MLB Predictions 2011: Choosing a Winner for Each Division Race
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With an exciting season of baseball nearly drawing to a close, it's almost time for MLB's postseason.
Some of the division races already appear to be decided, while others will come right down to the wire. This will be a very exciting last month-and-a-half of baseball.
I decided to take a look at each division and predict a winner.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox currently lead the AL East Division by 1.5 games. The New York Yankees are right behind the Red Sox, but Boston should be able to hold them off.
The Red Sox are starting to get some of their players back from the disabled list, and have a very good pitching staff led by Josh Beckett.
As hot as the Yankees have been, I don't think they'll manage to overcome Boston, as many of its players are currently on a tear, such as Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez.
The Yankees have an older team, and have gotten surprisingly good pitching from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. However, they have gotten pretty poor outings from A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.
The Yankees' aging players and weaker bottom of their pitching rotation may hurt them down the stretch, but they should still be capable of making the playoffs.
I think the Red Sox will win the division by a few games, though.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
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After the Cleveland Indians surprised everyone with a strong first half of the season, they've started to lose ground while the Detroit Tigers have begun to gain it. The Tigers find themselves ahead of the Indians by three games despite being behind them for the better part of the season.
With strong hitting and great pitching from Justin Verlander, the Tigers will most likely keep rolling and keep gaining ground on the slumping Indians.
If the Indians want any shot at making the playoffs, they need to start winning and hope the Tigers start losing, because the tide is starting to turn.
AL West: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels find themselves 1.5 games behind the Rangers, but no hole is too deep for L.A.
The Angels have been a really hot team lately, as they've been gaining more and more ground on Texas.
They have been getting fantastic pitching from Jered Weaver, who is a legitimate Cy Young candidate.
If the Angels keep winning, they will catch the Rangers, so Texas better look now because the Angels are right in their rear-view mirror.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
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This one is sort of a no-brainer at this point. The Phillies find themselves comfortably ahead of the Atlanta Braves by 7.5 games. The Phillies just won't lose, as they aren't letting the Braves gain much ground.
The Philadelphia rotation is just too mighty, with big arms such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and now Roy Oswalt coming off the disabled list.
If the rotation keeps doing its job, the Phillies will surely win the NL East.
The Braves' only shot is to keep winning and hope to gain ground inch by inch.
NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers
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The Brewers are four games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals, who had hoped for more this season but have been on a roll recently.
Still, the Brewers have been even hotter, winning eight of their last 10 games. With a strong core of players such as Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, the Brewers will keep on rolling.
The Milwaukee pitching staff contains reliable arms like Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke. Even though Greinke hasn't had the kind of season some may have hoped for, he's been getting better lately.
As for the Cardinals, they're without ace Adam Wainwright, and Chris Carpenter isn't having a great season. I believe the Brewers will take the division.
NL West: Arizona Diamond Backs
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The Diamond Backs have been on fire lately, taking a 1.5-game lead over the defending World Series champs, the San Francisco Giants. But here's the thing: Unlike the Indians and Pirates, the Diamond Backs look for real.
They've been a solid team all year, and with a great arms in Josh Collmenter, and Ian Kennedy. They've also been getting a lot of production from hitters Justin Upton and Chris Young, and they aren't showing any signs of hitting the breaks.
Also, the Giants have been slowing down, only winning three of their last 10 games, and the D-Backs were able to use that to their advantage and hop ahead of them.
If the Giants keep losing and the D-Backs keep rolling, Arizona can put some space between the two teams and maybe win the division.