MLB Playoff Predictions: Evan Longoria Chokes and 10 More Bold Statements
The 2010 Major League Baseball Post-Season is finally here! October is the month where teams fight for their names to be entered into the record books. There will be hard fought games and there will be blow-outs. There will be those players that perform to the best of their ability and there will be those who crush under the pressure. Do not be afraid if a player comes out of nowhere and single handedly begins another team's winter early.
October is made for surprises. In this slideshow, Bleacher Report presents to you some of those surprised that we believe have a chance of occurring with out bold predictions.
Evan Longoria Chokes For The Tampa Bay Rays
When the name Evan Longoria comes up on the television or at the ballpark's screen, most fans will immediately think that trouble is brewing. Longoria puts up MVP-caliber numbers during the regular season, but his history in the postseason is not looking too bright.
In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays made the World Series, but Evan Longoria did not seem to have played a great role in stopping the Phillies from winning it all. He struck out 20 times in the 2008 postseason. The Phillies pitching was not as great as it is today and if Longoria had trouble then, it can only get worse.
He also faces a Texas Rangers pitching staff that includes Cliff Lee and closer Neftali Feliz. Those are some strong arms in the staff and for Longoria to be productive he is going to have to take his anger out on all other pitchers.
Joey Votto Has To Come Up Big For The Reds To Beat The Phillies
Joey Votto is a top of the ballot MVP candidate much like Evan Longoria, but the only difference is that he has no post-season experience. The Reds got to the play-offs because of Votto's hot hitting during the regular season. They will have to ride on his bat in order to beat the Phillies. If the hitting does not show up for Votto, the rest of the line-up will have to pick up his slack and that could be too much for them to handle...especially against Phillies pitchers like Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt.
Curtis Granderson Will Prove The Yankees Got The Better Of The Winter Deal
Curtis Granderson has taken a ton of fire from critics that he has not performed to the great expectations set out in Spring Training when he joined the New York Yankees from Detroit. Austin Jackson got off to a hot start and it seemed like he was doing better than the Yankees expected. For the early to middle part of the season, it looked like Austin Jackson was the better acquisition.
Granderson picked his hitting up late in the season and was red hot in September. October is only in its first few days and the Yankees are hopping that these days off will not cool his bat. Granderson drove in over 20 runs in September. if he can duplicate those numbers, the Yankees will have no trouble getting rid of the Twins in the first round.
Barry Zito and Tim Hudson Will Go Back To Their Oakland A's Form
When a pitcher is making the money that Barry Zito is making and your lesser paid teammates are pitching better than you it has got to bother you some how. That is the fuel that will be unleashed by the former Cy Young award contender in the post-season. No matter what role he is in, he will step up in a big way and could pitch the San Francisco Giants into a World Series.
Tim Hudson and Barry Zito were once teammates. Hudson has been having the better career since their departure, but you also have to take into account the injuries that have plagued him. The last time that Hudson was in the playoffs was in 2005 and it is time that the rust comes off. Hudson will be the centerpiece to the Braves rotation.
Justin Morneau's Injury Will Cause a Sweep In The ALDS
When a team loses a former MVP and a power hitter in their line-up, it will always hurt. Sadly for the Minnesota Twins, they are playing the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Joe Mauer and Delmon Young can not carry the team on their own. Morneau there would have eased the burden.
The Yankee bats will be hot due to the fact that just about anyone in the line-up can hit 20 home-runs or more. When CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte take the mound against the Twins, the absence will be felt and when Phil Hughes takes the ball in New York it will all be over.
Chase Utley Will Pick Off Where He Left Off In The 2009 World Series
Chase Utley was on fire against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series. He may have not been as hot during the 2010 regular season, but October is a clean slate. Utley is one of the finest second basemen in the game and will show it all off again. Bleacher Report is predicting that Utley will homer at least twice against the Reds in the first three games.
If Joey Votto is hitting maybe they can push it to a fourth game, but if Utley and his teammates like Howard and Rollins are back in pristine form they have a chance to move on early.
Jason Heyward Will Make a Name For Himself
Jason Heyward could be the Rookie of the Year in the National League. When Chipper Jones went down in the middle of the season, the braves did not give up hope. Heyward injured himself early on and had some side effect show throughout some of the season. Yet he was still dominant. Seeing Heyward out there in the outfield will be like seeing Kirby Puckett make that World Series catch in the World Series. Heyward has a glove and all signs are pointing toward a highlight reel play from him.
His hitting will be motivated by the reminder that this is their final gift for Bobby Cox.
Carl Crawford's Contract Will Not Be a Distraction
Carl Crawford could be donning a new uniform after this postseason, but for now he is a Tampa Bay Rays outfielder. That is all that matters and for the Rays he will have to be focused in the present in order for the team's run to be a success. The Rays are going to be dependent of Crawford and Upton's running game. Crawford has the speed to be a threat at all times and the Texas Rangers are a team that will force them to capitalize on those small opportunities.
AJ Burnett Will Be Terrible
The definition of burden in New York has become AJ Burnett. Fans lost their patience and not starting him in the playoffs in the best move that Joe Girardi can make with him. Burnett will be terrible out of the bullpen for the Yankees, if they choose to start him it could be an automatic loss for them. As of right now, this is not a prediction, but a guarantee.
Best advice for Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees, AVOID AJ BURNETT!
The Big Empty
Is that the photo of a playoff game in Tampa? It could be if they don't sell out. That was the case when the Rays clinched a playoff berth, not all seats were filled. The prediction stands that the Rays will have the stadium filled several times, but at least once there will be empty seats.
If the Rays win a playoff game and there is nobody there to see it...did it actually happen?
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