With spring training in full swing, the actual start of the 2011 MLB season is right around the corner. So, here's my predictions on how the season may play out.
East: Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox made some big offensive moves this off-season, and having a healthy Dustin Pedroia return to the lineup will be huge. The Yankees were the much better club last year and have the core of their team returning, but I think Boston has added enough to be able to overtake them. Whichever team wins the division, the other will surely be in the thick of the wild-card race.
|Photo from: waiversharks.com|
This is a tough division to call. Three quality teams in the Tigers, White Sox and Twins. In the end, I think it's the Tigers by a nose. As Magglio Ordonez goes, so go the Tigers. If he has a big year, so will Detroit. Ozzie Guillen at some point will wear out his welcome in Chicago, and this may end up being the season. The Twins always seem to find ways to compete, but I just don't see them having the pitching to hang with Detroit and Chicago over a 162 game season.
West: Texas Rangers
While Oakland made the most moves in the off-season, none were really big, so I still think the Rangers are the team to beat in the division. Even with the loss of Cliff Lee, Texas has the best overall roster in the west. Having the post-season experience from last season will also help if the A's or Angels try to make a push. Look for Josh Hamilton to once again make a run at the MVP award.
East: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies rotation is ridiculous, and I can't see any scenario in which they DON'T win this division, short of guys arms starting to fall off. I like how the Braves are rebuilding on the fly so to speak, but that being said, they won't have enough to get past Philly. I wouldn't be shocked if Atlanta manages to grab the wild-card once again this season though.
|Photo from: nydailynews.com|
This is another tough call to make. How will the whole Albert Pujols situation affect the Cardinals going forward? All the sudden, they have pitching rotation issues with Adam Wainwright out for the season and Chris Carpenter having hamstring issues. Having said all that, this team still has the most talent in the division, and new contract or not, Albert Pujols is still the best player in baseball, so St. Louis SHOULD take the division back from the up and coming Reds...but not by much.
West: Colorado Rockies
Yeah, I know. The west is home to the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Well they might be the champs, but I'm STILL not buying them. The Giants got hot at the right time last season and rode the wave all the way to the title. They won't catch anyone by surprise THIS year. While they have a strong pitching staff, once again the question is, where is their scoring gonna come from? Thats not a problem for the Rockies, who always manage to have tons of offense. Troy Tulowitzki is quickly becoming one of the games brightest stars, and Colorado should ride him all the way to the division crown.
American League Championship:
Boston Red Sox defeat Texas Rangers 4 games to 2
National League Championship:
Philadelphia Phillies defeat Colorado Rockies 4 games to 1
Philadelphia Phillies defeat Boston Red Sox 4 games to 2