Playoffs? You kiddin me? Playoffs?
This "Press Hop" youtube video above is awesome if you want a laugh.
Now onto the good stuff, the 2010 MLB playoffs. Right now with the exception of the NL West & the eastern wild card/division races, everything seems to be pretty decided. The biggest question this September seems to be the fights for home field advantage between the Yankees/Rays & Phillies/Braves. I think all four teams could really care less about playing an extra game at home or on the road, they are more concerned about finishing healthy and ready for the playoffs. This takes the edge out of the past month, but at least we can start to forecast the post-season landscape.
As a counter to this upcoming September baseball schedule, I have read the usual articles the past couple of weeks saying how the MLB should expand to an extra wild card team so that there are more meaningful regular season games. While that would be nice, I think the MLB actually has a good thing going right now. The playoffs aren't too watered down like the NBA & every team in the playoffs right now undoubtedly deserves to be there. That's actually saying something when you look at other sports and their wild card teams.
There is only one measure I would change to the MLB playoffs and that's getting rid of the short 5 game series. You play 162 games in a regular season, the least you can get in the playoffs is a true seven game series to prove your worth. In a short series often the hot team, not necessarily the better team will advance. If you went to an extra playoff team this would get even worse. A three game series (which I have heard thrown around a bit into the discussion) is an awful measure of how good a team is. Two bad games and everything you did in the previous 162 don't mean squat.
So onto the predictions, here is how I see the regular season playing out:
AL East Champs - Rays (Home Field)
AL Central Champs - Twins
AL West Champs - Rangers
AL Wild Card - Yankees
NL East Champs - Phillies
NL Central Champs - Reds (Home Field)
NL West Champs - Padres
NL Wild Card - Braves
The Rays get to coast to the finish while the Yankees play the Red Sox & Blue Jays for their final 10. I see the Rays winning out the division by a narrow margin, but like I said before the Yankees are mainly concerned with staying healthy and resting their vets, not playing an extra game in the Bronx. Out west I say the Padres hold on, they deserve the playoffs for their efforts, and catching the leader with 20 to play is harder than it seems. The final race for the NL East/WC will be won out by the Phillies, who are now healthy and ready to go, but the Reds will coast to the finish with an easy-going Astros & Brewers finale to edge out the best record in NL. Much congrats to the Reds for their vast improvement from '09.
Rays v Rangers (Rays Win 3-1)
Yankees v Twins (Yankees Win 3-2)
Reds v Braves (Braves Win 3-2)
Phillies v Padres (Phillies Win 3-0)
Aside from injuries or severe choking, I think we are going to see a Yankees/Rays ALCS. No disrespect to the Twins who have had a very strong season, but the class of the AL is found in the east. I see the same thing going on in the NL, where the Phillies will take out an exhausted Padres team, while the Braves and their strong pitching staff will surprise the top-seeded Reds.
Next Round To Be Continued....