2012 ALDS & NLDS
Yankees in 4
One thing for sure, the Orioles will not be intimidated by the Yankees, after splitting 18 games this year, they know that they can compete with the Bronx Bombers. The Orioles were especially strong at Yankee Stadium, where they won six of nine games during the regular season. However, at the same time the Yankees won six of nine at Camden Yards, making home field almost meaningless in this series. The key to this series will be Yankees Game 1 starter CC Sabathia, who the Orioles beat twice this season. Traditionally Sabathia has given the O’s holding a career record of 16-4, with an ERA of 3.12. Andy Pettitte also has a strong career record against Baltimore, so the Orioles will have to get to these lefties if they are to have a in the series. The Yankees meanwhile cannot let Mark Reynolds continue to beat them. During the season the Orioles third baseman smacked seven home runs against the Yankees, with two multiple home run games in a September series in the Bronx. In the end the Yankees offense will be too much for the Orioles, especially if Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki stay hot, as they will get just enough pitching to advance to the ALCS in four games.
Tigers in 4
The Oakland Athletics making the playoffs is one of the best stories of the second half, as many experts had them down to be in a rebuilding year. However, with a solid pitching staff full of rookies, and the play of Yoenis Cespedes who would be the hands down Rookie of the Year if not for Mike Trout. The A’s have been spirited team playing with the enthusiasm of a Little League Team, and if they get confidence and get up they can be dangerous so starting pitching will be a key for the Tigers. The Tigers also made the playoffs with a strong surge, but they were expected to be here. The problem is they slept walk much of the first half of the season, and did not have nearly as good as season as was expected. However, they made it to October and it all starts from scratch here. I maintain if the Tigers play at their highest level they are going to win the World Series. This is a series they should win easily, as their offense is clicking with Miguel Cabrera coming off a Triple Crown year, while Prince Fielder is also heating up. Though most important is Justin Verlander was unhittable down the stretch, and Doug Fister after struggling most of the season also is pitching well. Add Max Scherzer and the fact they were here last year and it says Tigers in four.
Cardinals in 5
Something happens in October in St. Louis, maybe it is the extra beer fermenting at Anheuser Busch for Octoberfest, maybe it is the stench of St. Louis Rams football or the red leaves reflecting off the mighty Mississippi, but whatever it is the Cardinals excel in October. Once again they are the last team in the postseason and once again they are pulling off upsets after beating the Braves in the Wild Card Game in Atlanta. Now they open the NLDS at home as the defending champion playing the team with the best record in baseball they have the Washington Nationals right where they want them. The Nationals did win 98 games, but most of the team are playoff neophytes. The Cardinals not only have been there and done that, but they have the ability of finding a different hero each night, a tough task for any team in the playoffs let alone one full of young players experiencing the spotlight for the first time. The Nats do have the pitching advantage led by Gio Gonzalez as Kyle Lohse was already used by St. Louis to beat Atlanta. However, this is where shutting down Stephen Strasburg will haunt Washington. The series will go the distance, but the Nats lack of that second ace, and the Cardinals ability to win big games on the road will be the difference.
Reds in 5
Do not doubt the Giants in the playoffs, they won the World Series just two years ago, and if they get rolling they could get there again. However, one key player that needs to step it up is Tim Lincecum. If the Giants are to make another run, they need the Freak to get out of his season long funk. The fact the Giants even made the playoffs at all is stunning if you look just at Lincecum’s record as he had just an awful season. Of course the Giants got a strong season from Matt Cain, as well Madison Bumgartner. The Giants also had a solid pen despite losing Brian Wilson in April. However, their bullpen is no match for the Reds, which led by Adolis Chapman has been flat out nasty, reminding fans of their pen from 1990 the last time they won the World Series. With Johnny Cueto filling the role of an ace and a superior lineup the Reds are the clear cut favorite. Though the Giants do have a chance with the first two games at AT&T Park, the Giants will certainly need to win both games home, as the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati has been the Giants American Nightmare, with them losing seven of their last eight games on the banks of the Ohio. In the end it will go five with the Reds on top.