The playoffs begin

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The MLB season, is over, and the playoffs begin, and all the usual suspects are rounded up, with New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Anaheim, St. Louis and Philadelphia all in the playoffs once again.

We'll start our look at the playoffs in the National League. First the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Divisional Series. This series looks to be a good one, with the always good Cards and the Dodgers, which have been struggling of late, started to show signs of life last week in a series against the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers looked sluggish in the last month, but came back to life at the end of the season. Manny Ramirez was in a slump for a good part of the second half of the season, following his 50-game suspension, but started swinging the bat again, and coming up big for the Dodgers. In a game against the Rockies, with runners on second and third, Ramirez came through with a big two-run RBI, which sparked the Dodgers onto a 5-0 win. Ramirez will be key for LA in their series against St. Louis.

The Cards are always a tough team, and provide a tough challenge for LA. St. Louis is coming into the series also riding a bit of a slump, but with the always lethal Albert Pujols on the team, they can easily flip the switch and start scoring runs. Pujols is one of the most dangerous batters in the MLB. The problem for St. Louis isn't in run scoring, but in pitching and defense.

In a recent game against the Milwaukee Brewers, they gave up a 6-0 lead, and ultimately lost 12-6, with the combination of the Cardinals poor pitching, and the Dodgers bats coming alive at the right time, I expect to see the Dodgers win a long series. The series began on Oct 7, but due to deadlines, we do not have the results of that game.

In the other ALDS series the resurgent Rockies face off against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Rockies caught fire at the end of the season. On June 3, they were 15 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, and entered last week's series against LA with a chance of winning the division. Colorado has been led by great hitting, and good defense, especially from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

The Phillies are coming into the playoffs with a hole in their bullpen. They were hit by a wave of injuries, and are going to without reliever J.C. Romero. I am picking the Rockies to win this series, with the hot bat of Tulowitzki, and the struggling pitching of Philadelphia, and the fact that defending a title is one of the hardest things in sports.

In the American League, the New York Yankees, will host the Minnesota Twins. It's safe to say the Yankees will most likely win the series. They finished the year with the best record in the AL, and are looking as dangerous as ever.

In the other series the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will match up against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox are starting to get older, and have shown some signs of slowing down this season. But they are still a strong team, and with new acquisition Jason Bay continuing to come up big for the Sox in the clutch they're looking good going into the post season.

The Angles are coming in to the playoffs red hot, and manager Mike Scioscia said that this is the deepest lineup that he has ever had going into the playoffs. LAA are looking great and with the return of Vladimir Guerrero they will be a tough team to beat. But you can't write off the Red Sox in the post season, with so much talent, and experience on that team, they'll dig deep and eke out a series victory over the Angels.

These are my picks for the first round of the playoffs. As always the playoffs promise to be exciting so stay tuned.

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