AL Division Series Preview:
As debates rage on among baseball enthusiasts about the proper recipients of awards, the MLB has quietly put together one of the greatest postseason races in the past decade, enhanced by the second wild card team. Whether there actually were more teams in contention, or the second slot just made it feel that way, it is a great time to be a baseball fan. This post season is littered with fresh faces and new teams. Superstars look to take the big stage and be heroes, preparing for their best Mr. October impressions. The Ninja is here for you to breakdown the MLB playoffs one step at time. Up first is the MLB division series.
AL Division Series Preview:
In case you haven’t been paying attention to Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s this season, it is Moneyball squared. Once again, Beane has found a deficiency in the market (that’s all the original moneyball was, people!) called speed. With speed and young arms, the A’s have conquered the West but are running into a Detroit team that is built for the playoffs. If there is one guy the Ninja is taking for one game, with everything on the line, it is Tigers ace Justin Verlander. The Tigers offense lead by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera ,outslugs Oakland by .28 and have struck out 284 less times. The A’s whiff-prone offense isn’t going to fare well against a Tigers staff that ties for third in the AL in strikeouts.
This series is featuring the #2 and #3 pitching staffs in the AL, so look for mistake pitches and home runs to be the difference.
Prediction: Detroit 3-2
This series has a chance to be explosive, featuring 6 players in top 10 in runs scored in the AL. The juggernaut Yankees are a huge threat entering this postseason. They feature a veteran filled team who has slugged its way through shaky pitching at times. Robinson Cano anchors the line-up with his 8.2 WAR is 2nd, and if his sweet swing gets hot…look out. The main question facing the Yankees is obviously their pitching. They rank 5th in the AL as staff, but can CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes string it together with Soriano at the back in a 5 game series?Looking to defeat the Evil Empire Yanks is an Orioles team that people continue to not take seriously. Stop sleeping on the O’s!! Statistically, they have a team that ranks in the top 10 in offense, defense, and pitching. Looking past the numbers, this squad is nitty and gritty, grinding out a stellar winning percentage in 1 run games. Forget the big names, Buck Showalter wants everyone to step up. Lacking an ace, Buck and the O’s will look to piece together wins as they have all season. Look for Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy to make or break this series.
These two teams went 9-9 against each other in the regular season. They know each other inside and out.
Prediction: Yankees 3-2