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Baseball Season is back

March 30, 2011 - Seth Staskey
Despite there still being some snow flurries flying around, Major League Baseball returns this week. And, we couldn't be happier.

Last year, I did this blog and made some predictions and most didn't work out too well for me, but I didn't let it discourage me and have decided to bring them back for the 2011 season.

American League I think there's all kind of balance in the league. Many teams -- more than Boston and New York -- went out and made off-season moves. I was impressed with what the Orioles did and despite losing several key pieces, I think Tampa Bay will still be solid. I think some of the races could come down well into September before they're resolved.

My predictions for the playoffs are: AL East -- Boston AL Central -- Detroit AL West -- Texas AL Wildcard -- New York

ALCS -- New York vs. Boston

I think the Yankees and Red Sox will meet in the ALCS. This is the identical pick I made last season and obviously that didn't work out well for me this year. Both teams have the offense, but both teams will have to have their pitching stay healthy and get as much as they possibly can from their aces. I think the ultimate X factor for the Yankees is Phil Hughes. I think A.J. Burnett will bounce back and have a solid year and C.C. Sabathia will be himself. Hughes was strong for the first four months of the season, but he faded in the postseason. He'll have to be the solid #2 or #3 that the Yankees need.

As for Boston, the ultimate X factor of Josh Beckett. When healthy this guy is a bulldog on the mound. He's a proven big-game pitcher with title rings. He's battled health problems and begins the season as one of the back end of the rotation guys. Something tells me that if the Red Sox are to win the World Series or the A.L. pennant, Beckett will have to be more than a back of the rotation guy.

The National League is also interesting. The defending World Series champion, Giants, aren't being talked about much as a favorite. Everyone's talking about the Phillies and their loaded starting rotation. And rightfully so since the Phillies have Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt, which are an absolutely lethal top four and by far the best in baseball. I see some holes in their offense especially with Chase Utley being banged up. Jimmy Rollins has shown the last few years that he's no spring chicken and the Phils have questions in the back end of their bullpen.

I think the Brewers have the makings of a solid club is Zach Greinke stays healthy and Prince Fielder doesn't spend too much time worrying about his next contract. The Diamondbacks will be improved and I think the Cubs will be better, but with them pitching is the question and whether or not the volatile Carlos Zambrano can pitch like the ace he's paid to be and keep his emotions under wraps. Oh by the way, the Reds are the defending division champ and no one is giving them any love during spring.

Don't sleep on the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have a new skipper after Bobby Cox retired and they made what I think was the most important move of a position player when they acquired Dan Uggla from division rival Florida.

Anyway, enough rambling about the N.L. and onto the predictions: NL East -- Phillies NL Central -- Cardinals NL West -- Giants Wildcard -- Atlanta

NLCS -- Atlanta vs. Phillies

World Series: New York vs. Atlanta...New York in 6 games.

Individual awards: NL MVP -- Buster Posey, San Francisco AL MVP -- Joe Mauer, Minnesota NL Cy Young -- Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado AL Cy Young -- C.C. Sabathia, New York

Let the games begin!


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