2012 Major League Baseball Playoff Preview

We’ve reached October after a thrilling
regular season, and now will bear witness to baseball’s new 10-team
playoff format, beginning with two one-game Wild Card playoff games
leading into the Division Series. Here is a look now at those games
and the series to follow:

Wild Card Games

Baltimore at Texas

The surging
Orioles have not announced a starter to take on the free-falling
Rangers, but Texas has the big edge in experience and talent here. Yu
Darvish has the ace-like stuff to take over the game, and Josh
Hamilton has tormented Orioles pitching in the past. Texas should
take this one with ease. Rangers.

St. Louis at

The defending
champs may not have been if not for a colossal Atlanta collapse a
year ago. This year, Atlanta is out to prove they belong in the
postseason party. Pitching is the name of the game, and Kris Medlen
has been out of this world. Kyle Lohse has never won a postseason
game, going 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA. That doesn’t bode well for St.
Louis, who also has some question marks in its bullpen. Braves

Division Series

San Francisco vs

The 2010 champs
look strong on paper and with two games at home to start the series,
could be in business. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are better than
anything Cincinnati has to offer, and a 2-0 lead could tip the scales
heading back to Great American Ballpark. San Francisco should have
just enough offense to get by, especially if they hold Joey Votto at
bay. Giants in 4

Atlanta vs

The Nats have an
incredibly deep rotation, which is why they believe their decision to
shut down Stephen Strasburg was the right one. That depth could
challenge the Braves, who have had to get by this season without one
of their top guns in Brandon Beachy. The Nats lineup has been
strengthed with the healthy returns of Michael Morse and Jayson Werth
and the only real question mark is their bullpen. They should have
enough to get by in a short series, but it won’t be easy. Nationals
in 5

Oakland vs Detroit

No one on the
planet is hotter than the A’s right now, but the Tigers have been
surging in the second half as they did last year, and with last
year’s Cy Young/MVP and this year’s Triple Crown winner, they won’t
be an easy out. The rotation has depth with the addition of Anibal
Sanchez, and Oakland’s young starters could be in over their head in
their first playoff series. The experience factor bodes well for
Detroit, as does playing the first two games at Comerica Park. Tigers
in 4

Texas vs New York

A battle royale,
if you will. Two AL heavyweights, each featuring top-notch offenses,
solid if not spectacular rotations, and dependable bullpens. This is
a series that could easily go the distance, but the momentum, and
history, says the Yankees will find a way. New York has been much
better of late in the clutch, something that hampered them for much
of this season. With CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte all
in a groove, the Yankees will atone for last year’s early exit.
Yankees in 4

World Series prediction


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