AL East – Yankees
AL Central – Twins
AL West – Angels
AL Wild Card – Rays
NL East – Phillies
NL Central – Cubs
NL West – Dodgers
NL Wild Card – Mets
With the Phillies squaring off against the Rays in the world series (what a wild series it was between them and the Red Sox), it is sure to be fun to watch. Two surprise teams. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect either team to make the playoffs before the season started. It will probably be a close series, but I’ll give the edge to the Phils because of the better offense. I know the Rays just lit up the Red Sox pitching. The Phillies still scored far more runs this year, however. The bullpen’s are both very similar, but I give the edge to the Phillies because of their lights-out closer. Anyone ever heard of Brad Lidge? They also both have similar rotation’s. The Phillies have a better ace in Cole Hamels. I’d take him over James Shields any day. Scott Kazmir is better than Brett Myers, but he has pitched very well thus far in the playoffs. Jamie Moyer is also a solid option, and I’d take his veteran arm over Matt Garza’s young one in the world series. Like I said before, it will be a very close series, but I think the Phillies will end up on top.
Here comes my playoff predictions for the AL.
Red Sox at Angels
Red Sox. They have always had the Angels number in the playoffs for some reason, have a better three man rotation, all the experience in the world, and a better offense. They just seem like the better team. Plus, they’ve been on fire in the second half. I know they don’t have home field advantage like last year, and I know they don’t have Manny Ramirez, but to me it still seems like they are a better team. It will be the most highly watched first round matchup for sure. I like the Red Sox in this one.
White Sox at Rays
Rays. This is going to be an easy series for Tampa. They have a better bullpen and better pitching. They are the best home-team in the MLB and I’m almost sure the White Sox will be leaving Tampa Bay down 0-2. I have no doubt at all that the Rays are going to sleepwalk through this series.
Red Sox at Rays
Red Sox. These two teams will be close. I know the Rays have the home-field advantage, but the Red Sox are just so good. They have a better lineup and a better starting rotation. The only thing the Rays have is a better bullpen. Also, there’s the experience factor. The Red Sox have won two world series’ in four years, so they’ve been there while the Rays haven’t even been in the playoffs. I’d be afraid if I were the Red Sox, though, because if the Rays get their confidence up after winning in game one they could be a scary team. All in all, I’ve got to go with the experience of the Boston Red Sox.
I am going to predict who wins what in the playoffs today. I will start in the NL and then do the AL. This will be listed under “Predictions.”
Dodgers at Cubs
Cubs. The Dodgers are a pretty scary team in the postseason. They have been red hot going into the playoffs, and are a good all around team. Plus, they have a guy named Manny Ramirez. Takashi Saito leads a fantastic bullpen. They have a solid rotation as well. The Cubs are a better team, though. They have a better rotation and a better offense. (Assuming the Cubs don’t pitch to Manny) They have the best three man rotation of playoff teams. Plus, the Cubs are at home where they have been dominant all year. It is going to be really tough for the Dodgers to win this series.
Brewers at Phillies
Phillies. These two teams are very similar. They both have solid rotations and a great lineup. The advantage for the Phillies is a by far better bullpen. Yes, we know CC Sabathia can go 9 innings, and I think the Brew-Crew will take game 1. But after that, you have two pitchers who are returning fron injuries. If both Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo are completly healthy, then they’ll easily win the series. But, if those players get injured or have to come out of the game early, the Brewers will have to give the ball to that aweful bullpen. The Phillies have a light-out bullpen, however, so they won’t blow late leads like their oponent could. I like the Phils in this one.
Phillies at Cubs
Cubs. The Cubs have the best rotation of all playoff teams, and pitching is what wins in October. The Phillies have the better bullpen, but if the starters can go seven innings they can give the ball to Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood to end the game. Both teams have great lineups, and the only thing that separates these two teams is the starting pitching. Since the Cubs have the advantage there, they have the advantage in the series. I sure hope no curse happens this time around.
Here are your national league award predictions.
Albert Pujols. Albert has carried the Cardinals, just like he usually does. his great batting average, power, and defense make him by far the most valueable player in the NL. Some people think the MVP has to come from a playoff team, but when you look at the impact Pujols has had on the Cards, you have to pick him. Everyone who likes Carlos Delgado for MVP aren’t thinking straight. Remember when he should have been cut after an aweful two months. So, you’re saying that four good moths of Delgado is better than six of Albert? I don’t think so.
Johan Santana. I know he didn’t have a Johan-type start to the season, but look at his numbers. An ERA in the 2.50 range. He has carried the Mets into the playoffs – not Delgado – and he could help them get far into the playoffs if they make it. He is, by far, the Cy Young for the national league.
Rooky of the Year
Geovany Soto. Like the other two picks, this one is very easy to me. Soto is by far the best rooky in the NL. He might even be the best catcher in the NL. I can’t think of any other good candidates for the job.
