Red Sox (95-67)- The Red Sox finished miles ahead in the AL wild card race, but how will the Red Sox fare with a new look to their starting rotation? Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz will be the starting three. Beckett is familiar with pitching in the playoffs but has usually been the ace. With some late season troubles that have inspired a lot of discussion about him tipping pitches, Lester has been given the number one nod.
Angels (97-65)- Since 2003, the Red Sox have had the Angels’ post-season number. During the post season in the past three years, the Angels have won a total of one game, losing every series. That said, don’t be fooled–the Angels are a completely different team this year with a drastic improvement on offense, finishing second in the majors for total runs scored.
Yankees (103-59)- The Yankees hold the best record in baseball. The Yankees should hold their breath over the Red Sox-Angels series and not waste their attention on the Twins. If anybody is going to beat the Yankees, it will be the Angels. The Angels have consistently embarrassed the Yankees all season. With all the off-season money that was thrown around and the Yankees’ regular season record, anything less than a ring is going to be viewed as a failure.
Twins (87-76)- It is not always about being the best team–sometimes it is about being the hottest team. After just sneaking into the playoffs, the Twins have won the last 17 of 21 games, including coming back from being an unprecedented three games behind with only four games left.
Dodgers (95-67)- The Dodgers finished the regular season with the best record in the NL. With a more-than-decent pitching staff, the Dodgers look to reignite their offense. The Dodgers are a well-balanced baseball team that understands how to win games.
Cardinals (91-71)- The Cardinals have the most-feared hitter in baseball, as well as the clear front runner for the MVP award, in Albert Pujols. Matt Holliday has also been giving the team a big boost, proving to be one of the best mid-season pickups of the year.
Phillies (93-69)- The Phillies have easily the best offense, one through nine, in the National League. However, a lot of questions plague the Phillies’ pitching staff. The biggest concern is the bullpen. With no real closer in sight, the Phillies roll the dice every time the starting pitcher leaves the game. The Phillies have enough depth at starting pitching to be fine in a seven-game series but, without a true ace, a shorter series could be problematic.
Rockies (92-70)- Slightly underrated this year, the Rockies have not gotten much attention. They have a solid rotation with an acceptable offense. Like most Colorado teams, the Rockies play very well at home but need to steal at least one game away to be a contender.