The American League:
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers: Tampa Bay and Texas won their respective divisions and made it to the playoffs, but they got there in much different ways. It took help from a familiar foe for one and the other seemed to have locked up a playoff spot in July. It took a victory by the Red Sox over the Yankees on the last day of the season to give the Rays the AL East title, but the Rangers won the AL West by nine games.
Game 1: Oct 6 – @TB (TBS)
Game 2: Oct 7 – @TB (TBS)
Game 3: Oct 9 – @ Texas (TBS)
Game 4*: Oct 10 – @ Texas (TBS)
Game 5*: Oct 12 – @ TB (TBS)
Season series: 4-2 Tampa Bay
Prediction: You make think this is a little bold. Even though the Rays won the toughest division in baseball, I think the Rangers will not only win this series, but they will sweep the rays.
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees: The Yankees may be the defending champions, but they still have some serious questions marks and limped into the playoffs after a dismal September. The Twins have been one of the most consistent teams in baseball and they’ll have to continue without Justin Morneau who was officially finally shut down on Monday.
Game 1: Oct 6 – @ New York (TBS)
Game 2: Oct 7 – @ New York (TBS)
Game 3: Oct 9 – @ Minnesota (TBS)
Game 4*: Oct 10 – @ Minnesota (TBS)
Game 5*: Oct 12 – @ New York (TBS)
Season Series: 4-2 Yankees
Prediction: This series hinges on the Yankees pitching (or lack thereof) and the health of Joe Mauer. If either isn’t up to snuff, the other team will take it. I see the Yankees taking this series in 4 games.
The National League:
Cincinnati Red vs. Philadelphia Phillies: This is the battle of one team who seems to always play in the World Series lately (philly) and one team that hasn’t even played in the post season since 1995 (Cincy). Cincinnati’s run to the playoffs is one of the best and most inspiring tales of the 2010 season. Joey Votto deserves the NL MVP and they have a solid team. But….the Phillies have experience and Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Oh yea, Cole Hamels is still there too.
Game 1: Wed, Oct 6 – @ Philly (TBS)
Game 2: Thurs, Oct 8 – @ Philly (TBS)
Game 3: Sat, Oct 10 – @ Cincinnati (TBS)
Game 4*: Sun, Oct 11 – @ Cincinnati (TBS)
Game 5*: Tues, Oct 13 – @ Philly (TBS)
Season series: 5-2 Philadelphia
Prediction: I don’t want to type this prediction because I’ll be rooting for Cincy now that Boston and San Diego aren’t in it. Sadly, I think the Reds will be swept by the Phillies. They have too much pitching and are the hottest team in baseball.
Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants: It took a win over San Diego on the final day of the season to not only give the Giants a playoff spot, but the NL West title. Atlanta made its way into the postseason by winning the wildcard. They are led by a rejuvenated Tim Hudson and rookie phenon Jason Heyward.
Game 1: Oct 7 – @ SF (TBS)
Game 2: Oct 8 – @ SF (TBS)
Game 3: Oct 10 – @ Atlanta(TBS)
Game 4*: Oct 11 – @ Atlanta (TBS)
Game 5*: Oct 13 – @ SF (TBS)
Season series: 4-3 Atlanta
Prediction: This should be the tightest series in the first round. These two teams match up very well statistically and it’s pretty much a toss up. This series will come down to the two Tim’s (Hudson and Lincecum), but I’ll give it to San Francisco in five.