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Opening day — yes, the real opening day that happens in the United States during a time when most Americans are not asleep — is just a couple days away. We’ve posted all of our division previews (links to those below). Now here’s our prediction for the playoffs.

It’s a crapshoot – anything can happen between now and October. But what the hell. Everyone else has an opinion. We might as well too. So … enjoy.

Marshall Brad Andy
NL West Dodgers Dodgers Dodgers
NL Central Cardinals Reds Cardinals
NL East Nationals Braves Nationals
WC 1 Braves Cardinals Braves
WC 2 Giants Nationals Reds
AL West Rangers Rangers Athletics
AL Central Tigers Tigers Tigers
AL East Yankees Yankees Yankees
WC 1 Athletics Orioles Red Sox
WC 2 Rays Rays Rays
NLCS Dodgers over Nationals Reds over the Dodgers Cardinals over Dodgers
ALCS Tigers over Rangers Rangers over Yankees Yankees over Red Sox
World Series Dodgers over Tigers Reds over the Rangers Cardinals over Yankees

Preview links:

Marshall Garvey
NL East
NL Central
NL West
AL East
AL Central
AL West

Brad Beneke
NL East
NL Central
NL West
AL East
AL Central
AL West

It’s here, folks. Opening Day. Well, opening day to the extent that most American baseball fans will think of it. For purposes of enjoying this day, we’re going to ignore the two games played by Oakland and Seattle in Japan last week — games that we later found out many fans did not know were being played.

I’ve heard some people even treat this day like a national holiday, taking a vacation day from the job to sit in front of ESPN and other outlets showing games. I work from home and if I don’t get stuff done I don’t get paid, so I’ll still be working, but the television will be on in the background.

Brad Beneke has penned detailed season previews you can access via links in the table below. Also below are predictions for the playoffs from Brad, Tony and Andy. The 2012 season is now officially underway.

Brad
Andy Tony
AL East New York Yankees New York Yankees New York Yankees
AL Central Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers
AL West Los Angeles Angels Texas Rangers Texas Rangers
AL Wild Card Texas Rangers Boston Red Sox Los Angeles Angels
AL Wild Card loser Tampa Bay Rays Los Angeles Angels Toronto Blue Jays
NL East Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers St. Louis Cardinals
NL West San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants San Francisco Giants
NL Wild Card Los Angeles Dodgers Cincinnati Reds Milwaukee Brewers
NL Wild Card loser Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals Washington Nationals
AL Champion New York Yankees New York Yankees Detroit Tigers
NL Champion Cincinnati Reds Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies
World Series Champion New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia Phillies

This division is either the starting point or the finishing point for most things baseball being that it’s the home of the bitter rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. However, the Tampa Bay Rays have gone to the World Series in the last couple of years and have some amazing young talent. And the Toronto Blue Jays would be a thorn in the side of anyone outside of this division.

But being the best David doesn’t mean you’re likely to slay Goliath more than once and it hasn’t happened since Boston and New York started their spending and acquisition war. Baltimore, well, every division needs a cellar dweller and the Orioles are most likely DOA again this year. Good grief. They lost to a community college team to close spring training. Not a good sign. Continue reading

The AL Central is a difficult division to predict. The Indians have some talent, but choke. The Twins have some talent, but it’s always hurt. The White Sox have some talent, but the organization is run ass-backwards. Kansas City has a ton of young talent, but usually somewhere between drafting, the minors and the majors they find a way to fail. The Tigers have decided to spend on talent, and are everybody’s darlings, but they have massive flaws, as well. Any one of four teams could finish last. Continue reading

The American League West will get a lot more interesting next year when Texas and Houston will be in the early stages of developing an excellent rivalry. In the meantime, I’ll look at the division as it stands now for one last time – two teams competing for the division title and two teams that might be competitive in a Triple-A league.

The last time I thought the Seattle Mariners could win a division, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner were bashing balls around the Kingdome and Randy Johnson was big, tall, ugly and nasty as any pitcher that has ever thrown a ball.
Continue reading

Who would have thought that the one team in the National League East lacking any kind of relevance on the field heading into the 2012 season would be the New York Mets?

Citibank spending a ton of money on stadium naming rights and then taking a financial bailout have some fans referring to the Citi Field as Welfare Park. That and the Bernie Madoff scandal are the only things keeping the team in the New York papers, but they are hamstringing owner Fred Wilpon. Continue reading

The National League Central has gone through a massive facelift that will continue next year with the removal of the Houston Astros. It began last season with the perennial doormats in Pittsburgh showing signs of life on Mars and carried over into the winter with the beautiful bat of Albert Pujols and the massive power and girth of Prince Fielder leaving for the American League. So, after the fallout, where do the teams fall?

The Houston Astros are simply the worst team in baseball. As much as I want to bash my Minnesota Twins and their god-awful management, the Astros are even worse. Continue reading

Major League Baseball’s eastern divisions in both the American and National leagues get the bulk of the media coverage because they are on the east coast. The NL Central got a lot of attention during the offseason with the losses of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, and the addition of Theo Epstein to the hapless Cubs. The AL Central made a splash when Prince signed with his father’s old Detroit Tigers team, and the AL West landed Pujols and Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes (Oakland).

It’s the NL West that is going to steal the headlines as soon as a winning bid is announced for the Los Angeles Dodgers and they start spending to their capacity. I think the Dodgers will fully revitalize the mystique that is Dodger Blue. But it’s not going to happen in full until next year, when I think they will be back like a mutated strain of Fernando-mania!

But this is 2012. And here’s what’s going to happen this year. The San Diego Padres will bring up the rear because that’s what the Padres almost always do. Trading away Mat Latos was questionable, but the haul they received from the Reds was impressive, and should keep the Padres dealing stars and potential stars for years to come. Continue reading

As Opening Day approaches and life begins again, every team has hope – and everyone has a prediction. We at Brushbackpitch.com are no different. Here are our guesses for how the 2009 season will play out. We’ll have much, much more in the days and weeks to come.

Continue reading

Tony’s prediction for the 2008 World Series is much more entertaining than mine. He suspects that Brad Lidge implodes (again), costing Philadelphia game seven and the series causing himself to melt down for another two years of mediocre pitching.

The Phillies will be competitive enough to get their fans hopes up (again) only to instead crush them to the point where the debauchery in the stands explodes into 374 fights.

I’d be surprised if it gets quite that raucus, though I guess Philadelphia Eagles did have a jail in the basement of Veteran’s Stadium to house any fans that got more violent than booing Santa Claus.

But I do think the Tampa Bay Rays have all the momentum in the world heading into the World Series. A fantastic pitching performance by Matt Garza kept the Boston Red Sox from repeating history and staging an improbable but fantastic comeback. Knocking off the defending world champions proves just how for real the Rays are. And the Phillies will have been off for nearly a week since disposing of the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

The layoff allowed the Fightin’ Phillies to set their pitching rotations the way they like but the rests have often times proved more detriment than help to World Series combatants.

I like the Rays pitching rotation depth slightly more than I like Philly’s and I’ve become a huge fan of the mix of offensive weapons the Rays possess.

Rays in five, maybe six.

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