In my view, Evan Longoria could end up being the MVP of the entire playoffs – with his penchant for being clutch in the last games of years. I am predicting the Tampa Bay Rays are going to win the World Series versus the LA Dodgers, iIf Wil Myers and Ben Zobrist help bashing the ball around, then this team is scary. Also picking up proven playoff performer Delmon Young (yes that guy) (HR’d last night – and is .266/.328/.887 – with 9 HRs and 16 RBI In 109 AB) was also a good move by the Rays brass. If these guys hit, the Pitching should do enough.
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):
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Okay, now that the Wild Card Games are over, I am 2 – 1 this week in predicting the outcomes of games. I had both Rays wins and lost with the Reds.
For those that have been reading my gambling pick posts, will also see that I have been discussing some of the odds posted for the playoffs. Check out those here.
I am not going with the masses this year, however I am picking 2 favorites and 2 underdogs in the 1st Round.
Really, I think the matchups are a lot more even than even some of the biggest betting industry odds are suggesting.
I may have also taken the Athletics all the way to the World Series if Cespedes wasn’t hampered by his injured Right Shoulder.
Yoenis Cespedes HR Derby Mashing
Tampa Bay Rays over the Boston Red Sox in 5 Games
The Rays have never been as healthy all year as they are now. I think the layoff is going to cost the Boston Red Sox mightily. I think the Red Sox have great pitching and clutch hitters, however the Tampa Bay matchup in the 1st Round is the worst timing for the Beantowners. Clay Buchholz is also not 100% healthy. Jake Peavy is not really playoff tested – and what will John Lackey do? It should go the distance. Boston owned the better season record with TB at 12 – 7, however this Rays team is way better with Wil Myers on it (53 – 36 (.596) with him – and 40 – 35 without him (.533)), and all of the Pitchers. The Bullpen advantage has to go to Boston, having said that, Uehara has a 19.20 ERA in 4 career Post Season Appearances. Joe Maddon is a decisive winner over John Farrell for the Mangers. If this were a 7 Game Series, I would have probably given the edge to Boston.
Oakland Athletics over the Detroit Tigers in 5 Games
Bob Melvin’s club is much better this time around, than last year when the upstart A’s took Detroit to the 5th game of the ALDS. They have Bartolo Colon this time, Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson, plus are another year older. The Miguel Cabrera nagging injury will be the real difference. Justin Verlander not pitching Game #1 is a mistake. Max Scherzer had a great season, yet is he ready to be the top guy? Can the additions of Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter make up for Miggy not playing at 100%? The Bullpen’s could very well decide this series, and while the Tigers relief core is improved, I am giving the A’s the edge. Detroit’s starters have a big edge, as does their collective offense. Playing 3 Games at o.co Coliseum will be the break Oakland needs to advance to the ALCS for the 1st time since 2006.
Los Angeles over the Atlanta Braves in 4 Games
I believe this will be Clayton Kershaw’s coming out party. The guy is filthy dominant and with Zack Greinke added to the 2nd slot – and Hyung-Jin Ryu to the 3rd, I don’t see the Braves being able to match them in starting pitching. The Braves need someone to carry the club – that is other wordly. Maybe a Jason Heyward wharfing into a Rickey Henderson like player, or Evan Gattis pulling a 2011 Mike Napoli – like performance. Ramirez and Puig should help provide enough offense. I could see the Dodgers riding on the arms of Kershaw and Greinke much like the 2001 DBacks did with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They are the best 1 – 2 punch in the playoffs.
St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 4 Games
Too much playoff experience on the side of the Red Birds, plus the Bucs already having to use Francisco Liriano (AKA Cards killer) for the Wild Card will be the factor in St. Louis taking this series. All of the Cardinals players are good on offense, and they know what it takes in the playoffs. The Bucs should be competitive, but will likely lose the Pitching battle. Having to throw A.J. Burnett on the road for tonight’s game is hard considering the guy is awesome at PNC Park, where he is not so great on the road. Unless Justin Morneau and Andrew McCutchen go mental in this series, it will be St. Louis advancing again. The Cardinals are 5 – 1 in their last 6 playoff series. Also when Pittsburgh beat the Cards 4 out of 5 earlier this year, it was when Yadier Molina was on the shelf.
Tampa Bay Rays over the Oakland Athletics in 7 Games
This will be the Moneyball Series that will prove to the rest of the Major Leagues once and for all, who is better at running their teams on a shoestring budget. In the end, I just think the Rays pitching will silence the bats of the Athletics. I also think Oakland not having Cespedes at 100% will finally catch up to them,
Los Angeles Dodgers in 6 Games Over the St. Louis Cardinals
The Dodgers and Cardinals would be an incredible NLCS matchup. I personally think the Starting Pitching Depth of LA will be the biggest advantage. A lot of the Cardinals chuckers are so young, that the long season has to catch up to them sooner or later. Even the Dodgers Bullpen may be a little more sturdy than the St. Louis club.
Tampa Bay Over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 Games
I think the World Series between the Rays and Dodgers is a perfect scenario for the MLB. A true David and Goliath in terms of total team payrolls contrast. The Rays will win because of home field advantage – in a heavy duel of awesome pitching talent. This would be unique as weather would likely not figure into the Series. I think either Hanley Ramirez will tweak his back, or Yasiel Puig will get to overzealous on a play and this could wind up being the ultimate difference. The worst part about the Rays winning the WS, is that baseball will think nothing is wrong with the leagues current Salary Structure. Unfortunately soon after, look for the Rays to trade Price in the offseason as well, as they can’t afford him – and field a similar talented club if they maintain a $60 – $65 MIL Payroll in 2014.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners. ***
***Chuck Booth – Lead Baseball Analysr/Website Owner and author of the Fastest 30 Ballgames:
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