At the end of the month, the number of Major League Baseball teams still competing will drop from 60 to 10 as we reach the 2013 MLB Playoffs. To make this cut, the team with the best record in each division will automatically qualify for the playoffs, along with those six teams the top two teams who didn’t win their division will also make it to September and have a chance to compete for the World Series Title. Who will these 10 teams be? Here’s my predictions:
NL East: Atlanta Braves This was a very easy, and obvious pick. With a record of 85-56 going in to play today, the Braves are one of the best teams in the entire league, and if they stay hot they may be competing for a World Series title in October. With star players like Chris Johnson at third base who is hitting a whopping .332. and Freddie Freeman across the diamond at first base, as he is hitting a solid .307. On the other side of the ball, the NL East leaders have four different pitchers with at least 10 wins, and three with an Earned Run Average under 3.50
NL Central St. Louis Cardinals Unlike the NL East pick, this one wasn’t so easy. As you can tell, I think the Cardinals will manage to outlast both the Pirates, who are a half of a game back, and the Reds who sit a game behind the Pirates with their record of 82-60. With four starters hitting over .300, and key players like Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina the Cardinals are poised to be able to make a playoff run.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers This was another pretty easy pick. With a record of 83-58, the Dodgers have began to Run-Away with the National League West as they sit 11 games in front of the second place Diamondbacks. With players such as rising star Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers might be able to hold their own for a little while even though I don’t think they would beat teams like Pittsburgh or Atlanta in a playoff series. However, with three players with at least 13 wins, they could compete in the first round if they were to get a team like Cincinnati.
NL Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds I think this years playoffs is going to be packed with NL Central teams as there will likely be three of them making an appearance. With the Reds being eight games in front of Arizona, it is unlikely anyone else will even come close to these two teams by the end of the season. With key players like Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez for the Pirates, and then Joey Votto, Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips for the Reds, both teams are very respectable but I don’t see the Reds going anywhere as I believe the Pirates will advance out of the Wild Card round.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
With a record of 87-57, it is unlikely that anyone will catch Boston in the American League East as they currently sit 8.5 games in front of Tampa Bay in the division standings. With key players like David Ortiz, Daniel Nava, and Shane Victorino leading the way, it could be a very successful postseason for Boston as they have a real chance to be competing in the World Series in October.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
Just like last year, I think the Tigers win the Central. With a record of 82-60, they sit 5.5 games in front of Cleveland going in to today. With great players in Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Torii Hunter matched with excellent pitching in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander the Tigers have some potential. I don’t think they have what it takes to run the table, but they still might surprise some people.
AL West: Oakland Athletics
This division might be the most interesting of them all as it might go down to the wire and we may not know the outcome until after game 162 has been played. In the end, I don’t think Texas has what it takes to catch Oakland. With the Athletics getting a taste of the postseason last year, I think they will come into this years playoffs hungry for more and may be able to even run the table if they can pull off some upsets. With players like Coco Crisp, Yoenis Céspedes, Grant Balfour and Bartolo Colon, the A’s definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly.
AL Wild Card: Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles
Like the AL West Division, the Wild Card is likely going to go down to the wire. With teams like the Rangers, Yankees Orioles, Rays and Indians in the running for those two spots, the end of the season will be interesting. In the end, I think Baltimore takes the second spot as Texas stays comfortable at the top.
With big time players like Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado the Orioles might just be a team to be reckoned with as the end of the season approaches and they are one game out of a playoff spot. On the other hand, Texas will get Nelson Cruz back to go along with star pitcher Yu Darvish, so they shouldn’t be overlooked either. When it’s all said and done, I think the Orioles will beat the Rangers in the Wild Card round and move move on to the division series.