Took some time to look ahead to the MLB post season. Gotta tell ya I don't see this turning out any other way but a repeat of 2008 when the Phillies beat the Rays. Love the Giants rotation and even Brian Wilson at the back of the bullpen, but that offense is far too inconsistent and anemic to be trusted against a playoff staff. The Reds have some solid bats and my NL MVP pick in Joey Votto but I'm not enamored with their starters. They have Edinson Volquez as their #1, a guy who missed the first 2/3rds of the season and has zero playoff experience. The #2 Bronson Arroyo was with the 04 Red Sox but his era was nearly 8. I'm not buying.
Sentiment is with Atlanta as it's the finale of the Bobby Cox era. With an established money guy like Derek Lowe at the front end of a rotation that includes another elite arm in Tim Hudson, they have a shot. Their offense is more blue collar productive than dangerous with no one you'd say can carry a club through a series. And I've never trusted closer Billy Wagner and his huge gak in the clutch reputation. Philadelphia is the clear favorite and if Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge throw like they have been the past month, they steamroll their way through the divisonal and league championship series.
In the American League, the defending champs, the Yankees, have the ability to just slug their way through. They have a sensational ace in CC Sabathia then nothing but questions with Phil Hughes set to go in game 2, the juicer Andy Pettite in game 3. Fortunately they've decided to remove AJ Burnett from the post season rotation. Despite being a regular season starter, Hughes has never started a playoff game. The Twins have legit starters though not dominating or spectacular. They lost closer Joe Nathan in the pre-season, gave the gig to Jon Rauch, traded with the Angels for Brian Fuentes, then acquired Matt Capps from Washington and now he's the closer. Despite the loss of Justin Morneau to a concussion, I like their offense, but after getting past the Yankees, I think they lose the ALCS to Tampa.
The Rays starters all have post season starts, they have more speed than anyone, play excellent defense and Rafael Soriano closing the door in the 9th has been terrific. They lost to the Phils in 5 in 2008, and will lose again, but it will be much closer.