Before the Rangers and Rays start their game this afternoon, I'll offer some predictions for postseason. First, I think the playoffs are largely a crapshoot and trying to figure out what teams are going to benefit from particular match ups is almost impossible. That being said, I honestly think the Tigers are the favorites to capture the American League pennant. I'd probably say that anyway at this time of year, but this year I am stating it with my brain as well as my heart.I also think they can take the Phillies in the World Series (although that's where my heart comes more into play)
The Tigers finished with only the third best record in the league, but they are the hottest team in baseball going 29-9 since August 19. They have a Cy Young probable in Justin Verlander and another pitcher - Doug Fister - who is on the roll of his life. That is probably the best one-two among AL playoff teams at the moment and the top two can bring a team a long way in the playoffs.
They possess a dominant closer in Jose Valverde, a man who has not blown a save all year. Regardless of I feel about the modern closer roll, they is really impressive. His supporting cast of Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke and Al Albuquerque is also in good shape heading into postseason.
Offensively, I'll put up their big four - Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta - against any team in baseball. The rest of the line-up has also improved a lot since the first half. The emergence of Ramon Santiago and the acquisition of Wilson Betemit have filled a couple of black holes at second and third. Ryan Raburn has picked up the pace considerably and Delmon ( Don't call me "Dmitri") Young has filled in nicely for the injured Brennan Boesch.
If there is a big question mark going into the playoffs, it would be right handers Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Those two have been in and out all year and at least one of them needs to be at his best in the playoffs. Odds are one of them will.
Here are my picks:
Tigers over Yankees
Rays over Rangers
Phillies over Cardinals
Brewers over Diamondbacks
Tigers over Rays
Phillies over Brewers
Tigers over Phillies