My friends, we have just ended another regular season in Major League Baseball, any my goodness, was it an all-out brawl in some spots. After a while, only the top two spots in each division had a real chance at the division pennant, and it was a definite fight to the finish in almost each one.
To make things more simpler this time around, we're only going to talk about the top teams that are going to be competing in the postseason and give brief thoughts as to who will walk away as World Champs.
After that, I'll be poking in my thoughts as to who should be awarded the MVP, ROY, and CY honors for each League. Cool enough for you? Good. LET'S GET STARTED!
2010 MLB POSTSEASON
Oh good golly, these matchups are nearly dead even. I don't care about what the Vegas odds are, so I'm not even going by that. These are my thoughts and my opinions. Deal with it.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CONTENDERS
Philadelphia Phillies (97-65) - As the beasts of the East (and the MLB), these guys have high expectations after coming back from being seven games behind the Braves in July. The "H2O" combination of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt are looking to help the team return to the Fall Classic and take back the title that they had lost last year against the Yankees.
Cincinnati Reds (91-71) - Dusty Baker's crew leads the league in numerous categories such as average, hits, home runs, and RBI. With MVP candidate Joey Votto on their side, they're looking to crush competition. One more thing--their bullpen is quite nice. Can they call upon the prowess the Big Red Machine had in the 1970's to overcome all competition?
San Francisco Giants (92-70) - For the first time since 2003, the men in orange and black have come back to play some October baseball. When you hear the the team "San Fransisco Giants," the first thing that comes to mind is their pitching staff and how it is extremely difficult to figure out. If their hitting decides to step it up and cream the competition, these guys can make a trip back to The Show.
Atlanta Braves [Wild Card] (91-71) - Chop-nation is looking to give Bobby Cox a nice going-away present: a big ring. Almost nearly collapsing at the end of the season, they proved their worth even without Chipper Jones at third base. If the bullpen and hitting staff can work together, the Braves will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
Phillies/Reds --> Phillies in 4
Braves/Giants --> Braves in 5
(Side Note: Are you serious? I don't want to relive a '93 NLCS between Philadelphia and Atlanta. I don't care if I was only 2 [Soon to be 3 a few days later], that seemed like a brutal series!)
NLCS (If Phillies/Braves) --> Phillies in 6
AMERICAN LEAGUE CONTENDERS
Tampa Bay Rays (96-66) - After senseless arguing over why their attendance amounts were so low, they have no more reason to complain. They're back in October, and their capitalization on errors and walks will make you cry for mercy. With the Tampa Bay Rays, speed is key. Then again, their pitching is too behind the likes of David Price. Why not? Their uncanny ability to get the job done is good enough to get back to the World Series and to win their first title in franchise history.
Minnesota Twins (94-68) - Repeat after me: There will be blood. It's a new year, a new stadium, and a heck of a lot more revenge. Led by ace Francisco Liriano and reigning MVP Joe Mauer, their eyes are set on the prize, and they are willing to brutalize the Yankees (the team that swept them in the ALDS last year) in the process. If they do that, Justin Morneau will be able to play in the ALCS with them. Nice little gift, I would say.
Texas Rangers (90-72) -
New York Yankees [Wild Card] (95-67) - Eh, they've been down this road so many times before. Will this one be any different? Maybe. Their batting order is as strong as ever, but their bullpen might speak differently on their end. Although they're the second best team in the League, they need to abide by the saying "united we stand, divided we fall." Can A-Rod, Jeter, Sabathia and company lead the team to it's second straight World Series title and 28th overall? We'll find out soon enough.
Rays/Rangers --> Rays in 4
Twins/Yankees --> Twins in 5
ALCS (If Rays/Twins) --> Rays in 5
World Series Prediction: [You bet I just predicted a 2008 rematch]
(BIG SIDE NOTE: A brief entry will be written about this when the time comes to see if I'm right.)
If Phillies/Rays --> Rays in 7
Now that we have that out of the way, let's get a little more personal and talk about the individual awards that will be given after all of the postseason business is said and done.
NL MVP - Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds - He earns this without a doubt. A nice burst through postseason would be a nice touch for him too. After overcoming depression and other inner demons, this guy can show you how to hit and how to gun a guy down all the way from deep right field.
NL CY YOUNG - Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies - He made a really nice transition into the National League by leading pitching in several different categories and racking up a franchise-high 21 wins with the Phils. Hey Doc Roy Toy, you're alright with me, dude.
NL ROY - Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants - I like this guy, and I like what he has to offer for the next couple of years. Sure, he didn't start the season in the majors, but did that stop Ryan Howard from getting the ROY title in '06? No. It won't do that either for "Mr. I'm So Versatile and Still a Darn Fine Catcher."
AL MVP - Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers - As a Triple Crown contender and an insane defensive outfielder, he's practically a shoe-in for this title, in my opinion. This would really be something special too, especially with the drug problem that he had a few years ago.
AL CY YOUNG - Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners - It's a shame that his real skill and stat is overshadowed and victimized by the misfortunes of the offense that needs to back him up. In a power-heavy League, his ERA is proof that he deserves some kudos and the award. I'll admit I may be disappointed if this award is given to CC Sabathia.
AL ROY - Austin Jackson, Detroit Tigers - Here's a quick guy that hits for average, and shows a lot of versatility in center field. Having Jackson as my pick is a very tough decision, because if he isn't seen as a ROY in professional eyes, this award will go to closer Neftali Feliz.
And that, my friends, is that. This year was absolutely fun to cover, and I'm already looking forward to early February when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.