Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 LDS Previews

So, did you enjoy "Wild Card Wednesday"? It was truly the best night in the history of the sport, or at least the regular season. Now, the postseason awaits, and if it can only be half as good as that night was, then we'll all be really happy baseball fans.

4 Tampa Bay Rays vs. 2 Texas Rangers

This is a rematch of last year's LDS series, and in that one the road team won every game and the Rangers moved on. This year though, expect the result to be different. The Rays have to scare every team they may play due to their pitching, and mostly because of the depth of their pitching. David Price is their best pitcher, and he wasn't their best pitcher in September. This doesn't include the wild card of the staff, Matt Moore. The Rangers have the offense to fight that though. The Rangers pitching staff is good, but there are some questions about guys like Alexi Ogando, and the potential fourth starter behind him, C.J Wilson, and Colby Lewis. They have a great lineup up and down, but it's the pitching that is key in the postseason, and the Rays have a better pitching staff, and that will decide this series.

My Pick: Rays over Rangers in 4

1 Philadelphia Phillies vs. 4 St. Louis Cardinals

The Phillies just set a franchise record for wins in a season with 102 wins this year, and there is good reason for that. They are the best team in baseball right now. The Cardinals are coming into the postseason off of the Braves epic collapse, and it sure helps to be on a roll going into the postseason. It also helps that they took 6 out of the 9 meetings between the two teams in the regular season. Of course the Phillies have the superior rotation, and a slightly better offense, but the bullpens will be key in this series. The Cardinals have a suspect bullpen, and the Phillies 'pen has been up and down this season. It will also be interesting to see how the Cardinals use Matt Holliday as he tries to come back from an injury. The Phillies are just a better team than the Cardinals right now, and that will show in this series.

My Pick: Phillies over Cardinals in 4

1 New York Yankees vs. 3 Detroit Tigers

The Tigers may have been the most consistent team from about September 1 on, so that consistency should be pretty helpful as they go up against the AL's best team in the regular season. Both teams have the lineups to dominate offensively, although the Yankees have a better lineup, but not by much. The pitching is where this series will be decided. The Yankees may have a better bullpen, but the Tigers may have the deepest rotation in the AL. With Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello, and Fister, they should be able to dominate lineups easily. The key is whether the Yankees can jump on Justin Verlander in Game 1. If they can, the series complexion will change dramatically. But, I don't think that is going to happen. The Tigers are going to be a scary team this postseason.

My Pick: Tigers over Yankees in 5

2 Milwaukee Brewers vs. 3 Arizona Diamondbacks

The D'Backs are this year's Rays from 2008, or the Rockies from 2007. They surprised everyone by upending the defending World Champions, and under Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers, the team changed dramatically for the better. The Brewers were impressive from start to finish this season, and with their amazing offense, they will be tough for any team to beat. The D'Backs are a scrappy team with a surprise 20 game winner, and an offense that has guys get big hits when they need to, just like last year's Giants. The Brewers have a good rotation, and a good bullpen, so it will be tough for the D'Backs to compete. It looks like their magical ride will end at the hands of the Brew Crew, who could end up becoming the team that ends the Phillies ride.

My Pick: Brewers over D'Backs in 3

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