Long-awaited return imminent!
- K7

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MLB Playoffs 2011 - Division Series Predictions & Analysis

Hello again everyone! It is that time again! After 162 games of baseball, we now get to look forward to the MLB playoffs, and as such, I will deliver my yearly predictions in the rounds to come. Am I an expert on the sport? Do I get paid the big bucks to create these like the folks at ESPN and the like? Nope! These are just the humble predictions and analysis done by a big fan of the game!
After one hell of a final two weeks, all of the matchups have been decided!

American League:
          Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees
          Tampa Bay Rays vs Texas Rangers 

National League:
          St. Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies
          Arizona Diamondbacks vs Milwaukee Brewers

So, without further ado, here are K7’s yearly MLB Playoffs predictions!

Let us begin with the first AL matchup between the Detroit Tigers vs the New York Yankees. The Tigers clinched a playoff berth rather early on as they sealed the AL Central division up pretty quickly behind the MVP-level efforts of Justin Verlander and his 24 wins, and the trade deadline acquisition of Doug Fister. What makes this even more incredible is when you look at the stats of every other Detroit pitcher aside from Verlander and Fister. Without these two pitchers anchoring the rotation, the rotation is somewhat lackluster. However, with only the realistic need for three different starters, the Detroit rotation for the playoffs could paint a completely different picture. Now let’s compare the Detroit rotation to that of the New York Yankees, who are sending C.C. Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia to the mound for their rotation. Sabathia, while almost always a solid workhorse, has not been as dominant as he has been in the past. However, the opposite can be said for the rookie sensation Ivan Nova, who has not only exceeded expectations in his starts, but practically out-aceing the ace of the staff. The big question remains for the Yankees rotation is in their 3rd starter, Freddy Garcia, who, while lacking the fireball power of his younger days, has been rather steady in his slow-ball-style pitching (a la Mike Mussina in his final year). In terms of lineup stats, the Tigers and the Yankees have been somewhat even in most respects, so it really comes down to whether or not the Yankees can overcome Verlander and Fister long enough to eat up the Detroit bullpen. Overall, this could be a very good matchup showcasing the arguably two best teams in the American League.

Prediction: Yankees over Tigers in 5 games.

Up next we have the matchup between the surging Tampa Bay Rays facing off against the defending AL Champion Texas Rangers. This one is a bit tougher to determine as the Rays are coming off of a massive upset to make the playoffs after snatching the AL Wild Card right out from under the noses of the Boston Red Sox by sweeping the Yankees in the final series. With a pitching staff showcasing the likes of James Shields and David Price facing off against a rotation consisting of CJ Wilson and Derek Holland. While lacking the Cliff Lee and Tommy Hanson punch of last year, the Rangers need to rely upon their league-leading batting power to overcome the surging Rays. The Rays, however, hope to keep leaning on Evan Longoria in the clutch to undo that Ranger pitching staff. Stats-wise, the Rays rotation dwarfs the Rangers, but the Rangers lineup packs a bit more punch than the Rays. Overall, it is a battle between the better pitching staff and the better lineup, and in this case, I feel that the Rangers lineup will ultimately stomp out the fire that brought the Rays into the playoffs.

Prediction: Rangers over Rays in 4

Now we move into the National League, and to begin we shall discuss the St. Louis Cardinals facing off against the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming into this contest, the Cardinals pulled off another league wild card upset as they were able to successfully rise up enough in the standings to complete the September collapse of the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies, however, effectively dominated all season thanks to a stellar rotation and lineup as to secure the NL East title early on. In terms of statistics, the Phillies seem to outrank the Cardinals in pretty much every pitching category, while the Cardinals seem to be ahead in most of the hitting categories. The regular season record between these two teams also tells an interesting story, as the Cardinals are ahead 6 games to 3, so they can definitely hold off the Phillies lineup. The main deciding factor in this, though, is can the Cardinals lineup put up enough numbers to not only overcome the Phillies lineup, but can they do it against multiple appearances by Roy Halladay and possibly Cliff Lee? With Cole Hamels as the #3 pitcher, and Roy Oswalt available if needed, the cardinals are looking at a tough task to overcome if they want to advance.

Prediction: Phillies over Cardinals in 4.

Finally, we come to the Arizona Diamondbacks heading out to face the Milwaukee Brewers. Statistics-wise, both teams seem to lack any clear advantage over the other, but the Brewers boast the best home record of any team in the Major Leagues right now. Along with the MVP-candidate Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, the Brewers lineup does pack a major punch to be able to overcome the Arizona rotation. That being said, the Diamondbacks have put together a very strong season behind the efforts of hitters Justin Upton and Chris Young and pitchers Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. However, I do not feel that the Diamondbacks lack the real offensive punch to really upset the Brewers rotation of Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo, and combined with the confidence that the Brewers get when playing at home, I feel that the Brewers will be the ones moving on in this NLDS matchup.

Prediction: Brewers over Diamondbacks in 4.

So there we go. According to my predictions, we should see the Rangers vs Yankees in a 2010 ALCS rematch, and a Brewers vs Phillies matchup in NLCS. Until then, here’s to a great postseason!

K7 out.

No comments:

Post a Comment