Predicted AL playoff teams
East- Boston Red Sox
West- Seattle Mariners
Central- Chicago White Sox
Wild card- New York Yankees
No. 1 Boston Red Sox vs No. 3 Chicago White Sox
In the best of five series, any team can be hot and win. However, a deep pitching staff and solid defense usually leads to an ALCS berth. Boston and the White Sox have equally good pitching, but the Red Sox have the better defense.
The series will go all five games, but the winner will make the fewest mistakes. Boston has also been here more times than the White Sox, and I see them using their experience to edge Chicago. Boston 3, White Sox 2.
No. 2 Seattle Mariners vs No. 4 New York Yankees
The Yankees are the defending champions, and they have the offense to power through the postseason. However, Seattle can match them with pitching in a short series and will have more home games. In a five game series, Seattle can score some runs with good speed at the top of the lineup, and they can pitch Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee twice if needed.
If the Mariners can score early and hold their leads, the Yankees will a tough chance in the short series. Plus, Cliff Lee pitched well against them in last year’s World Series, winning twice and only allowing five runs. Seattle 3, New York 2.
No. 1 Boston vs No. 2 Seattle
The Boston Red Sox have a deeper staff than the Mariners, and they have home-field advantage. However, the Mariners have more speed, and the base runners can give Boston loads of trouble. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez can pitch twice again, and the Mariners will have a great chance of stealing one in the first two games and one in the last two games.
If they win two in Boston, a two out of three series is needed at home. Seattle is an improved ball club with two potential number one aces and more speed and contact at the top of the order. If the middle of the lineup knocks in runs, Seattle will be very dangerous. They can easily do what Tampa Bay did in 2008. Seattle 4, Boston 2.
AL PENNANT WINNER
In Major League Baseball, the hottest teams tend to go to the World Series. The Yankees were hot last year, the Rays the year before that, the Red Sox, Tigers and White Sox in previous years for the American League. The favorite or the best doesn’t always win, and a repeat champion is extremely rare. In fact in the last six years, only the Red Sox have won it twice (but not in consecutive years). The Yankees won it five out of six years from 1998-2003 (only losing in 2002 to eventual champion Anaheim Angels, now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim).
With the trends pointing away from such dynasties due to younger teams getting better and contenders staying at the top longer, the Mariners are a nice sleeper pick to take the AL prize. Anyone can choose the Red Sox and Yankees, but the Mariners will be a contender that can only get better throughout the season. I see them hot in September, with the Angels chasing them, and I see them healthy enough to use their one-two punch at the top of the rotation come playoff time. Remember, the Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series with, essentially, only two starters. Granted they are potential future hall of famers, Lee and Hernandez are potential Cy Young-award winners.
Note: An interesting fact lies in playoff appearances and pennants won. The Yankees have 48 appearances and 40 pennants as a franchise, including when they were the Baltimore Orioles and New York Highlanders. The Red Sox have 20 appearances and 12 pennants won, including when they were the Boston Americans. The White Sox have nine appearances and six pennants won, and the Mariners have four appearances and zero pennants won. If the Mariners win the pennant, they would be the 14th American League team to do so, including the Milwaukee Brewers when they were in the AL. What other American League team has never won a pennant? Comment with your answers. I will reveal the correct one later in the week. (To keep it fair, take an educated guess without the Internet).
Also check out Tyler’s Fantasy Sports Donkey blog located in the other blogs to check out section of our sidebar. See what MLB players will give your fantasy team the best chance at winning a league.