Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels
I don't know where to begin with this series because defending champion, Boston, has history of defeating the Angels in the Divisional series in 2004 and 2007 though these teams appear to be in different situations. The Angels finished the season as the best team in the American League and did it with a solid lineup from top to bottom and great starting pitching. The Red Sox have won two championships with teams built on that premises, which is why I say that the winner of this series will be World Series champion in 2008. I said Boston back in July and I am going to have to stick with that choice here. Either way, this is going to be a great set of games and probably the best match-up in the first-round of the playoffs.
Pick: Boston in 5
Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Oh the satisfaction that it gives me to write Tampa Bay Rays in a divisional series preview. The 11 year wait for postseason play is over for the Rays, winners of the American League East. I don't think that the winning is over for the Rays. They won the East, where four teams were viable enough to take the NL West crown and the Yankees would have been AL Central champions, without a play-in game. The bottom line here is that the Rays were winners of the deepest division in baseball, so respect that. They excel in pitching and clutch hitting, which is the formula for playoff success. Also, they are getting healthy at the right time with Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria coming back to their lineup within the last two weeks of the season. This series may be the most one-sided because the White Sox energy has got to be running low and they have the worst overall team of the 8 playoff teams, while the Rays are rested and ready to continue their miracle story.
Pick: Rays Sweep!