Well we have finally made it. The last installment of my 2010 Major League Baseball preview for Camelclutchblog.com will end with the 2010 MLB Postseason Predictions blog. I have built you up to the point the last week previewing every team, every division, in every league. Now who will reign supreme come October? Lets take a look at the teams I see being in the AL/NL Championship Series come October.
St. Louis Cardinals (NL Central Champions) vs. Colorado Rockies (NL West Champions)
To me, these are the two best teams in the National League. Now I know many people will argue with me that the Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in the National League but I feel like when it comes to the Phillies they may be lacking depth in their starting rotation. While the Phillies may be lacking depth in their starting rotation in my opinion, these two other teams are not.
As I’ve described in the my MLB 2010 preview blog series the Cardinals have the best 1-2 pitching punch in the National League. With Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are both potential contenders for the NL Cy Young award this season. That’s impressive for any team to have two potential favorites for the most prestigious pitching award in your league and have them both be on your rotation. We haven’t seen this kind of pitching depth since the days of the Atlanta Braves when they had three pitchers that could be Cy Young winners.
The Cardinals have that edge while the Rockies do not. The Rockies have a young starting rotation that started to show signs of molding into a great rotation for years to come. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De la Rosa could one day be a good 1-2 punch similar to the St. Louis Cardinals. But for the time being the Cardinals have that edge outright. The Rockies starting rotation would also struggle against the Cardinals deep lineup that they put on the field.
I know it’s shocking that team that has Albert Pujols in it would be good at hitting the ball. Albert Pujols is without a doubt the best player in all of Baseball and like I have stated in past MLB preview blogs, Pujols will have a full season of depth with one of the best hitters in Baseball hitting around him in Matt Holliday. Holliday returns to the National League for a full season after splitting time between the American League (Athletics) and National League (Cardinals) last season.
Holliday is one of the best hitters in all of Baseball and is in my opinion the #2 player in the National League behind Albert Pujols. To have two of the best players in your lineup helps make things easy for everyone else that hits around you and helps make players like a Ryan Ludwick or a Colby Rasmus into better all around ball players. This lineup will become better and more dangerous as the season continues as I feel they will head to the NLCS.
The Rockies similar to their pitching, has a great young lineup that will be exciting to watch as the season progresses. Carlos Gonzalez will have a breakout year for the Rockies this season as he fills the void in the outfield that was left behind by former Rockies player/now Cardinal, Matt Holliday. Gonzalez should be an all-star this season and join Troy Tulowitzki as the anchors of the Rockies lineup throughout the season.
But when you compare these two teams in a National League Championship Series scenario you have to give the overall edge to the Cardinals. They have the hitting, the pitching, the defense and a great manager to lead them back to the World Series. I feel like there is no stopping this Cardinals team as they take over as the top team in the National League from the Philadelphia Phillies. I see the Cardinals making an appearance back in the World Series since they won the World Championship in 2006.
Prediction: Cardinals win series 4-1
New York Yankees (AL East Champions) vs. Boston Red Sox (AL Wild Card Winners)
This series is simply known to many in the northeast as “the rivalry.” Or it’s also known as “the heart attack series” come October should these two teams meet in the postseason. When you have the two best teams in the American League going at it for the opportunity to go to the World Series in the hottest rivalry in all of sports, you will get one hell of a series.
The Boston Red Sox on paper to start the season have the deepest pitching rotation in possibly all of Baseball. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey are a dangerous pitching trio that will give team’s trouble when it comes to putting offense on the board. Anyone of those pitchers could be a #1 starter for just about 75% of most franchises in all of Major League Baseball. Rounding out the rest of the pitching order would be Tim Wakefield and the young pitcher Clay Buchholz. The rotation is dangerous.
While the front five starters for the Red Sox are intimidating for any team’s lineup you have to wonder how dependable the Red Sox bullpen will be in 2010. It seems like the Red Sox bullpen has many holes and may resemble the same weakness that a strong team like the Philadelphia Phillies had in 2009. The Red Sox starters may set a good standard but only have it taken away from them by the bullpen. It will be something most Red Sox fans will be keeping an eye on throughout the 2010 season.
The New York Yankees starting rotation is almost as identical to the Boston Red Sox starting rotation. You have the three starts that could be aces on 75% of most teams in Major League Baseball in Sabathia, Burnett and Vazquez. Then you have the veteran in the rotation with Andy Pettitte and the young flame thrower Phil Hughes. When comparing these two teams’ rotations you have to consider the depth as the season goes on. That right there alone I feel like the edge goes to the New York Yankees.
There are more question marks with the Red Sox rotation (Lester, Lackey, Buchholz & Dice-K when he returns) then the Yankees rotation (Vazquez, Hughes). Then when it comes to the bullpens the obvious edge goes to the New York Yankees. Joba Chamberlain is back where he belongs as the 8th inning setup man, while Alfredo Aceves and David Robertson continue to improve as great middle of the road relief pitchers. We also can’t forget the Yankees having one of the best closers in the game with Mariano Rivera. At the end of the day the overall pitching edge goes to the Yanks.
The lineups to me are not as close as the pitching is for these two dominant American League East ball clubs. The New York Yankees have deeper hitters and fewer questions marks then the Boston Red Sox have when it comes to their lineup. Many Red Sox fans are concerned with what new players like Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro will bring to a lineup that no longer has a power threat (i.e. Ramirez/Ortiz & Bay/Ortiz) anymore.
Red Sox fans do not have as much confidence in David Ortiz as they have had in the past. Ortiz is getting older and his numbers are starting to diminish. I still believe that the Red Sox brass will make a big push at this year’s deadline to bring San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez into the team’s fold even more so if the power numbers are not good. The Red Sox lineup is not as dangerous as they have been in years past making them inferior to the Yankees lineup overall.
When looking at these two teams I truly feel that the defending World Champions are the team to beat in the American League yet again. The Red Sox are good but does not have the overall depth that the Yankees have on their entire team going into the 2010 season. I feel like this maybe the “last hurrah” for the Red Sox in their continued appearances in the postseason for the time being until they make some bigger moves that provide the type of “swagger” the franchise had for a good portion of the decade. With that being said I see the Yankees making a 2nd straight appearance to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 World Series in October.
Prediction: New York Yankees win series 4-2
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