Monday, September 29, 2014
Major League Baseball - Post Season Preview
Seven of the ten teams that made the playoffs were accurately picked by Heftyinfo in the MLB 2014 Season Preview back on March 31, so now here we go with a preview of the playoffs and the World Series, along with fearless forecasts as to what will happen in October.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals are loaded and playing great baseball since late July. Led by a solid pitching staff and a steady lineup, they appear to be headed toward the Fall Classic after being denied by the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals (who won it all three years ago) in the 2012 Division Series.
The Cardinals have been one of baseball's hottest teams down the stretch and pulled away past Milwaukee and Pittsburgh in September to win yet another NL Central division crown.
The Los Angeles Dodgers feature the game's best pitcher in Clayton Kershaw and they are hoping to ride his arm past the Redbirds in the NLDS.
Pittsburgh has reigning (2013) NL Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutcheon leading the offense and a pitching staff that finally is healthy just in time for the post-season.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants (who won it all in 2010 and 2012) are back in the playoffs and manager Bruce Bochy knows what it takes to get this team to the World Series.
In the American League, it's the talent laden Los Angeles Angels as the top seed after winning 98 games and they boast the best regular season record in baseball. Matt Shoemaker and Jared Weaver are the top pitchers for the 'Halos (Ace hurler Garrett Richards is out for the season with injury) and the lineup is led by 2014 MVP candidate Mike Trout.
The Baltimore Orioles surprised many people by not only winning the American League East, but they ran away with it, going 96-66 and winning the division by twelve games. Led by Adam Jones and Home Run king (40 dingers this year) Nelson Cruz, the O's smacked 211 home runs to lead the league. They also have a solid starting pitching rotation and a deep bullpen loaded with leftys, including a shut down closer in Zach Britton.
The Detroit Tigers are back again after winning their fourth consecutive AL Central division title and are led by the "Big Three"starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price. The lineup is solid, led by two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera. Their Achilles heel is their bullpen.
Oakland has a deep pitching staff, led by Jon Lester and Sonny Gray, and a scrappy crew of bearded wonders in the lineup. Kansas City is a team that is making it's first playoff appearance since 1985, when Hall-of-Famer George Brett and company won it all.
The Royals boast a lights out bullpen and a lineup that will get on base and run run run as they led the major leagues in stolen bases this season.
The following predictions are slightly different from the ones back in March, where the St. Louis Cardinals were selected to top the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but here goes nothing as the Major League Baseball post-season gets started.
Wild Card Game - Oakland A's defeat Kansas City Royals
Division Playoffs - Los Angeles Angels over Oakland A's (3-1) Baltimore Orioles over Detroit Tigers (3-2)
American League Championship Series - Baltimore Orioles over Los Angeles Angels (4-2)
Wild Card Game - Pittsburgh Pirates defeat San Francisco Giants
Division Playoffs - Washington Nationals over Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1) St. Louis Cardinals over Los Angeles Dodgers (3-1)
National League Championship Series - St. Louis Cardinals over Washington Nationals (4-2)
Baltimore Orioles over St. Louis Cardinals in seven games