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Griffith: Baseball post season predictions

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The 2013 regular season ended with a bang! While the playoff picture was essentially set, there were two races of vital importance that finished yesterday. The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves battled until the last day of the season to determine which team would have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

With the Braves 5-4 loss to Philadelphia and the Cardinals fifth straight win on Saturday, the Cardinals took a one-game lead for the best record in the National League. On Sunday, a Cardinals loss and Braves win would mean the Braves would win home field advantage with the best record in the NL. The Braves did their part by thumping the Phillies 12-5, but the Cardinals wouldn't relent.

The Cardinals were playing their lowly rival, the Chicago Cubs. The Cards destiny was in their own hands and, even while resting the big bats of Matt Holliday, David Freese, and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals were able to string together key hits to win the game, sweep the series and tie the Boston Red Sox for the best record in all of baseball.

In the American League, there was a potential for a three way tie for the two Wild Card spots. If Cleveland was to lose, and both the Rangers and the Rays won, we would have seen the first-ever, round-robin of games 163 and 164 to determine playoff positioning. The Indians, however, would have none of that, so they did what they've been doing all September by winning their 10th straight game and securing the top Wild Card spot.

The Rays won too, which meant they needed a Rangers loss to punch their ticket, but the Rangers, who had been faltering two weeks ago, pounced on the Angels to win their seventh in a row. These two teams met Monday night for game 163 to determine the second Wild Card. The Rays prevailed and will go to Cleveland on Wednesday for their second one-and-done game.

Let's take a look at the matchups, and see how good I am at picking the winners.

NL Wild Card game

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Oct. 1: Pittsburgh just swept Cincinnati the final three games of the year, extending Cincy's losing streak to five games. Johnny Cueto will face off against Francisco Liriano. The Pirates have much more to lose in this game, as this season has reinvigorated their lackluster fan base. If the Pirates lose, they will go down as the greatest disappointment of the season.

My gut tells me this is an easy win for Pittsburgh, but the analytical side of me looks at this as basically a four game series now (since they just played three to end the season), and I know how hard it is to sweep a four game series.

Pick to win: Cincinnati

NL Division Series

Atlanta vs. Los Angeles: Atlanta has the best home record in all of baseball, but that won't mean a hill of beans if they can't take at least one of the first two games in LA. Atlanta is also still dealing with injuries to some key players.

The Dodgers have arguably been the hottest team in baseball the second half of the season. At the All-Star break they were in last place in their division and it looked as if manager Don Mattingly was on his way out the door. Instead, the team put together long strings of wins and fought their way into first place in the NL West.

Pick to win: Los Angeles

NL Division Series

St. Louis vs. NL Wild Card: Cards WIN! What else needs said?

Pick to win: St. Louis

AL Wild Card game

Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay: I pick Cleveland. Tampa Bay is a great team, and has been extremely consistent through the years, but it's Hot in Cleveland right now!

This AL Wild Card game will feature two Peoria-area natives in Tampa's second baseman Ben Zobrist and Indians starting pitcher Zack McAllister.

AL Division Series

Detroit @ Oakland: How does someone pick a winner of this series? Detroit is Detroit. They have two of the greatest sluggers of all time in their lineup with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. They also have a phenomenal pitching staff led by Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Annibal Sanchez. This should be the team to beat, but they are coming off a season ending game that saw them lose to the Marlins by being the victims of a No-Hitter, and then losing on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

Oakland is 52-29 at home, second only to the Braves for tops in baseball. They are the team that fans love to cheer for. Year after year Oakland takes one of the lowest payrolls in the game to the postseason. They are the underdogs every year, and we all love the underdog. They've also taken four out of six from the Tigers this year.

Pick to win: Oakland

AL Division Series

Boston vs. TBD: Boston has done something unprecedented this season. The Red Sox have risen from the ashes of a 2012 season that saw a manager fired, rumors of clubhouse scuffles and drinking during games, and finishing with a dismal 69-93 record, to winning their division and tying for the best record in all of baseball. This team never lost more than three straight games, and was never swept by any team this year.

If Cleveland makes it to this series and stays hot, this should be an interesting matchup. Anybody else, and Boston sweeps this series.

In the interest of saving space, here are my full predictions all the way to the World Series.

NL Division Series winners: St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodger

NL Championship Series winner: Los Angeles

AL Division Series winners: Oakland A's and Cleveland Indians

AL Championship Series winner: Oakland

World Series winner: Los Angeles Dodgers

About the Author
Steve spends his time here at The Peorian analyzing data and networking to develop solutions to bridge the gap between…no wait, that’s what he does as a career. He’s here at The Peorian to write about other things. And in order to facilitate these efforts, we have banned him from using any forms of the words “data”, “engineering” and “antidisestablishmentarianism”. The latter should be for obvious reasons. I mean, really, how could anyone be FOR the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in 19th-century Britain?