DTTWLN Staff Makes Their Playoff Predictions
By Craig Gifford
Following a baseball season that was as unpredictable as any other, it’s only fitting that the postseason would follow suit.
Here at Did The Tribe Win Last Night, there is not a lot of agreement as to how the postseason, which starts this evening, will shake out. Two of my fellow writers picked the Phillies to win the World Sereies, another two have tabbed the Indians’ rival, Detroit, to take the coveted tophy, while we had one vote each for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays are this year’s team of destiny.
After some thought and initially thinking I may break the Tigers/Phillies tie, I am going to murky the waters even more. In my opinion, this year’s Word Series winner will the Milwaukee Brewers. With two votes each, the Brewers, Phillies and Tigers are tied in this blog’s opinion as to who will win the series. It could be any of those three, or it could be Jason Kaminski’s pick of the Rays. Of course, it could be one of the four teams that no one on this blog predicted. Much like the regular season was, this postseason is hard to predict
As for our analysis, here we go.
On my pick of the Brewers, they know it their last chance, most likely, to get it done with free-agent-to-be Prince Fielder still in tow. With Ryan Braun, Fielder and Rickie Weeks leading a loaded offense, all they need is a little pitching. Starters Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke match up to most rotations and are much more than a little pitching. A bullpen led by John Axford is as deep as any out there.
Milwaukee starts with a favorable match up against National League West upstart Arizona. The Brewers will take care of business quickly, sweeping the series. They will go to the NLCS where their Big Three starters will face the Phillies.
The Phillies will win their first round series in four games over the surging St. Louis Cardinals. Philadelphia’s Big Three starting roation of Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels will be too much for the Cards. Albert Pujols, who I believe will be resigned by St. Louis in the offseason, will not be enough to get by Charlie Manuel’s crew.
In the matchup of excellent starting pitching in the NLCS, it will be the Brewers over the Phillies in an exciting seven games. I would take Philly’s starters over the Milwaukee’s, but the Brew Crew is a bit better offensively.
On the American League side, I agree with my colleagues who believe the Tigers will continue their surge straight to the World Series. Everyone knows about ace Justin Verlander, but midseason acquisition Doug Fister has bee almost as good the last two months. They will open the postseason with a series win over the Yankees, in four games.
The Rangers, last year’s AL champion, will open their defense of the crown with win over the Rays. I think the Rays are a nice story, but question how much they have left after playing a month of playoff games just to get into the postseason. This will be Rangers in four.
Just like the NLCS, the ALCS will also be exciting. This will be the Tigers over the Rangers in seven games, with Verlander winning three.
With Verlander pitching Game 7 of the ALCS, the Tigers won’t get off on the right foot against the Brewers and Milwaukee will win the World Series over Detroit in six games.
Of course, this is just my opinion. Now onto my fellow writers.
I like Detroit over the Yankees in four games. Homefield advantage will mean very little in this series. Justin Verlander could win in Detroit, New York or on the moon. Post season games are won in the last 3 innings and Detroit has a tougher bullpen than Mariano Rivera alone.
Tampa Bay will take down the Texas, but probably in five games. Don’t be surprised to see Matt Moore control the stage and surprise many in the postseason.
I like the Brewers to take down the Diamondbacks in a very tough series, one that will be tougher than most expect. The Brewers have the superior talent, but the Diamondbacks are well managed and prepared for the challenge. I’ll take Brewers in five.
Philadelphia is the team to beat in the majors and I think St. Louis has probably run out of gas trying to get in the playoffs. This could be a sweep.
I like Detroit to take down Tampa Bay in the ALCS in six games and Philadelphia over Milwaukee in seven games. That will set up a Charlie Manuel/Cliff Lee Phillies against a Jhonny Peralta/Victor Martinez Tigers World Series. Philly’s army of arms will take down Detroit’s one scud missle in six games.
MATTHEW VAN WORMER
American League Division Series
Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
Question marks abound for both teams when they get past their aces, Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia respectively. The Tigers definitely have the advantage with Rick Porcello and Doug Fister pitching very well down the stretch. Tigers win the series, 3-1
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
It’s a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series that almost didn’t happen. Tampa Bay’s heroics in game #162 got them back to the playoffs. The lineup they field is very good and they are peaking at the right time. Tampa Bay wins the series, 3-2 winning a tough 5th game in Arlington.
American League Championship Series
Tigers vs. Rays
With a lineup that would rival some of the great teams of all time, the Tigers have no reason not to win this series. Tampa will have to go home for the second straight year instead of continuing on to the Fall Classic, and I don’t think it will even be close. Tigers sweep the Rays, 4-0.
