Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who has the momentum?

The races will soon be decided, but how will it turn out and why?

The American League Divisional Championship will boil down to the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox and Rangers. I think that neither the Rays nor the Angles will be able to play through to the wild card spot. That leaves the above teams to battle it out for the AL pennant.

The Yankees as usual have peaked at just the right time and yet again going 14 and 7 for September. Money really does buy the experience to get to the postseason. They have gone 6-4 in their last ten and are on the way to dealing the Rays out of the wild card. The ageless, Mariano Rivera, has 44 saves and an even more impressive ERA of just .90 and a WHIP of .88. Team pitching has an ERA of 3.69 and WHIP of 1.312. Offensively they have the leading 211 home runs but only a .266 BA, which make them vulnerable.

The Tigers I mentioned last week. They have with a 15 and 5 record this month. Scherzer has gone a poor 3-4 lately and Porcello has a 4-3 record. Verlander is still hot and the closer Valverde is now at 46 saves. Leyland has added Betemet over Inge at third base, upping the offensive side considerably.

Boston is in the dumper this month with the worst record of the contenders at 5 and 16. The offence is average but the starting pitching has gone away, putting lots of pressure on a well-worn bullpen.

Texas is on a roll going 12 and 5 this month, much like Detroit, and just at the right time. Mark Napoli and Josh Hamilton are the strong offensive side at 26 and 23 home runs each, adding to the best team BA of .281. Pitching has a team WHIP of 1.252 for the best of the contenders and an ERA of 3.84

So how does this all match up? In the first rounds it will be the Yankees against the Tigers. Detroit won the season series against he Yanks this year. Detroit is cooling off. Detroit will have to be much better than their season record to pull off a series win. Brennan Boesch and Joel Zumaya are out and he Tigers could sure use them against the Yankees. For offensive starters, the Yankees are a better team. For pitching the Yankees as a whole team are, again, just a slight bit better in WHIP unless they include AJ Burnett and then they are worse. The Tigers would love that. It will go the distance and, sadly, I think the Yankees might just take it from the Tigers. As I said earlier, money buys experience, and dollar for dollar the Yankees will prevail against Tigers. The Tigers are well prepared for next year with the youngest team in the AL playoffs. The Yankees, as the oldest team, will have come the end of a great era in baseball. Wholesale changes will be in store for them next year.

Going to the season end, the Yankees have a much tougher schedule against the Rays and the Red Sox than the Tigers, who play the Indians and Royals. (I love the balanced schedule Bug Selig introduced, not).

Watching Red Sox and Rangers will not be a pretty sight. In every regard, the Red Sox are much weaker than the Rangers. The Rangers are on a tear and the Red Sox just can’t seem to catch break with their pitching. The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.14. Not good enough for the post season. The only tight battle will be when Jonathan Pabelbon and Neftali Feliz duke it out. Offensively the Red Sox have lost their series to the Rangers 4-6. With some short-term injuries and the likes of Youkilis and JD Drew being questionable, the Red Sox will have a tough time against a healthy Ranger offence.

For the end season schedule between these two Texas has the Athletics and then the Mariners and the Red Sox have the Orioles and Yanks.

For the next round it will be the Yankees and Rangers. The Rangers will prevail. And the Rangers will lose to the Phillies. (The Phillies have just lost six straight. I hope that's not the momentum they want). It's been such a good year (98-58), it’s hard not to go with the Phillies, they are a team of destiny this year. Good on Doc.

No comments: