The Major League Baseball regular season came to a close on Tuesday with an exciting finish that put the Chicago White Sox into the playoffs and sent the Minnesota Twins home. There have been many good stories this season that include the Mets choking down the stretch yet again, and the Milwaukee Brewers reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1982. The playoffs this year look to be exciting as many good teams square off to find out who is number one.
We will start out in the National League as the Brewers are set to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. The Brewers are quite the story this year as no one projected them to get to the playoffs with the roster they have. However, the acquisition of CC Sabathia propelled this team into the playoffs and the Brewers are hoping their ace pitcher can stay in form this postseason after being roughed up in October last year. The loss of Ben Sheets for the Brewers is huge because he was supposed to team up with Sabathia to provide that 1-2 punch that is crucial in playoffs. Instead they turn to their younger starters in the staff to hopefully provide some support to Sabathia. The Phillies have two MVPs, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, who the Brewers have to keep in check if they expect to win this series. The starting rotation is not too impressive after Cole Hamels so has potential to be an all around good series.
Next we have the Chicago Cubs taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs are definitely the favorites to win the NL as their starting rotation is stacked. You know it is a good rotation when Carlos Zambrano is the third best pitcher in the rotation. The Cub’s batting has potential to be better with many good players on the roster, but they have not performed like they have in the past. On the other side, the Dodger’s played well down the stretch and took away the NL West from the Diamondbacks. One thing to key on is Derek Lowe’s performance, he has been red hot and was the best pitcher in the month of September allowing only 2 earned runs in thirty-one innings of work. Chad Billingsley will be a solid number two after randomly having a good year. Then of course, there is Manny Ramirez who has enjoyed destroying NL teams since his trade. He has good playoff experience and the Dodgers are counting on him to help carry this team.
Shifting to the AL, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels will square off in the ALDS. The Red Sox are in terrible shape as injuries have plagued them throughout the season. Mike Lowell and JD Drew are down and might not be able to play in the earlier games of the series. That is a big loss for a team that is 1-8 against the Angels this year, and do not have Manny to pick up the slack. To add to their problems, Josh Beckett has been penciled into start game 3 due to a right oblique strain. That is not good as Beckett is one of the best postseason pitchers in the game right now. The Angels on the other hand, have been resting for the last few weeks because they basically clinched the division five months ago. There was absolutely no competition which could benefit them as the players are healthy and ready to go. As long as they are not rusty they will be dangerous. They are an all around team with no one person sticking out in the line up or in the rotation. If I would key on one player, I would pick Mark Teixeira. He has been an absolute spaz since being traded, posting .358 batting average through fifty-four games with the Angels.
Then we have the Chicago White Sox taking on the biggest surprise of the year, the Tampa Bay Rays. Absolutely no one in their right mind predicted this team to win the AL East, but they simply did. Chicago is definitely tired after having a few tough series to end the year then, having a one game playoff that sent the Twins home. They need their power hitting to take it to the next level if they expect to play with this team. The Rays have a few injuries that are of some concern, Carl Crawford has been on the disabled list after having surgery in August, they need him to come back to help get the offense going. Another one is Troy Percival has not gotten back to form in the bullpen and the Rays need him to be able to help the team close games. The Rays are huge underdogs in my opinion, even after winning their tough division. Hopefully they can keep up their clutch hitting and solid pitching and win this series.
This postseason definitely has the potential to be exciting, with many good teams squaring off against each other. There is no huge favorite to win the World Series, and that is great, because no one wants to see sweeps where there is no competition between the two teams. We want to see pitcher’s duels, or high scoring affairs, blowouts are not as fun to watch in my opinion, and with the Yankees missing the postseason, there is no one team you should root against. So everyone should sit back, and get ready to enjoy baseball in October.