National League Division Series
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
The combination of great starting pitching, a quality bullpen and mashers like Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder should be more than enough to carry the Brewers to the NLCS. It won’t be easy though. Kirk Gibson has his team playing great ball heading to October. Brewers win, 3-2.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Cardinals took the season series from the Phillies, 6 games to 3 including a win on the last day of the season to overtake the Braves as the Wild Card. That being said, this is the playoffs and when you get Doc and Cliff in the playoffs, they are animals not to be messed with. Phillies sweep, 3-0, and wait around for the Brewers.
National League Championship Series
Brewers vs. Phillies
This series could be one for the ages as two teams who scored over 700 runs during the regular season face off. The Phillies pitching staff will have their hand full, but so will the Brewers. Based on hitting alone, I think that the Brewers could definitely take this series, but it won’t be easy. Brewers win, 4-2.
Tigers vs. Brewers
Pitching is going to be the deciding factor in this year’s Fall Classic. The Tigers rotation has been good, but not as good as the Brewers. Also, I like the Brew Crew’s lineup a fraction of a bit more than the Tiger’s. Milwaukee will get their first ever World Series Championship in dramatic fashion, winning the series 4-3.
Yankees vs. Tigers: Tigers. With Verlander on the bump for the opener, stealing one in the Bronx is more than a distinct possibility. And the Tigers have had stronger starting pitching than the Yankees this year, but at least the Bombers have grossly overpaid for it.
Rays vs. Rangers: Rays. They’re the hottest team in the American League right now.
Tigers vs. Rays: I’m rooting for the Tigers. With the exception of the Phillies in 2008, I haven’t picked a winner yet.
Cardinals vs. Phillies: Phils. Ryan Howard gets to go home again. He’ll probably blast a couple for the hometown crowd.
Brewers vs. Diamondbacks: Dbacks. Prince Fielder takes a page out of the CC Sabathia playbook and lays an egg in his last appearance in a crew uniform.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies. The Dbacks have the best starter in National League this year in Ian Kennedy (at least, the best NL starter in the playoffs — Clayton Kershaw, anyone?). The Phils have the next three. Or possibly four. Advantage: Fightins’.
Rays vs. Phillies. The long-awaited rematch of the 2008 World Series. This one might go six, but the results will be the same: Parade down Broad Street. Phillies.
Of course, I must add my usual disclaimer: If I was really any good at picking ’em. I would be at a sports book in Vegas right now.
AL Division Series
Detroit vs. NYY
Winner: Detroit – Justin Verlander. Do I need to say more?
Rangers vs. Rays
Winner: Rays – Carl Crawford (oh wait, he’s on the Red Sox) propels Rays to ALDS win!
Detroit vs. Rangers – Tigers got hot at the right time. Verlander is ALCS MVP.
NL Division Series
STL vs. Philly
Winner – Philly – Cliff Lee is money in the post season and Albert Pujols has a NLDS he wants to forget.
Ariz vs. Mil
Winner – Mil – Beer me! Ryan Braun bats Brewers to sweep of D’backs.
Philly vs. Mil
Winner – Philly – Cliff Lee + Roy Halladay = #WORLDSERIES
Philly vs. Detroit
Winner – Detroit – Jhonny Peralta is the luckiest man alive
Tigers vs. Yankees – Tigers in 5.
I think this will be the best division series. In my opinion the best two teams in the American League. Both teams have a ton of offense but Tigers have the two hottest pitchers in Verlander and Fister going into playoffs. If the Tigers can figure out how to win one other game when Verlander isn’t pitching they will move on to the ALCS.
Rangers vs. Rays- Rangers in 4.
My heart tells me to pick the Rays but ultimately my brain is telling me to pick the Rangers. The Rays truly had a magical run and could ride it into the ALCS, but they also spent a lot of energy making up 9 games in a month. All depends on how much gas is left in the tank. However, simply put I just believe the Rangers are the better team and that’s why I think they will move onto the ALCS for the second year in a row.
Cardinals vs. Phillies – Phillies in 4.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been the best team all year and while they did sputter through an 8 game losing streak towards the end of the season, they are still the best team. The Cardinals made a great run to catch the Braves in the wildcard and they have veteran players with valuable postseason experience, but they just don’t have the team Philadelphia does. All the Philadelphia offense has to do is muster up 3-4 runs a game and let Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt take care of business and they will move on to the NLCS.
