It’s October and that can only mean one thing for Baseball fans everywhere the playoffs are here. Eight teams enter and only one will be crowned World Series champion. Here are my predictions for the first round matchups. In the American League, the central division champion Minnesota Twins host the New York Yankees. In the last week of the season the Yankees lost their division title to the Tampa Bay Rays and faltered down the stretch. CC Sabathia is the only Yankee starting pitcher who has pitched like an ace all season long. The Yankees can put up runs with any team but if their bats go cold they will need 5 CC Sabathia’s to win. On the other side Minnesota is without their first base slugger Justin Morneau who will miss the entire playoffs with post concussion syndrome. Catcher Joe Mauer is finally healthy, and designated hitter Jim Thome provides a huge home run threat in an underrated lineup. Minnesota will run wild on Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, and the Twins pitchers and players will benefit from playing all season at the newly built Target Field. PREDICTION TWINS in 4
In the other American League matchup the Tampa Bay Rays will host the AL West champion Texas Rangers. This will be a close matchup because both teams can steal a ton of bases and put up a lot of quick runs. The team that can bridge the gap between starting pitching and the bullpen will win this series. Tampa Bay is banged up with all-star third baseman Evan Longoria nursing a quad injury and that leaves a huge hole in their lineup. I expect this to be a long series with a lot of lead changes and ups and downs. PREDICTION RANGERS IN 5
In the National League the Philadelphia Phillies are the team to beat. After going to back to back World Series, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Cincinnati will try dethrone the Phillies from going to another world series. Philadelphia won the NL East and will host the NL Central winning Cincinnati Reds. I expect this to be a short series because Philadelphia is sending stud pitchers Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, to the mound. If Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Scott Rolen can’t get off to a quick start Cincinnati will be finished. Philadelphia has a powerful offense with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Philadelphia won’t lose any sleep in this matchup, get your brooms out. PREDICTION PHILLIES IN 3
San Francisco defeated San Diego on the last day of the regular season to win the NL West division over San Diego. Their opponent the Atlanta Braves also made the postseason on the last day of the season. Both teams spent September fighting and clawing just to make the playoffs so whoever has anything left wins this matchup. The Giants are sending star pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez to the mound against Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, and Tommy Hanson of Atlanta. Atlanta pitchers have more playoff experience but San Francisco’s pitchers have been putting up zero’s all season long and that should continue. Atlanta’s lineup is without Chipper Jones, and Martin Prado. They struggled mightily down the stretch and lost the division to Philadelphia. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox will go out in his final year as a manager on a somber note. PREDICTION GIANTS IN 4
Enjoy your baseball.