This is an optimist's prediction in response to Rev's fantastically written previews of the upcoming 2011 Angels season.
The Return of the Kings
After faltering on the edge of a knife in 2010, the Fellowship of the Halo will return to its former glorly in 2011. The Angels finish first in the AL West by ~5 games or less, with the winning total being between 88 and 91. The division is decided largely on pitching and injuries with the Rangers, A's and Angels all in a dead heat into September. The Angels' rotation combined with a strong bullpen bolstered by the likes of Walden, Kohn, Takahashi and Downs ends up being the difference. A much-improved outfield defense coupled with a respectable comeback by Kendrys Morales (who discovers his true identity and finally embraces his destiny) starting sometime in late-April will restore the fire in the hearts of the Fellowship. Improved baserunning by The Tenacious Dwarf (Bourjos), Izturis, Wells and others are also key.
The 2011 Playoffs will go like this:
BOS def. DET
LAA def. NYY (Wildcard)
LAA def. BOS - Each game will be a back and forth affair, but in the end, Takahashi and Downs will be relief wizards who neutralize the Red Sox's lefty-heavy lineup at cruicial moments in mid and late inning situations, preventing them from passing over the Angels to the World Series and sending them back to the shadow from whence they came. Thompson, Kohn and Walden (who should be closing by then) will finish the job. Legolas (Weaver) and Eomir (Haren - discovered riding on the fields of Arizona last year) will shine in their starts. Lackey (Grima Wormtoungue) will get lit up in his start. Pippen (Kazmir) might even have a good start here (yeah I know, but who thought a Hobbit gardener was gonna save Middle Earth?), my vision gets murky here, so it's hard to say.
MIL (Wildcard) def. SF
PHI def. CIN
MIL def. PHI - Once Greinke gets back, the Brewers will finally have a pitching staff to support their offense. Roenicke will further prove the managerial genius that resides beneath the Golden Halo. It might take 7 games, but if an offense consisting of Ross, Uribe, Renteria and Huff could handle "The Philly 4" last October, then one consisting of Braun, Fielder, Weeks and Hart ought to be able to also. Besides, their advancement is necessary to complete the story.
LAA def MIL - 1982 calls and says karma's a bitch. A crucial call will go the Angels' way causing Bud Selig (Denethor) to unilaterally adopt instant replay for the 2012 season and beyond as his final act as commish before plunging into obscurity. In the end, all will be right with the world and Aragorn (Kendrys) will reign as King and Champion of the Baseball Realm because Frodo (Roenicke) will follow his old friend Sam's (Scioscia's) advice about what to do with the Ring...the crystal ball isn't clear about how many fingers he has left though.
Summary: The rotation is legit, the OF defense is largely improved, the offense will improve just enough to be adequate and the bullpen will quickly develop into the strength it used to be, telling opponents: "YOU! SHALL NOT!! PASS!!!"