As for the Minnesota rotation, one headed up by Francisco Liriano, depth is not much of an issue. Both Liriano and (cover your eyes Yankee fans!) Carl Pavano have had resurgent campaigns in 2010, and lesser-known guys like Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey are better than most people are aware of. The Twins might not get as many people excited about MLB playoff tickets as the Yankees do, but they’ve got the deeper rotation in my opinion. This is what gives the Twins a chance in my mind, as they’re not going to outscore the Yankees in an offensive showdown. Justin Morneau’s absence will really hurt Minnesota, but I think they’ve got a shot. Having said that, I don’t think they’ve quite got the talent to advance past the Bombers.
Prediction: New York in Five
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers: The Rays were the best team in the American League this season following a bit of a letdown campaign in 2009. This team actually looks better than the group that went to the World Series in ’08 and could be able to get the job done this season if they reach it again. But first they’ll have to deal with the Texas Rangers, a surprising team that not many people saw coming this season.
Nolan Ryan predicted they would win the division heading into the season, but not many other people saw it his way. Well, it turned out Ryan knew what he was talking about. The Rangers boast a powerful offense anchored by MVP-candidate Josh Hamilton, who has had a phenomenal season. Hamilton recently returned from a rib injury that kept him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks, so his status is one to monitor throughout this series. Cliff Lee heads up an otherwise pedestrian rotation, however, which could be their downfall.
The Rays are probably the most well-rounded club in the A.L. David Price and Matt Garza head up a solid pitching staff that is strong all the way through. Equipped with one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league, the Rays can hurt opponents in a lot of ways. They’ve also got one of the best managers in the game in Joe Madden. I don’t think the Rangers can handle the Rays at this point.
Prediction: Tampa Bay in Three