Friday

4-2-10: 2010 MLB Preview - The Post-Season

Hello again everybody...

It's going to be brief today. Partially that's due to the nature of the subject matter. The other reason is because I'M GOING TO TARGET FIELD!!!

Whew. Sorry, I just had to get that out.

Needless to say, I've been excited about today for some time. A large majority of the folks I've worked with had tours of the facility before it even opened. I was en route back to town when they held the Season Ticket Holder Open House. And I was stuck at work last Saturday when they had the Gopher game there. Today, I finally get to go. Not only do I get to go, but I get to see the Twins take the field for the very first time ever in their new home. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Oh sure, it sounds like there might be a sprinkle here or there. I don't care. For 30 years, my only local option for big league baseball has been under that off-white monstrosity on the other end of downtown. So bring it on Mother Nature. Rain, sleet, hail or snow, I honestly don't care. Because all of the picture-perfect days and nights over the Summer will more than make up for it.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about it (likely much, much more) on Monday. But for now, I've got to complete my 2010 MLB Preview columns by naming my two Wild Card picks and telling you who I think is going to win the World Series.

Off we go!

”Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.”
- George Santayana (1863 - 1952), philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.


So you're saying that even though I took the time to go through all 30 MLB teams and preview their seasons, the quality of my picks takes precedence?! Damn...

«Read More...»


But I'm not going to let that stop me now! It's time for my...

2010 MLB Preview: The Post-Season

First, let's review the six division winners as I've selected them leading up to today:

AL East: New York Yankees

I keep hearing people trying to talk themselves into believing Boston's (whom I hate) line about pitching and defense winning them the division. And the latest “hype-du-jour” has the Rays surprising everyone and making a push for the post-season. I'm not saying that either of those theories are impossible. I just don't think the Yankees have slipped enough to be caught.


NL East: Philadelphia Phillies

With due respect to those touting the Cardinals as the class of the NL, they're wrong. The Phillies are the best team in the National League and might even be the best in either league. Run producing line-up + deep, quality pitching staff + experienced, no-nonsense manager = deep post-season run.


NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

Not that I'm down on the Cardinals mind you. I just don't think they're as good as Philly. They're the class of the Central though, and barring injury, should collect another division title.


AL West: Los Angeles Angels

I kvetched and kvetched over this pick, changing my mind several times before settling on the Halos. And now the more I hear, the more I think that it could be Texas that challenges the Angels more than Seattle. Here's a stat I missed in my initial research: did you know Milton Bradley has never produced more than 77 RBI in a single season? That's Seattle's 5-hitter folks. Oof. I love me some pitching and defense, but you've got to be able to score more runs than that.


NL West: Colorado Rockies

I thought I was stepping out on a limb here, being bold and brave in picking the Rocks to take the division title. According to this article from MLB.com, four of five pundits agree with me. So much for my unique take! I'm still hearing that there are four teams that can win this division. Like I said, I'm not as bullish as some on the D'backs, but that has to be a good sign, right?


AL Central: Minnesota Twins

I'm going to thoroughly enjoy watching the folks picking the White Sox eat crow when the Twins win this division. Boastful? Perhaps. But people keep looking for reasons not to like Minnesota. I guess now I know what it feels like for the Yankees.


So there are the six division winners. But you already knew who I was picking there. The Wild Cards? Those would be new. Here we go...


NL Wild Card:
Florida Marlins

The Dodgers, Giants, Brewers and Braves could all be in this mix, but I like what's going on in Miami, so I'll pick the Marlins. Fans deserve to be introduced to Hanley Ramirez on a big stage, and playoff run would accomplish that nicely. Florida's pitching will have perform to expectations for a full 162 games in order to get them there, but I think they can pull it off.


AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox (whom I hate)

It pains me to do it. I mean it really pains me to do it. But the second place team in the AL East is going to win the Wild Card. A lot of people are high on the Rays, and I hope they're right. But I picked the Red Sox (whom I hate) to finish second, so for consistency's sake, I'll pick them.


