Here are my predictions for the 2008 MLB Playoffs. I'll first start with the American League:
East: Tampa Bay Rays
Yes, I like the Rays beating out the Red Sox and the Yankees in the AL East. Matter of fact, I don't think the Yankees will even make the playoffs this year, but that's besides the point. I know this is a young Rays team, but they seem to be a legit contender to me. Against the Red Sox, they have a record of 6-6. They have a record of 4-2 against the best team, record wise, in Major League Baseball; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Evan Longoria has definitely proven himself at third base with stats of a .276 batting average, 21 homers, 67 RBI's, a .348 on-base percentage and is slugging .530. Tampa currently has a three game lead in the division with their 66-45 record.
Central: Chicago White Sox
I like the White Sox coming out of the AL Central due to their experience. Acquiring Ken Griffey, Jr. was huge. He adds depth, experience and knowledge of the game. Yes, the Minnesota Twins are currently tied for the division lead right now, but considering their youth, I don't think they'll be able to win this thing. Chicago has a 61-49 record right now.
West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The best team in baseball right now, record wise, will win the AL West. I don't think it's even a question anymore. They have a 11.5 game lead with their 70-42 record. They have an 18-12 record against their divisional opponents which includes the second-place Texas Rangers, third-place Oakland A's and fourth-place Seattle Mariners. This division is over. The Angels' starting pitching is solid, their offense is explosive and their closer, Francisco Rodriguez, is lights-out.
Wild Card: Boston Red Sox
I think that Boston's experience will help them hold off the NY Yankees and win the Wild Card. The Bo-Sox currently have a 1.5 game lead in the Wild Card, over the White Sox/Twins, with their 64-49 record. I don't think that the Twins will be able to win the Wild Card due to the limited experience of some of their players.
Now to the National League.
East: Philadelphia Phillies
This year, the Phils won't have to debate whether they earned their playoff spot or if the NY Mets lost it. The Phillies lead this division by 2.5, over the Florida Marlins, with their 61-50 record. Philadelphia has the last two NL MVP winners on their team in Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Howard is making another bid at it this year while second baseman Chase Utley is also making a bid for it.
Central: Chicago Cubs
I hate to admit it, being a Brewers fan and all, but it's time to give credit where it's due. The Cubs have been superb this year. They have outscored their opponents by 132 runs, 593-461. They have a 5 game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers currently, but the two teams face each other six times in the last two weeks. I believe the division will be decided then.
West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Yes, I think LA will get to enjoy 3 teams in the Playoffs this year, that includes the LA Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (AL West). The Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez plays a huge role in this. Former-Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez and former-Yankees manager Joe Torre will now team up to lead this Dodgers squad into the playoffs.
Wild Card: Milwaukee Brewers
This Brew Crew should make the playoffs for the first time since 1982. With the way Ryan Braun has made the transition from third base to left field and the way he can hit the ball to all parts of the field, long or short, he should lead the Crew to the playoffs. Also, with CC Sabathia on the team, they should win quite a few more games. CC is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. What I think will help the Brewers the most though is that the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals play each other 9 more times this year. While Milwaukee has just 2 more games against the Cards.
My World Series teams are................
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
I think the Angels will roll through the playoffs easily, though not as easily as the Colorado Rockies did last year in the NL. The Angels have a combined 14-8 record against the other teams I picked for the playoffs in the AL; 8-1 vs. Boston, 4-3 vs. Chi-Sox and 2-4 vs. Tampa Bay. "K-Rod" has a combined 10 saves against those teams; 4 vs. the White Sox, 1 vs. Tampa Bay and 5 vs. Boston.
Yes, the Brewers have bullpen questions that have yet to be answered, but I think that with the experience this young squad gained last year, we won't see them nose-dive in September. Sabathia's mastery at the mound will also help them, especially if he keeps pitching the way he has been (5-0 in 6 starts with Milwaukee). Ray Durham, the newly acquired 2nd baseman not only has post-season experience, but also World Series experience. I expect Sabathia, Durham and Braun to become clubhouse leaders come September on forth.
My World Series winner is................
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I think the Brew Crew will only be able to muster out 1 win against LAA; I believe that to be CC Sabathia's start. The Angels' starting pitching combined with their offense will be too much for the Brewers to try and counter. I say the Angels take the series 4-1.
Well those are my predictions what do you think? The curse of the billy goat shall live on.
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