseason underachieving Braves give Bobby Cox (and perhaps Chipper Jones)a happy sendoff into retirement?  Though this isn't the same bunch that was around for most of those years, the feeling here is no.  Bruce Bochy's Giants can take this one, riding the clutch hitting of surprising veterans like Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff to go aloing with the young arms like Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez, not to mention the outstanding (0.90 ERA since September 1) bullpen.
The Pick: Giants in 4

American League
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota
Full disclosure: We do not like the Yankees.  Some might say we're haters.  Those who say so might be correct in that assertion.  Nevertheless, despite the fact that we will be rooting against the Yankees with every fiber of our being, we will be objective in this analysis.  This is not the same team that waltzed through the playoffs in 2009 en route to Title #27.  Derek Jeter is either in a simple prolonged slump, or is showing us the inevitable slow decline that comes with age.  Alex Rodriguez has been unable to stay fully healthy, although the team seems to play pretty well without him.  Mark Teixiera, while prodcutive with 33-108, hit 30 points below his lifetime BA.  This lineup is still dangerous, and can be a bear to pitch to, but there are vulnerabilities which a good staff can exploit.
Enter the Twins, with a fully recovered Francisco Liriano and a rejuvanated Carl Pavano, and a surprsing bullpen.  Even though 1B Justin Morneau will miss the series due to a concussion, the lineup is formidable.  Sprinkle in the relative uncertainty of the Yankee rotation beyond C.C. Sabathia, the home field edge of Target Field and you've got us absolutely giddy for an early Bronx Bomber exit!
The Pick: Twins in 5
Tampa Bay vs. Texas
The Rays return to the playoffs after missing them in '09, while the Rangers remain the only franchise in MLB never to have won a playoff series.  Not sure if Texas can buck that trend, though this group will give Tampa all it can handle.  Picking up Cliff Lee, who you might remember as being completely amazing in the 2009 playoffs, was a master stroke.  The slick lefty works quickly, doesn't walk anybody, and is on a nice run (1.94 ERA in Sept.).  The Ranger lineup, however,  is a little dinged with Josh Hamilton still nursing sore ribs, and Vlad Guerrero's sore legs.
Tampa doesn't flash a lot of power, but can create lots oin havoc (and runs) with overall team speed.  The Rays swiped 172 bases to lead the majors, and Texas pitchers getting too obsessed with baserunners can lead to big fat mistakes in the middle of the plate.
The Pick: Rays in 5
So there you have it.  Come back once the Division Series' are done and see how smart/stupid we are.