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Playoff predictions and a contest update

All right, since we're already under way, let's just throw 'em out there:

AL: Yankees over Detroit in 4. Texas over Tampa Bay in 5. Texas over Yankees in 6.

True, you don't want to face Justin Verlander in a 5-game series, and you could argue that the last time these two clubs met in the playoffs - the 2006 ALDS - began as far more of a mismatch, to the Yankees' favor, on paper. And we all know how that wound up.

But...if these Yankees still have questions about their starting rotation (and they do), I think the rest of their club can cover up quite capably against these Tigers. Detroit is a fun team, because of stars like Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, but it isn't deep, and it doesn't play good defense.

As much as we all love the Rays story and their pitching, their lack of offense is going to make it difficult for them to go far in this postseason. Especially when they're playing a team as complete as the Rangers.  I said Texas in 5 as a tribute to the Rays' starting rotation.

And moving forward to the ALCS, man oh man is Texas good. Good starting rotation, good bullpen, good lineup, good bench, pretty good defense. That's why I see the Rangers outlasting the Yankees in the semifinals for the second straight year.

NL: Philadelphia over St. Louis in 4. Arizona over Milwaukee in 5. Philadelphia over Arizona in 5.

No matter what angle I try to use in looking at the NL, I can't get out of the way of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. I see no good reason why, behind this trio, the Phillies can't skate into their third Fall Classic in four years.

Well, no good reason besides the randomness of a small sample size.

Arizona over Milwaukee? What the hell. The Diamondbacks already have made it this far. I've got no logical reason for that one, other than that maybe Kirk Gibson will threaten to beat up his players if they don't at least advance to the first round..

World Series: Philadelphia over Texas in 6. Again: Halladay (my World Series MVP), Lee and Hamels. You can't top that. They don't have the powehouse offense they once did, and there's some concern that Charlie Manuel wore down some of the relievers during the regular season, but look: Everyone has bad stuff.

I'll roll the dice with the Phillies' bad stuff, because I like their good stuff.

I'll also go with the Phillies because I predicted them to win the World Series in our preseason predictions contest. Who did I forecast to represent the American League in the World Series? That isn't relevant.

What is relevant, though, is that if I were competing in this contest, I'd be tied for last place, with seven points. Yee-eesh.

Here are your contest standings at the conclusion of the regular season. We'll update following each playoff round:

1) Poppy: 14; 2) (tie) RichieG and JE, 12; 4) (tie) Fake Ken Davidoff and Gary M., 10; 6) (tie) Bob Tufts, Expariate Mets Fan, Islander505: Kev M, LB Clipper and WhyNot, 9; 12) (tie) Pancakes188, Dennis and Sandy, 8; 15) (tie) Harry LD and The Goldman, 7.



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