MLB Playoff predictions from the guy who said the Red Sox would win the World Series

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (L) and catcher Carlos Ruiz celebrate after Halladay’s no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the MLB National League Division Series baseball playoffs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

My 2011 MLB season predictions were a little off this year.

I said the A’s would win the AL West and they actually finished 22 games out of first.

I said the White Sox would win the AL Central and they just traded their manager to another team, which sums up how well they did this year.

I said the Giants would repeat as National League champions and in doing so I cursed Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Freddy Sanchez and the 900 other players they placed on the DL this season.

I had the Braves winning the NL Wild Card and we all know how that turned out. Yiiiiiikes.

While I did have the Phillies winning the NL East and the Yankees making the postseason as the AL Wild Card, those were gimmies. My only claim to fame was predicting the Brewers to win the NL Central, although when you have the Red Sox winning the World Series and they don’t even make the postseason you have no right to brag about anything.

So if you’re offended by my postseason predictions below, don’t be. Chances are I’ll be wrong anyway.

ALDS: Yankees over Tigers.
I don’t trust the Yankees’ pitching but I trust it more than I trust Doug Fister. Justin Verlander was the best pitcher in the American League this season but he’s had a knack for coming up short on the road throughout the years. Knowing the Yankees they’ll be down in every game of this series and figure out some way to advance. Derek Jeter will be 16-for-18 with 11 doubles and one game-winning home run or something ridiculous.

NLDS: Phillies over Cardinals.
The Phillies did the Cardinals a favor by beating Atlanta but if I were them, I would have wanted the downtrodden Braves to advance. That team would have just been happy to reach the postseason after a miserable September. Nevertheless, the Phillies’ pitching will dominate the hot-and-cold St. Louis lineup and the Cardinals’ pitching will fail them in Philadelphia. They’ve got Edwin Jackson slated to start Game 2 in that bandbox the Phillies’ call a stadium, which should work out well considering he’s a fly ball pitcher. (Read: sarcasm.)

ALDS: Rangers over Rays
I love the Rays and I would rather see a small market team like them reach the postseason in dramatic fashion than an underachieving Boston club. But Texas’ starting rotation is deep and was the first AL team since 1977 to have five pitchers with 13 or more victories. That’s an amazing stat when you consider Cliff Lee is no longer a part of the rotation. On the other side, the Rays will throw two rookies (Jeremy Hellickson and Michael Moore) and a guy in David Price who always seems to come up short in big games. I don’t like this matchup for the feel-good Rays, although Joe Maddon deserves to be the AL Manager of the Year with the work he did in Tampa this season. The guy has done great things despite being handcuffed by a cheap front office.

NLDS: Diamondbacks over Brewers
I get the impression that everyone believes the D-Backs are just happy to be here. But let me tell you something: This team does all the little things right. They pitch well, they steal bases, they play good defense and they get just enough offense to win ballgames. The Brewers have more overall talent but I like the NL West to reach the NLCS again this year.

ALCS: Rangers over Yankees
Again, I just don’t trust New York’s rotation. The Yankees relied on Sabathia and a three-man rotation en route to their last World Series title in 2009 but CC is running out of gas this time around. I know Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have good numbers but toss in A.J. Burnett and this rotation seems awfully combustible to me. Without Lee, I thought Texas wouldn’t even make the playoffs. But I’ve seen the error of my ways and like the Rangers to repeat in the American League.

NLCS: Phillies over Diamondbacks
While I do like Arizona’s chances of advancing past the first round I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of last season when Philadelphia’s bats fall silent in the NLCS. The Diamondbacks’ pitching is good but the Giants’ arms were special last October. Plus, I don’t see how the Phils don’t make the World Series with the rotation they have. It’s just too good. Bonus for Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee: No Cody Ross this year.

World Series: Phillies over Rangers
Yeah, I’m picking the favorite: what of it? Pitching, pitching, pitching…both of these teams have the starting rotation s to reach the Fall Classic and in the end, I see Texas coming up short again. I really like what the Phillies did at the trade deadline in acquiring Hunter Pence. To think Giants’ GM Brian Sabean gave away one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for a 34-year-old rental in Carlos Beltran when he maybe could have had a 28-year-old Pence for much less is just absurd. (Not to mention a 28-year-old Pence who is under team control.) Phils in six.

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