Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I had a busy weekend, and to be honest, wasn’t really in a blogging mood for a few days. It happens to all bloggers, I’m sure.
American League Picks:
First off, let me just say that, now that the entrants have been decided, all momentum is out the window. Whether a team stumbled to the finish doesn’t matter, they’re here. Now the slate gets wiped clean.
Wild Card: Oakland over Kansas City
I like this matchup (Jon Lester vs. James Shields) better for Oakland than I do KC. Lester’s not only an ace, he’s performed well in previous post-season performances, while Shields hasn’t. That said, both pitchers’ have been pitching in a high pressure environment of late, similar to the level of pressure they’ll face in the playoffs. Given that, what it really comes down to is who’s the better pitcher, and no offense to Shields, but that’s Lester. Both teams have good bullpens, with KC’s getting all the publicity but Oakland’s very good in it’s own right, so I don’t think we’ll see any leads blown here.
Division Series One: Baltimore over Detroit in five games.
Both of these teams have solid offenses, with the edge going to Detroit. Everyone will talk about Detroit’s rotation, but I think Baltimore’s starters are underrated. I think they’ll keep things close which, given the volatile nature of the Tigers’ bullpen, will allow the Orioles’ to seize the series from Detroit. Combine that rotation with Baltimore’s strong bullpen (and a manger who’s known for his bullpen management in Buck Showalter.) and Baltimore has a good chance. One thing that would help Baltimore is if they worked the pitch count a little more. Adam Jones, their best overall hitter, only had 19 walks in 644 AB’s, leading to a low .311 OBP. Combine that with 133 strikeouts, and he’s really been a hit or sit down type of hitter.
Division Series Two: Oakland over Los Angeles in five games.
Everyone’s going to talk about the Angels’ offense, and it’s a great offense, but it also has a glaring weakness: six starters have 90 or more strikeouts, and their two bench players with the most AB’s both have more than 55 K’s in 260 or less AB’s. Put a team that strikeout heavy against a team with a very deep rotation, and I think we’re talking upset here. If the Angels’ so-so rotation can keep it close, they have a deep bullpen at the ready. Oakland’s bullpen is pretty good though too, so the bullpens’ are a wash.
League Championship Series: Oakland over Baltimore in six games
The A’s have one advantage that Detroit doesn’t, which’ll allow them to conquer the Orioles: a good bullpen. They won’t give away leads like Detroit would if it had to rely heavily on its bullpen. Given that and the A’s excellent rotation, I feel comfortable picking the A’s to beat the Orioles in six, even with Baltimore having the better offense.
Now watch the Royals win it all…
As always, thanks for reading.