Major League Baseball schedules 162 games, but sometimes it just takes 163. Behind David Price’s complete game the Tampa Bay Rays topped Texas 5-2 to round out the field for October.
**Team I picked to win each matchup is bold and in all caps**
National League Playoffs:
Wildcard Play-in: CINCINNATI REDS at Pittsburgh Pirates (10/1–TBS)
They’ve already played 18 times this season and 6 times in the past 11 days. So why not once more with win or go home on the line?
There’s such a familiarity between the Pirates and Reds, that a one game series between them is virtually a coin-flip for me (getting my excuses out there now!)
There’s two reasons why I’m picking the Reds to win this game. One, I give a slight edge to their offense. Whether it be Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo, or Brandon Phillips. I bet one of these guys hits a home run in the game, while another has a nice three-hit night.
Second, I think the post-season inexperience of the Pirates plays a role. Yes, as an O’s fan I watched as they overcame all the nay-sayers last year and won the wildcard game over Texas, but in contrast the Pirates are playing at home tonight. PNC Park and in front of those fans makes for quite a bit of pressure to perform.
Especially with Pittsburgh fans demanding the Steelers be left across the pond for the remainder of the football season.
Divisional Round (NLDS): ST. LOUIS CARDINALS vs. Cincinnati Reds (or Pittsburgh Pirates)
The bad blood between these NL Central rivals has died down this year, but dugouts will be clear sometime by game 3. That’s a guarantee I’m comfortable with.
Cardinals are the more well-rounded team. St. Louis in 4 games.
Divisional Round (NLDS): LA DODGERS vs. Atlanta Braves
I’ve got the Dodgers winning this series in 5 games. I think the pitching match-ups will go the way many expect. Clayton Kershaw and and Zack Greinke winning the first two games for L.A.
Ultimately if it comes down to a game five, Clayton Kershaw is back out there. Let me reiterate that point, Clayton Kershaw is likely to pitch if this series goes to a game five. I’ve never actually seen him lose.
American League Playoffs:
Wildcard Play-in: TAMPA BAY RAYS at Cleveland Indians (10/2–TBS)
Both teams demonstrated why they deserved to make the playoffs by how hot they were in September. The Indians ended the regular season reeling off 10 straight wins, while the Rays were winners of 9 of their final 11.
Although Cleveland was my pre-season sleeper to make the playoffs, and I was going out on a serious limb with that prediction, I knock them for those final 10 games (wins) comings against Houston, Chicago (White Sox), and Minnesota. The Rays on the other hand had to handle their business against Baltimore and New York.
Finally, I think starter Alex Cobb performs even better than his teammate David Price did Monday night to push the Rays into October.
Divisional Round (ALDS): BOSTON RED SOX vs. Tampa Bay Rays (or Cleveland Indians)
One of the things that I think makes the Rays so difficult in these one game scenarios is the element of surprise. Boston, however, has seen these Rays pitchers all season. John Farrell has the winning formula, the algorithm to beat Tampa more times than the Rays can beat the Red Sox.
I am rooting for the Red Sox in the playoffs this year, so I hope they continue to shine like they did consistently through the regular season. Red Sox win in 3 games.
Divisional Round (ALDS): OAKLAND A’S vs. Detroit Tigers
Quietly tearing it up throughout the second half of the season, I think the Oakland A’s will surprise some people by how polished they look.
I give a slight edge to Oakland bats being better top to bottom. I also like the A’s having homefield advantage in the series. Moneyballers in 5 games.
Please and Thank You,
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