So what will the playoff match-ups be? I have no clue. Seriously. I've said in past Previews that picking records is a foolish pursuit. So many things influence what a team's final record will be that even the most fervent of sabermatricians would be overly-bold to think they could predict it accurately.

And since the final Win/Loss records are what determine the playoff match-ups, it would seem presumptuous of me to try and predict those pairings. But as you may have already guessed, I'm going to do it anyway... here we go:

NLDS:

Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals: I picked the Marlins as the Wild Card, and I have to believe the Phillies will have the best record in the National League. So, due to MLB's ridiculous rule that teams from the same division can't face each other in the Division Series, I'll say that Colorado finishes with a better record than St. Louis amongst division winners leading to this match-up in the first round.

Winner: Phillies in four games.


Colorado vs. Florida: Not a match-up that will be attractive to network execs, but one I'd love to watch. Both teams have a ton of young talent and I'd expect this series to go the distance. I said I wanted to see Hanley Ramirez on the post-season stage, but I don't expect to see him in the NLCS.

Winner: Colorado in five games.


ALDS:

New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels: Once again, the Bombers should be the AL's top seed. And once again, Major League Baseball gets it wrong by refusing to allow the Yankees to face the Red Sox (whom I hate) in the first round. I understand they want the potential for seven games between those two clubs instead of five, but this rule ruins the notion that winning a division is worth more than finishing second.

Winner: Yankees in four games.


Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox (whom I hate): That leaves this little gem. My own personal baseball Armageddon. Last year, after Game 163, anything the Twins would have done in the playoffs would have been gravy for me. After what it took just to win the division, there was really no reason to think they had a shot against New York. This year, expectations - along with the payroll - have increased. So call me a homer if you want (you really didn't think I was going to go the other way, did you!?), but I'm picking...

Winner: Minnesota in 5 games


NLCS:

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies: I'm saying the 2010 NLCS will be a repeat of the 2009 NLDS, a series Philadelphia won three games to one. This time it'll be a best of seven, but I expect the ultimate result to be the same, with the Phillies on top.

Winner: Philadelphia in 6 games.


ALCS:

New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins: The Yankees flat-out owned the Twins in 2009. 10-0. It pains me just to type it. The Bombers won seven-straight in the regular season and swept the Twins out of the post-season in three games. So this time around it'll be different, right? This time, the Twins won't be intimidated by Yankee Stadium, right? This time, all the history and tradition of the Yankees won't get in the Twins' heads, right? Sadly, I don't think that will be the case. Unless the Twins make a couple of moves during the season to shore up their bullpen, I don't think they'll have enough to topple New York.

Winner: Yankees in 5 games.


World Series:

New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Yes, for the first time since the 1977/1978 seasons, I'm predicting there will be a repeat World Series. And go figure, in '77/'78 it involved the Yankees too. But here's the rub, in those two World Series, the Yankees topped the Dodgers both times. Not so this time I say! That's right, I'm predicting the Phillies as your 2010 World Champions. I love their line-up, I love their rotation, and I think their bullpen's good enough to get them through. Sorry Bombers, number 28 isn't in the cards this year!

Winner: Phillies in 7 games.


So there you have them, all the predictions for the 2010 MLB season that you could ask for and more.

For the record, in the two previous years that I've done these Preview columns, I haven't come close in picking a World Champion. Sorry about that Phillies fans, but really... I think this is the year!!!

But it's always fun for me to break it all down and boldly make predictions that have little chance of being correct! And as regular readers know, I'm not going to let them fade away into our collective memory. Oh no. I've taken the Kelley Formula off the shelf, dusted it off and have it raring to go for the 2010 season. Expect the first Peek at the Picks column to head your way sometime in the vicinity of Memorial Day!

That's going to wrap things up for today. I'll be back on Monday with my review of all things Target Field and Twins exhibition game!

Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment: