Monday, April 6, 2009

First to Third: Playoff Predictions

With last night's Phillies/Braves season opener, the 2009 baseball season is now underway and it couldn't have come sooner! For the next several months, baseball fans everywhere won't have to worry about what to watch on tv at night, they know that more often than not, baseball will be on.

First to Third's 2009 season preview wraps up today with the playoff predictions:

AL Wild Card: Red Sox - The AL East is the best division in baseball and the competition between the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays should produce three 90 win teams. Unfortunately, the AL East can only send two members to the postseason and with the Yanks as my pick to win the division, the Red Sox will win the Wild Card. The Rays are a great team, but they won't be sneaking up on anyone this year and Boston is a very strong, deep team.

NL Wild Card: New York Mets - The Phillies are just too good to not win the NL East and I think K-Rod will help the prevent Met collapse three-peat down the stretch. I think the West is one of the worst divisions in baseball and shouldn't be too competitive. The Reds and the Marlins could challenge for the final postseason berth, but if the Mets stay healthy, they should be playing in October.

American League Champ: New York Yankees. It's likely to be another Yankees/Red Sox ALCS and this one should be a classic as the Red Sox will look to spoil the first ALCS at The House that George Built. I don't think the Sox can overcome the Yanks, so I'll take the Bronx Bombers in 7.

National League Champ: Chicago Cubs. I'm tempted to go for a Subway Series, Part Deux, but I don't think the Mets have the pitching depth to get that far. Pitching wins championships and I think the Cubs staff takes them to the World Series with a chance to break the 100+ year old curse.

World Series Champion: New York Yankees. Yankee manager Joe Girardi chose #27 because that was his goal - to guide the Bronx Bombers to their 27th World Championship. With a deep rotation and a good lineup, the Yankees should be able to get the job done in the first season of New Yankee Stadium.


NL CY Young: Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks. The easy pick is for a repeat from Tim Lincecum, but Haren is underrated and an ace on almost any other team, except that he plays in the shadow of teammate Brandon Webb.

AL Cy Young: James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays. He earnd the nickname "Big Game" for his stellar performance at the end of 2008, so I'll take a chance on the 27-year old Shields. A lot of the "experts" are thinking CC Sabathia, but I have my doubts that he conquers New York in one season. Roy Halladay is an easy guess, but I won't go there since I think he'll get traded mid-season.

NL MVP: Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers. He's won the World Series (twice), but one piece of hardware missing from Casa De Manny is the MVP award. He put up MVP numbers last year after moving out west and I think he continues to mash and Manny collects the hardware.

AL MVP: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians. We all know by now that the MVP is really the player that puts up the best numbers, at least that's who usually wins the award. I think it's time for Sizemore to break out and join the 40/40 club en route to his first MVP award.

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