Diamondbacks vs. Brewers – Brewers in 4
Both of these teams were some of the better stories in baseball this season, winning 94 and 96 games respectively. I think this could potentially be the most intriguing division series. I think the Brewers having home field advantage could be a big factor in this series. Arizona has had a great surprise season, but I just think the Brewers have too much offense with the likes of Fielder, Braun, and Hart in their lineup. They also have a respectable front 3 of their rotation with Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum that is good enough to get them into the next round.
Tigers vs. Rangers- Tigers in 6
The Tigers and Rangers have two of the best offenses in the league hands down. This series could very well turn into a slugfest with some high scoring games, but ultimately I think the Tigers will advance to represent the American League in the World Series. Last year the Rangers made a run led by dominant performances by Cliff Lee, who was virtually unhittable. Texas doesn’t have Cliff Lee anymore, and Detroit has Justin Verlander. Having a dominant ace with a scorching hot Doug Fister to follow will ultimately lead the Tigers on.
Brewers vs. Phillies-Phillies in 7
If there is anyone who could knock off the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League it is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have the high powered offense to put up some runs on the aces of the Phillies and a pitching staff good enough to keep the Phillies offense at bay. However, the Phillies have become a staple in the NLCS and have tons of veteran experience. Despite the talent on the Brewers team, I still believe the Phillies are the better team and that the pitching staff of Philadelphia will ultimately prevail and send them on to the World Series.
Phillies vs. Tigers- Tigers in 6
I know the Phillies have been the best team from start to finish, setting a franchise record with 102 wins, but I just think this is the Tigers season. They have been one of the hottest teams in baseball down the stretch and are primed for a playoff run. Adding Delmon Young and Doug Fister has been crucial to their success and basically took them to a new level. They have a great lineup with guys like Young, Martinez, Cabrera, Peralta, and the surprising Alex Avila. Knowing that Justin Verlander is basically going to get you 2 wins in a series is a nice luxury to have as well. The Tigers also have a great back end of the bullpen with Benoit and Valverde, who didn’t blow a save all season. The Phillies have the great starting rotation, but ultimately I think the Tigers will pull through and be crowned World Series champions.
Tampa Bay vs. Texas – Tampa Bay in 4
I see the Rays as a team of “fate” this season. The whole Boston collapse is one thing but don’t forget that Tampa had to keep winning to get to the postseason. Between a rock solid pitching staff and the heroics of Evan Longoria I see this late-season momentum propelling them into the ALCS.
Detroit vs. New York – Detroit in 5
I think New York is a powerful team and I believe this will most likely be the most even matchup of the playoffs. Detroit has played so lights out the last month or so and I think they can keep it going. I think the Tigers middle of the order along with Verlander will be just enough to knock out the Bronx Bombers.
St. Louis vs. Philadelphia – Philadelphia in 3
I could see St. Louis winning one but they haven’t exactly set the world on fire lately. The Cards have improved as the season went on but the Phillies are consistent and have everything you need to win a short series. I see them having a pretty easy time disposing the Cardinals.
Arizona vs. Milwaukee – Milwaukee in 4
Arizona is certainly not a team to count out, if they won it wouldn’t surprise me at all. However, I just think the Brewers are built better for a short series and have this urgency about them that will push them over the top. I think the key is their pitching. They will definitely need to outpitch Arizona to win this series because I believe all the games will be close.
Tampa Bay vs. Detroit – Tampa Bay in 6
Again, I am drinking the kool-aid. The Rays just seem so destined to break through and they have a solid team top to bottom. I think it will be tough to beat Verlander but if they can just keep it close enough to get to the bullpens I think the Rays can bust through. My prediction for the postseason is that Jose Valverde blows a save or two. He’s been perfect this season and I think his luck will run out. Evan Longoria will lead Tampa to the AL crown.
Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia – Milwaukee in 7
That is not a typo. I say the Brewers shock the world. Of course I think Philly is the better team and is probably the favorite to win it all but what fun would that prediction be? I think the youngsters will get it done and Prince Fielder will make his offseason departure a bit more bearable by delivering an NL championship. Ryan Braun is all-world and still tends to slip under the radar due to his playing location. I think the Brewers get hot going into this series and develop a swagger that carries them into the World Series.
Tampa Bay vs. Milwaukee – Tampa Bay in 7
A kind of dream scenario really but not unlike last year’s Texas/San Fran matchup. I think these two underdog teams square off in an epic duel that could go down as one of the best ever. I feel like Tampa has been so close many times over the last few years that it’s got to happen eventually. They have experience, talent, and confidence so I believe they will ride that to the ultimate title. Joe Maddon is a great manager and he will push all the right buttons in this series. Rays will be your 2011 World Series Champs.
Photo: J.Meric/Getty Images