Here's how the AL will shake out, AL East: Yankees; AL Central: Tigers; AL West: Angels. Wild cards: Rays and Rangers. Rays beat Rangers in wild-card game, Tigers take care of Rays and Angels beat Yankees. In the ALCS, the Tigers and Angels will meet with the Tigers having just enough pitching to reach the World Series.

Tigers, Angels strongest

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

There's no question that the American League is loaded, and almost as little doubt that the five 2012 playoff teams will come from a group including the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers and Angels — although the Blue Jays believe they'll make it interesting.

I'm saying Bobby Valentine's detailed style gets Boston back into October — with the Rays as the one favorite who doesn't make it.

The Tigers, who have the easiest path, will be ready for the Division Series and advance to the ALCS against Albert Pujols' Angels.

Mike Ilitch's spending will be rewarded with a trip to the World Series.