I love the baseball postseason. But anyone else feel just a little more pumped up for it after the way the regular season ended? I know I do.
Here are some quick thoughts on each series:
ALDS: Tigers vs. Yankees
I was your classic Yankee hater growing up. And I’ve been known to say, “Bring on the Yankees,” prior to their playoff series against the Minnesota Twins in recent years. I love the Yankees lineup, love the bullpen, but I’m not feeling that rotation. They had the opportunity to set their rotation before the postseason started, and Ivan Nova is a No. 2 starter? Don’t get me wrong: The kid has pitched pretty well. But to see him matched up with Detroit’s Doug Fister in Game 2 looks like a mismatch. Meanwhile, the Tigers have a bit of a deeper rotation and a pretty good lineup, too. Give me Detroit. Tigers win in 4.
ALDS: Rays vs. Rangers
The Tampa Bay Rays are the feel-good story, and it’s hard not to like the way they played down the stretch. But in all of the regular-season hangover from Wednesday, don’t count out the defending AL champion Texas Rangers. They have arguably the best lineup among the postseason teams. It always seems like when a team has to make a hard charge to get into the playoffs, that team is spent when they get there. I have a lot of respect for Rays manager Joe Maddon, but I’m going to give the nod to Texas for that reason in what should be a great series. Rangers in 5.
NLDS: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers
I nay-sayed the Milwaukee Brewers a bit heading into the season. I didn’t question the lineup so much as I did the pitching staff. But the bullpen has been better than I thought it would be, and Shawn Marcum is actually healthy and able to pitch in October. As for Arizona, I never thought I’d see this team representing the NL West. But I like the Diamondbacks. They have some good young starting pitchers, and considering where their bullpen was last year, it’s amazing the D’Backs are even in this position. My gut says Brewers but my heart is going with Arizona. Advantage: heart. Diamondbacks in 5.
NLDS: Cardinals vs. Phillies
So much for this being the year that St. Louis falls back into the pack in the National League. The Cardinals may have been overshadowed by the Rays’ run in the AL, but St. Louis’ effort was equally impressive. Like the Rays, though, I wonder if the Cards will look a little spent. I think the Rays have a better chance of shaking that just based on their pitching advantage over Texas. St. Louis certainly does not have that against Philly, which boasts the best rotation in baseball. And Chase Utley and Ryan Howard aren’t bad, either. Phillies in 3.