MLB Playoffs 2011: 7 Bold Predictions for the LCS Round
This level of excitement, anticipation and heartache is generally reserved for March, but baseball has staked its claim as the most exciting sport of 2011.
The last day of the regular season sparked the beginning of a breathtaking nine days of baseball.
Heavyweights like the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies fell in dramatic Game 5 finishes, and slugging up-and-comers like the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers seized the moment and captured the nation's attention.
We've encountered Beast Mode, T Plush, expletive-filled post game celebration and squirrels; and that's just the National League.
What can the LCS possibly bring us?
Here are 7 things I expect to see when the LCS rounds start tonight with Game 1 between the Rangers and Tigers.
1. Justin Verlander Will Be 2-0
I expect to see Verlander step up and dominate in this series. He had one start against the Rangers in regular season play and he pitched a complete game, giving up just two runs in a close loss.
Verlander will get Game 1 in Arlington and Game 5 in Detroit. I'm predicting 16 innings, three runs and two wins.
2. Nelson Cruz Will Have a Huge Series
Cruz had a solid regular season and hit the Tigers especially hard.
His line against Detroit this year is .314 3 HR and 9 RBI.
I'm predicting Cruz bats .400 in the six game series and knocks in three homers and six RBI.
3. Corey Hart Will Hit 3 Home Runs
I'm expecting Corey Hart to have a monstrous series.
Hart hit .313 with five homers and 15 RBI against the Cardinals this year.
He's been the third best position player for the Brewers all year, and I think he's going to shine against this Cardinals pitching staff.
I'm predicting .357 with three homers and seven RBI.
4. Albert Pujols Will Play His Last Game as a St. Louis Cardinal
Bad news, Cardinals fans. Pujols is going to get 10 years and $300 million dollars. It's going to happen. He's earned the money, and someone is going to step up and pay him.
Make sure you come out to the park for Game 5 because it's going to be the last time you see him in a Cardinals uniform.
5. Max Scherzer Will Go 0-2 with a Double Digit ERA
Scherzer is currently slated to pitch Game 2 in Texas and Game 6 in Texas. This is not a recipe for success.
Each time he takes the mound will be after Verlander just shut down the Rangers bats the game before.
Their bats won't be silenced for two games in a row, especially at home.
I'm predicting 0-2, 8 IP, 9 ER for Scherzer.
6. Rangers Win in 6
The Rangers offense is just going to be too much for the Tigers staff to shut down.
Verlander will get his two wins, and the Rangers will win the other four.
7. Brewers Win in 5
The Brewers are the best team remaining in the postseason, and I'm expecting them to dispatch St. Louis relatively easily.
Their record at home along with a great pitching rotation is going to be enough to knock out their division foe in just five games.