MLB Divisional Series Breakdown

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MLB Divisional Series Breakdown

Here's a breakdown of the first round of the MLB Playoffs, which is set to begin today.

 

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox

Pitching: Tampa's starting rotation—Kazmir, Shields, and Garza— is stronger. However, with Troy Percival possibly missing this series, the pressure is on the Rays' bullpen to deliver. Dan Wheeler will most likely get the nod as closer. Rays still get the upper-hand here.

Advantage: Rays

Offense: The Sox have a more potent offense, with Dye, Thome, and Griffey. The loss of Carlos Quentin hurts. The Rays will rely on Longoria and Pena to pick up the load.

Advantage: White Sox


Defense: Upton and Crawford can cover a lot of ground in the OF. Longoria is a future Gold Glover at third. Navarro is stellar behind the plate.

Advantage: Rays

Manager: Maddon is a "rookie," but he knows the game. He will get his team to play hard. Guillen has been here before though and knows what it takes to win in the playoffs.

Advantage: White Sox

Intangibles: Rays have home-field and have overcome all odds this season. White Sox may have the experience, but the Rays are ready for bigger things.

Advantage: Rays

Bottom Line: Rays in four

 

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Pitching: Beckett's health is a big issue, and if he can't go, the Red Sox are in trouble.  The Angels' starters have been solid all year, and K-Rod will need to prove himself in the playoffs.

Advantage: Angels


Offense: No Manny. Simple as that. Teixeira and Hunter add more "pop." The Angels are also pests on the basepaths. Red Sox need Pedroia to deliver, just as he's done all year.

Advantage: Angels

Defense: Youkilis and Pedroia are as good as it gets at their positions. The Angels can flash some brilliance of their own, but the Sox are too fundamentally sound.

Advantage: Red Sox


Manager: Francona is a proven winner, but this year he has more injuries to deal with.  Scioscia always plans ahead, awaiting the opponent's next move.

Advantage: Angels

Intangibles: The Red Sox have "October Magic" and have had the Angels' number in the past.

Advantage: Red Sox

Bottom Line: Angels in five

 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs

Pitching: Cubs starters have health issues, but they are too good to overlook. The Dodgers may surprise though.

Advantage: Cubs

Offense: Manny vs. the Cubs. Manny needs to hit for L.A. to win. The Cubs are too potent offensively, with Soriano being the key.

Advantage: Cubs

Defense: Martin is solid behind the plate for L.A. Cubs' middle-infield is suspect.

Advantage: Dodgers

Manager: Torre vs. Pinella. Torre has had great success in the postseason, and Pinella is hungry. This is as good as it gets.

Advantage: Dodgers

Intangibles: The Cubs are looking to break the "curse." Having home-field also helps.  The Dodgers have more experience with Manny, Torre, and Derrick Lowe.

Advantage: Cubs

Bottom Line: Cubs in five

 

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Pitching: Not having Sheets will put more pressure on Bush and Gallardo. Brewers bullpen is very shaky. Lidge and Hamels will get the job done for the Phils.

Advantage: Phillies

Offense: Howard-Utley-Rollins vs. Fielder-Braun. Howard is hot, and the Phils have a better supporting cast.

Advantage: Phillies

Defense: The middle-infield is too good for the Phils. Victorino is solid in the OF. Braun is shaky in left for the Brew Crew.

Advantage: Phillies

Manager: Charlie Manuel knows how to motivate players. Sveum will keep team focused, but not enough experience.

Advantage: Phillies

Intangibles: Brewers have nothing to lose. They have the momentum and are hungry.  The pressure is on the Phils.

Advantage: Brewers


Bottom Line: Phillies in four

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