2012 NL & AL Wild Card Game Picks
In 2012 Major League Baseball implemented a new playoff format in each the National League and American League. The new format is as such: In each league, instead of their being the three division winners and the wildcard winner advancing to the playoffs, there is now two wild card entrants in each league. The two teams who earn a wildcard spot play each other in a sudden death, winner take all game to advance to the LDS. The winner of that game then goes on to play the team with the best record in the league in the LDS in a five game series, earning the first two games at home, followed by three on the road. I’m not a fan of the whole thing, but hey, what can you do? Anyway’s here are my picks for tonight’s games.
St.Louis Cardinals (88-74, Kyle Lohse, 16-3, 2.86 ERA) @ Atlanta Braves (94-68, Kris Medlen, 10-1, 1.57 ERA) – I honestly don’t like either of these teams. There has to be a winner though and the Braves have won 23 straight games started by Medlen as he is the hottest pitcher in baseball. The Braves have a good bullpen and a tough left-handed heavy offense that is tough to beat. The Cards throw their best pitcher from 2012 out on the mound in Kyle Lohse, who might not even be in St.Louis in 2013. By the numbers, you expect this game to go down as a very low scoring affair and I think it will. The winner of this game goes to the NLDS to face the Washington Nationals. I think Medlen is pitching way to good to lose this game, and being at home helps a lot. Chipper Jones isn’t going out this way either. The Cardinals won the World Series last year, but this year their playoff run ends in the Wildcard play-in game. Goodnight, St.Louis.
My Pick: Atlanta Braves 4 St.Louis Cardinals 2.
Baltimore Orioles (93-69, Joe Saunders, 9-13, 4.07 ERA) @ Texas Rangers (93-69, Yu Darvish, 16-9, 3.90 ERA) – The Cinderella story that is the Baltimore Orioles fell two games back of the AL East division champion New York Yankees. The winner of this game faces the Yankees in the ALDS. I’m happy to see the Orioles get back into the playoffs and have a winning season, but unfortunately I feel as if this is where it all ends. The Orioles are throwing out Joe Saunders, who had a dreadful season, and has to go up against one of the best offenses in baseball, on the road. The Rangers throw out their young rookie fireballer, Yu Darvish. They payed him big money to win games like this and I think he will. He doesn’t lack postseason experience as he played in a lot of post season games during his time in Japan. Darvish struck out 221 batters this year and really settled down as the season progressed. I think against a lackluster offense, granted they always find ways to score a lot of runs, but an offense that lacks big superstar names, Darvish pitches the Rangers to the ALDS for a date with the Yankees. No storybook ending for these proud Baltimore Orioles, maybe next year.