Manager of the Year
Jerry Manuel. There aren’t many great choices for this award, but I think it’s got to be Jerry Manuel. Ever since the Mets fired Willy Randolf and promoted Manuel, they have been on fire and have a great chance at making the playoffs. Lou Pinella would have to be the choice if the Cubs win the world series, though.
General Manager of the Year
Jim Hendry. He got steal, after steal, after steal this season. First, he signed Reed Johnson to a cheap, 1.3 million deal. Then, he added Jim Edmonds for around 0.25 million. After that, he finished it off by completley stealing Rich Harden away from the A’s. He could be the difference between a playoff exit and a world series. They also got a useful reliever in Chad Gaudin. They barely gave up anything, just a few spare parts and Sean Gallagher. He got hurt, anyway. I can’t think of a better GM in the game.
Today I will do the award predictions for the AL, and tommorrow I’ll do the NL.
Dustin Pedroia. He has been amazing for the Red Sox, is very close to the league lead in batting average, and gets both steals and homers. He is the best all around player that plays a scarce position on a great playoff team. Whats not to like?
Cliff Lee. This is a pretty easy choice. Lee will lead the league in wins and ERA. He also gets his fair share of strike-outs. I know he isn’t on a contending team, but he is the best pitcher in the AL by a large margin.
Rooky of the Year
Evan Longoria. This is a very easy choice. He’s the best player on the best team in the AL East. He’d be the choice even if the Rays were terrible. Evan has carried that team, and will win the ROY.
Manager of the Year
Joe Madden. The Rays have been the biggest surprise of the year. They went from worst to first and aren’t done. This, however, would only be my pick if the Twins miss the playoffs. If they make it, then Ron Gardenhire would be my pick. I know the Rays were a worse team last year and a better this year, but they had more talent than the Twins did, and didn’t drastically downgrade in the offseason.
General Manager of the Year
(I know this isn’t a real award, but I think it should be. It is rated on deals through the year.)
Billy Beane. Remember at the beginning of this offseason when everyone was talking about how bad the A’s farm system was? Well, now they have arguably the best one. After trading Dan Haren, Rich Harden, Nick Swisher, and Joe Blanton for a ton of great prospects, they are bound for success. This team is going to be contenders in 2010 or 1011, all because of Billy Beane.
Here is your top ten teams. I’m sorry I’m a day late. I was busy yesterday.
1. Cubs. The Cubs have easily taken over the Angels for the best team in the MLB. They have the better rotation, better lineup, even though the Angels have Mark Teixera, and a better bullpen. They are all around a better team and are the favorites to win the world series.
2. Angels. They are still holding strong at number 2. They haven’t fell because they have done bad, just because the Cubs have done better. This is still a very good team. They are still going to be a very tough team to beat in the playoffs.
3. Rays. Tampa Bay has been extraordinary this year. I almost moved them up into the second spot, but decided to move them up to three. They have continued to win even after losing Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria to injury. They have the best 1-2-3 in the AL, and a lights-out bullpen. If they could get hot hitting in the playoffs, this team could go a long way.
4. Brewers. The Brewers move up a spot mainly because the Red Sox are falling fast. They have scored a ton of runs in August, however, and the starting pitching remains phenominal. This is a team that has a decent chance at getting to the world series and a great chance at making the playoffs. If only they had a better defense and a better bullpen.
5. Red Sox. Despite their fall, they still land at number five. Their pitching will get healthy eventually. Bartolo Colon, gulp, is getting there, and could be the team’s fith starter untill Josh Beckett returns and maybe after if they decide to move Paul Byrd to the bullpen. What a great move by Theo Epstein to aquire Byrd. That man is a genious. When the pitching gets healthy, they might be able to go somewhere in the playoffs again this year. I think they will sneak past the Twins for the wild card, as I have said in my Predictions.
6. White Sox. This team is better than the Twins. They have the far better offense and a better bullpen. If it weren’t for their outfield defense, they’d be much better than they already are. They have to win this division, and if they do, they have a slight chance at going somewhere in the playoffs. It would be tough, but they could beat the unproven Rays, and if the Red Sox beat the Angels like they usually do, I could see The White Sox getting to the world series if they upset Boston.
7. Twins. The Twins are still where they were last month: right behind the White Sox and Red Sox. They have a very good team, but don’t have the offense to take this division. They could possibly get past Boston for the wild card, but I think they have a better chance at catching the White Sox. They’re really close right now, and all they have to do is keep on winning an they’ll make it there.
8. Phillies. They will win the division over the Mets, and are a better team than the D’Backs or Dodgers. They have the best combonation of hitting, starting pitching and bullpen between the remaining teams.
9. Diamond Backs. They sneak up into the top 10 this time. This is just a better all around team than the Dodgers. They move up to number 9 after being unranked.
10. Mets. This is not a great team, but they’re better than the Dodgers or Yankees, so they get the final spot of the top 10 teams. They still need to figure out the bullpen issues, but if they do that, they could beat out the Phillies for the eastern division.