It’s taken 162 games for 21 teams to be eliminated from the playoffs and for 7 to have qualified. It will take an additional game for the playoff field to be complete as Detroit will visit Minnesota on Tuesday to play a single game to determine the winner of the American League’s Central Division. Minnesota played great baseball down the stretch while Detroit struggled.
For now the forecast calls for the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals to renew a World Series rivalry that stretches back nearly a century but which last took place 45 years ago in 1964.
Here’s a look at the four best of five Divisional series.
Colorado vs. Philadelphia: Defending World Series Champion Philadelphia won its third straight NL East Title with 93 wins. Colorado won the NL Wild with 92 wins, just one win less than the Phillies. Last season’s post season hero for the Phillies, Cole Hamels, starts game. Look to play UNDER Totals of 9 or higher in Philadelphia and UNDER 9½ in Colorado. That makes the Phillies a play in game one as Hamels is -125 over Jimenez with a Total of 8, a bit too low for a recommendation on the Total.
St. Louis vs. L. A. Dodgers: Both teams are Division champs with the Dodgers earning the home field by virtue of 95 wins versus the Cardinals’ 91. Carpenter is -140 vs. Wolf in Wednesday’s game one with the Total at 7. That’s just about the limit at which to back the Cardinals with Carpenter clearly the superior of the two starters. Look to back the Cardinals at -140 or less in Los Angeles or at -160 or less in St Louis. Also look towards UNDER 7 in Los Angeles and UNDER 8 in St Louis. For the series, the prediction is for St Louis to advance in no more than four games with a three game sweep quite likely if St Louis wins the first two games on the road.
L A Angels vs. Boston: This has the makings of a classic five game series as both teams have plenty of recent post season experience, are well managed and have excellent balance. The strategy is to play either team as an underdog of +120 or more in any matchup and in any scenario. Use 9 as your guide for playing Totals, going OVER Totals of 8½ or lower and UNDER Totals of 9½ or higher.
N Y Yankees vs. Detroit or Minnesota: Regardless of which team emerges from Wednesday’s play in game, the Yankees will enjoy a huge edge over either Detroit or Minnesota. So despite appearances this may not be necessarily a one sided series as both Detroit and Minnesota are well managed. Detroit has an outstanding starter in Justin Verlander and the Twins have an outstanding closer in Joe Nathan. But the Tigers are weak in the bullpen and the Twins need to get a lead to get to Nathan. There is a drop off after Sabathia (who’s had his own problems in the post season) so calling for a sweep is hazardous. Rather, look for the Yankees to win in four games, taking the first two in New York before losing game three on the road and wrapping up the series on the road in game four. The Yankees are playable at home at -200 or less. If the Yankees are up 2-0 heading to the road play either Detroit or Minnesota in game three but only as Underdogs before backing the Yankees if there is a game four at -150 or less. For Totals look to play OVER Totals of 9 or lower in any matchup.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Andy Iskoe