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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

2010 MLB Playoff Preview

(Courtesy of Wiki Commons)

The time is here: Playoff baseball in October. We no longer have our box scores clogged with a Royals-Orioles game.  


Here’s a rundown of the teams that made the playoffs.


American League:


New York Yankees: The Yanks have enough hitting to hide an inconsistent rotation and a bullpen that, for the first time in 10 years, doesn’t look invincible with Mariano Rivera at age 40, who’s reverting to human form. Robinson Cano may win the MVP and carry a great team with three superstars who haven’t put up their usual numbers in the ban box that is Yankee Stadium. That said, the Yankees will pummel teams on their way to the American League Championship Series.


Tampa Bay Rays: Outfielder Carl Crawford is shining in his free-agency audition for the Rays by hitting over .300 with 15-plus home runs from the leadoff spot and closing in on 50 steals for the third straight year. With third-year veteran Evan Longoria, the Rays should go deep in the playoffs, winning the American League pennant. They have a lights-out closer in Rafael Soriano and a strong starting pitcher in David Price.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins missed Justin Mourneau’s bat all season, but not enough to fall short of the playoffs. Joe Mauer came back to earth after last year’s MVP campaign, although it’s hard to tell. He’s hitting .330 compared to the .365 average last year.


The Twins were hopeful that Mourneau would be back for the first round, but he’s been ruled out for the entire postseason, which means they will have to rely on their bullpen, featuring former closer Brian Fuentes and current one Matt Capps. They will get beat, however, in four by the heavily favored Yankees.


Texas Rangers: Amid mass amounts of debt the Texas Rangers have found themselves in the playoffs as the division champions in the weak AL West. In true Rangers fashion they can mash. Josh Hamilton will have the most watched-over ribs in all of America, especially as a guy who considers getting off the ground as part of his follow through on any play. With the resurgence of Vladimir Guerrero, the Rangers could have an interesting first round.


While they can go toe-for-toe in a home run derby with any team, what they’ll need is timely pitching from C.J. Wilson. Wilson made six career starts before this season. I’m guessing he won’t come through. Exit Rangers.


National League:


Philadelphia Phillies: The only thing stopping the Phillies from the NL pennant is the San Francisco Giants. That being said, even with the Giants’ stellar  pitching staff, their anemic offense will falter. The Phillies’ offense is great. Chase Utley is the core of that offense regardless of what Ryan Howard supporters think. Utley has the best left-handed swing in the game and he has no holes.


The pitching is really good  until you get to the inconsistent bullpen. Philadelphia’s rotation has become one to rival other great trios; think Hudson, Mulder and Zito, or better yet, Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz during the 1990’s. As Phillies fans know, that lineup is enough to compensate. As long as the pen is average the Phillies should dominate all the way to a World Series title.


Cincinnati Reds: The Reds made their way to the top of the division mostly because of the St. Louis Cardinals’ disappointing season. But the Reds and manager Dusty Baker should take a good look at October baseball because they won’t be enjoying it for too long.


There’s not enough pitching after the mediocre Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. Their hitting will be handcuffed by the Phillies, Giants, and Braves’ rotations. Joey Votto should win the MVP and Jay Bruce is a solid lefty, but as with other teams with left-handed specialty guys, they’ll have to submit to great pitching in what is considered the year of the pitcher.


Atlanta Braves: The Braves have a pair of nasty lefties in the bullpen with Jonny Venters and closer Billy Wagner. While Wagner may not have the circa 2003 stuff that helped him dominate, he has comparable numbers this season. Venters is a rare lefty sinker-baller who has been crucial as a setup man.


The Braves’ rotation is fairly weak after veterans Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson. Right-fielder Jason Heyward, the rookie sensation, has been a huge asset to the Braves along with catcher Brian McCann. They’re two lefties that may have problems with late-inning specialty guys like the Giants’ Javier Lopez and the Reds’ Arthur Rhodes should they move past the NLDS. Just like the Rookie of the Year award, the Giants and Buster Posey should take this one from the Braves.


San Francisco Giants: The Giants had one of the best pitching staffs in September from staff ace Tim Lincecum to all-star closer Brian Wilson. Their problem is their hitting. While Aubrey Huff has been a pleasant surprise this season, he has no playoff experience. Buster Posey has carried this team since being promoted from Triple-A Fresno, but to put so much on the shoulders of a rookie in his first playoff experience will prove to be crucial.


If Posey can handle it, the Giants will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. If not,  San Francisco will be looking to see how Mike Singletary handles the 49ers with an early playoff exit.


Contact Gerardo Recinos at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Gerardo Recinos, Sports editor
Staff member and sports editor.

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2010 MLB Playoff Preview