5 Burning Questions for the MLB Post-Season

Bobby Cox will manage the final games of his career.

#5 – Can Atlanta send Bobby Cox off in style? The Braves might be the biggest underdogs in the playoffs, having lost 7 games in the last two weeks of the season, and barely edging the Padres for the Wild Card. But Cox’s men might have more left in them. A younger crew, who boast the 3rd best ERA in the NL may surprise some people. Heyward will make his first post-season appearance, but Hinske, Lee, Lowe, and Hudson are certainly not, and were brought in for this very occasion.

#4 –  Can little knowns like Cinci and Texas shock the world? Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton may be on the map, but I dare anyone to name the Reds or Rangers everyday starting 9. What people forget is that both team have combined youth with seasoned veterans, and have gotten a winning formula as a result. Vlad Guerrero and Scott Rolen were both significant contirbutors (on and off the field). So don’t sleep on Reds like Gomes, Stubbs, and Phillips; don’t forget about Young, Kinsler, and Cruz… they’ve all stepped it up this season, and hope to keep things going.

Longoria hopes to shake off an injury in time for Wednesday's Game 1

#3 – Can the Rays win it all? With the young raw core they’ve built, this will most likely be their last shot at World Series glory, with Pena, Crawford, and Soriano all out of contracts in November. But the Rays don’t rank in the top 5 in many batting categories, and have relied on  pitching, especially out of the bullpen, to get them wins. Will the magic from 2008 carry over?

Sabathia won 21 games for the Yanks this year

#2 – Can the Yanks do it on CC’s arm alone? Andy Pettite will likely silence the nay-sayers and do what he’s always done… win post-season games. But can the Yanks get one more win out of Phil Hughes, Javier Vazquez, or AJ Burnett? Want another curveball thrown into the mix? CC has to face Francisco Liriano in Game 1 of the ALDS… certainly not a gimme.

Who will win in the endless battle: Pitching or Hitting?

#1 – Will the year of the pitcher wrap up that way? Looking at some of this year’s post-season rotations, hitters may have their work cut out for them… again. It was obvious that pitcher ruled in 2010, but now that the playoffs roll around, they become that much more valuable. While most people hope for the Giants and Phillies to meet in the NLCS to showcase Lincecum, Zito, Cain, Halladay, Oswalt and Hamels, we may find some notable matchups in the American League as well… In Minnesota, right-hander Carl Pavano will try and put down the team that threw $40 million at him just 6 seasons ago. And while Nolan Ryan may not step onto the field for his beloved Rangers, a few other notable hurlers will take the mound. Chekout these match-ups in the Ray-gers series: Cliff Lee vs David Price, CJ Wilson vs Matt Garza. Even Wade Davis vs Colby Lewis is intriguing.

BONUS burning question: Will we see a snow-out in Minnesota?We all feared it, but unless the Twins make a run to the World Series, it’s unlikely. Low temperatures are only expected to fall into the mid 40s through next week.

Snow-out eh? Guess we got time for some pop, go grab em out of the ice-box.

Check back soon… Whit’s Post-Season Picks to follow on Wednesday!

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