The wild card games are in the bag for 2013. Now we can move onto the divisional series (first round) of the Major League Baseball (M.L.B.) playoffs.
American League Divisional Series (A.L.D.S.)
In the A.L., the Eastern Division Champion Boston Red Sox take on the high flying Tampa Bay Rays who had to win three straight games to get here (the final game of the regular season vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, the tie breaker against the Texas Rangers, and then the wild card game in Cleveland, and all three games on the road.) Boston went from last to first this year, after finishing in 5th place in the East at 69-93, essentially reversed this around to improve to 97-65. Boston has proved themselves all year – expect them to win the series three games to one.
The other series the Detroit Tigers head to Oakland to take on the Athletics (‘The A’s’). Detroit swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series (A.L.C.S.) last year only to be swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. Look at the Tigers to try and turn things around and make it back to the A.L.C.S. this year, but the A’s will make it interesting. Expect the series to go five games.
National League Divisional Series (N.L.D.S.)
In the N.L., the wild care Pittsburgh Pirates, in their first winning season since 1992 (which also happens to be the last year the Pirates appeared in the postseason) take on first place St. Louis Cardinals who won the World Series two years ago. Look for the Pirates to win in five games.
In the other NLDS, the Dodgers head to Atlanta to take on the Braves. The Dodgers are flying high making it to the playoffs this year. The Braves have won the N.L. East for the first time since 2005, after a fourteen year streak of winning the N.L. East (1991-2005.) Look for this series to go five games with the Dodgers winning three games to two.
So, in a nutshell my predictions are:
Boston over Tampa Bay
Detroit over Oakland
Pittsburgh over St. Louis
Los Angeles (N.L) over Altanta
Let’s see what happens.