Baseball's regular season is 162 games long. Most playoff games start after 8:30 at night and stretch deep into the next morning. It all takes a whole lot of time. Me and the Wiz have decided to go in the other direction with our first-round baseball playoff preview - we are speeding things way up with our turbo guide to the first round. We were both assigned to sum up each series in one sentence...at least that's what was supposed to happen. Instead, the Wiz made his picks based on super in-depth analysis that went on forever and almost put me to sleep. In any case, keep reading to see who we picked and then make your own predictions in the comments below!
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
The Professor: The Tigers have The Ace Of The Season (Justin Verlander) and an offense that wasn’t too far behind the Yankees sluggers this season (the Yankees scored the second most runs in the Majors this year, the Tigers fourth). Pick: Tigers in 4
The Wiz: The Yankees are going to have to outslug the Tigers, which is a definite possibility. But I just can’t trust any Yankees starting pitcher besides CC Sabathia (and even Sabathia was pretty shaky in last year’s playoffs). I think Justin Verlander wins two games in this series, and the Tigers steal one more with either Doug Fister or Max Scherzer on the mound. Pick: Tiger in 5.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
The Professor: Tampa has all the momentum, but the Rangers have way more pop in their line-up, more reliable arms in their bullpen and memories of knocking off the Rays last year. Pick: Rangers in 5
The Wiz: Both teams are great defensively, both teams have pretty good starting pitching, and both teams have shaky bullpens. But the Rangers’ lineup is just miles better than Tampa’s. Throw in the fact that the Rangers have homefield advantage, and they tied for the American League’s best home record (52-29), and the defending A.L. Champs move on. Pick: Rangers in 4.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Professor: Philly has an ace to start every game of this series (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels) and the Cardinals now-banged up offense only scored .3 more runs per game than the Phillies during the regular season. Pick: Phillies in 3
The Wiz: I love how the Cards caught fire in September, but I just don’t see how the heck they (or anyone, for that matter) win three out of five games where they have to face Roy Halladay twice, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Pick: Phillies in 3
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Professor: The Brewers had the most wins at home in the Majors this year and they’ll use that home-cooking plus solid starting pitching to end the Diamondbacks magical season. Pick: Brewers in 4
The Wiz: I like the Diamondbacks, who can match the Brewers when it comes to starting pitching. But the biggest reason I’d hate to be facing the Brewers (besides Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder): Their bullpen. Milwaukee relievers led the majors with a 2.43 ERA after the All-Star break. Their top four relievers (John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito and Kameron Loe) combined for a 1.54 ERA after the Break. Power arms win in October. The Brew Crew moves on. Pick: Brewers in 5.