The 2010 MLB playoffs being on Wednesday and while we see some familiar faces we do see new teams in the mix. Will the New York Yankees be able to repeat or are we going to see one of the surprise teams earn the upset? Find out who will come out on top with our 2010 MLB Division Series Predictions.
AL Division Series
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
For the third consecutive year, the Rays led the majors in stolen bases. This results them in using their speed on the base paths to create run scoring opportunities and force their opponents into making bad decisions. Add in their outstanding defense and you can see why they won the AL East.
The pitching staff is decent with David Price leading the way, but there is some concern with how the players performed during the second half of the season. The Rays will need Matt Garza to step up if they are going to advance to the next round.
The Rangers are going to be in their first MLB playoff series since 1999 and they appear ready to make a run at the World Series trophy. Cliff Lee is going shed the worry about his 0-3 record versus the Rays if the Rangers want to have a chance to advance.
The wildcard in this series could be the performance of Vladimir who hit .300 for the season with 29 home runs and 115 RBI’s. His production is going to be important to protecting Josh Hamilton in the lineup.
The Rangers are for real but so are the Rays. Tampa has the edge in this series thanks to the way they can produce runs.
Prediction – Tampa Bay Rays Win the Series in Four Games
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees
Somehow, someway the Twins always find a way to make an impact late in the season even when they lose their Hall of Fame closer for the year and will be without their star first baseman, Justin Morneau as well. Still they found a way to finish the season in the top six in the majors with runs and OPS.
The concern for the Twins has to be their pitching rotation that is ranked 17th in the majors with a 4.17 ERA. Add the fact that their ace, Francisco Liriano had an awful September and will need to improve upon the 4.59 ERA.
The Yankees’ pitching staff is no better, considering the inconsistency of A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes. The groin injury for Andy Pettitte has to be a concern for the Bronx Bombers. One thing that isn’t is their offense that led the majors in runs and had three hitters drive in 100 runs or more.
The Twins may have success in September, but October is a different story. Their 2 – 12 record in their last four playoff appearances is enough of a concern even when you are not going against the Yankees.
Prediction – New York Yankees Win the Series in Four Games
NL Division Series
Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds
The Phillies earned a trip to the MLB playoffs with thanks to their starting rotation and explosive offense. The NL East champions have a solid rotation made up of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt.
The key to their success in the divisional series will be the performance of Hamels, who looked like his old self during the month of September where he gave up 7 earned runs in 36.2 innings of work.
The Reds vaulted into the MLB playoff picture after a fifteen year absence, thanks to their power potential and one of the best young sluggers in the game, Joey Votto. Votto set career highs in 2010 and will be prepared to take on the lead role against a Phillies pitching staff that likes to give up the long ball.
The concern Reds’ fans may have is there lack of playoff experience with the starting rotation. This can be a blessing in disguise but it will be hard to overcome with the downright scary rotation of the Phillies.
Despite the power hitting of the Reds, the Phillies pitching staff is going to be too much to overcome this year.
Prediction – Philadelphia Phillies Win the Series in Four Games
San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves
The Giants return to the playoffs with one of the rotations in the game, led by Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Matt Cain. These three combined for 46 regular season wins and recorded 613 strikeouts.
While their pitching has been great, the Giants offense has been less than. Journeyman Aubrey Huff leads the team in average, home runs, and RBI’s. If the Giants can score more than four runs per game they should have a chance.
The starting rotation of the Braves has helped carry them to the NL Wildcard spot and is led by two veterans Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson. Closer Billy Wagner has found his dominant form and should be able to close out the games when called upon.
The Braves are trying to send manager Bobbie Cox out on a good note, but will have a hard time with an offense that was up and down all season. They should find success at home but it will be a different story when they travel to the West coast.
Performance in the latter innings is important in post season success. The Braves should their moxie in 2010 by coming back in the late innings 25 times to win the game. The Giants will counter with a rock solid closer in Brian Wilson.
Prediction – Giants win the Series in Five Games