Which 2 teams will be in the World Series?

March 31, 2011

Red Sox and Reds

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

They're healthy. They're loaded. They're headed for a rematch of the 1975 World Series.

The Red Sox and Reds have the type of pitching that should help them outlast the competition. Both are easy picks in their divisions, even though the Red Sox finished behind the Rays and Yankees a year ago. They've added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, and get all of their 2010 casualties (including Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Josh Beckett) back at full strength.

The Reds surprised St. Louis in the NL Central race a year ago and, except for inserting Edgar Renteria for Orlando Cabrera, return intact. The biggest challenge for Dusty Baker is maintaining the energy the Reds played with a year ago. Don't be surprised if both these teams run away with their divisions. They look like the class of their leagues. All they have to do is prove it.

progers@tribune.com

Phillies and White Sox

Peter Schmuck

Baltimore Sun

It's tempting to take a flier on a highly unlikely World Series pairing.

It's even more tempting now that the big, bad Phillies are having trouble keeping a healthy team around their great starting rotation, but it's not tempting enough. The Big Four in Philly are big enough to get over the rough spots and the rest of the team will likely be back to full strength in the second half, so they're going to be in the Fall Classic. And win it.

The American League is a bit tougher to handicap, since I'm not sold on the Red Sox, so I'll go out on a bit of a limb and pick the White Sox to pound their way into the postseason and beyond. And I'll be sure to remind everyone if I'm right.

pschmuck@tribune.com

Phillies and Twins

Bill Kline

Morning Call

The Phillies are older than Stones — that's Fred and Wilma — and have more bruises than Barry Bonds' ego. But there's a little known codicil in the 2011 Pennsylvania sportswriters' constitution that compels the preseason selection of the Phillies, and their Bamm-Bamm rotation, to reach the World Series.

Once there, they will confront the Twins, who will use bounce-back years from Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan to mitigate the loss of several key players from last year's division championship team. To be sure, the Twinkies will not sniff 100 wins like the Red Sox will do, but when October's bright lights are powered up and it's time to take the stage, the Twins will put on a show better than the Stones — and that would be Mick, Keith and the boys.

wkline@tribune.com

Red Sox and Braves

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

The Red Sox are the popular pick in the AL, and for good reason. They have an enviable combination of power, speed and depth in their lineup. The Red Sox don't have an elite starting rotation or bullpen, but they have depth in both areas, and the money to correct them as necessary.

The Phillies might have a starting rotation for the ages, but that yellow caution light appears rather bright when the starting lineup and rotation each has one player under 30. The Giants have the pitching to repeat, but they aren't deep enough offensively. So we'll take the Braves as the NL entry, with an offense sparked by youngsters Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman, the NL's best catcher in Brian McCann and Chipper Jones (1.143 OPS this spring) in a renaissance season.

bshaikin@tribune.com

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