world-series-trophyOver the past 2+ weeks, I’ve taken a look at how each of the 6 divisions will turn out and now it’s time to turn to the playoffs. The 2012 playoffs were the first year for the inclusion of a second wild card team and it definitely looks to be a good addition. The extra squad in contention means more teams are vying for that spot, which can only lead to great fall baseball. Granted the biggest story last September was Oakland’s drmatic finish to overtake Texas for the AL West and had nothing really to do with the wild card, but it certainly was exciting. That’s something any baseball fan will appreciate.

In review, here are the postseason teams from the divisional predictions:

National League                             American League
1) Washington Nationals             1) Toronto Blue Jays
2) Cincinnati Reds                        2) Detroit Tigers
3) San Francisco Giants              3) Oakland Athletics
4) Atlanta Braves                           4) Tampa Bay Rays
5) Los Angeles Dodgers             5) Baltimore Orioles

Wild Card Series
NL Wild Card
#4 Braves defeat #5 Dodgers
If Kershaw goes the distance the Dodgers will win, however he’ll turn it over to Brandon League who will promptly blow the game. The Braves have the deeper pitching to keep them in this game while the offense breaks through after Kershaw leaves.

AL Wild Card
#4 Rays defeat #5 Orioles
The Rays will run out David Price while the Os have…Jason Hammel? Fernando Rodney helps Price shut down Adam Jones and Co while the Rays’ offense gets the timely hits they need to advance.

Divisional Series
#1 Nationals defeat #4 Braves in four
Washington will be overly confident heading into this matchup and Atlanta could catch them napping. However, the Nats being able to trot out Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmermann as their starters will be too much for the Braves. They’ll win a game, but the Nationals’ offense will dominate.

#3 Giants defeat #2 Reds in four
Cincy will look to rectify their total collapse last year, but the Giants’ pitching will continuely stymie and get to them. With their offense ineffective and their pitching not on the same level, the defending will roll on to defend their NL pennant.

#4 Rays defeat #1 Blue Jays in five
RA Dickey will get the Jays the opening win, but the rest of the rotation won’t be as effective. David Price was used in the Wild Card game, but the rest of their rotation will hold the Jays’ vaunted offense in check while the Rays’ hitters put together just enough to eventually squeeze by in five.

#2 Tigers defeat #3 Athletics in five
This will be just like last year. The Tigers will jump out to an early lead, the As will storm back but run into Justin Verlander in Game 5, who will be trying to make up for his lackluster World Series performance from last year.

League Championship Series
#3 Giants defeat #1 Nationals in seven
Practically every so-called ‘expert’ is picking the Nats to go to World Series this year. Both teams’ pitching is good and while the Nats have the superior offense, the Giants are battle tested having won 6 elimination games last postseason. Think Strasburg will overwhelm the Giants’ hitters? Ask Verlander about that. The champs’ rotation is much deeper with Matt or Madison Bumgarner on the mound to win the decisive Game 7.

#2 Tigers defeat #4 Rays in six
Each team has deep pitching with a dominant ace at the top, but this series will come down to offense. The Rays just do have anyone outside of Evan Longoria that can keep up with the Tigers’ mashers. Due to their scrappy nature, the Rays will win two games in the series, but Cabrera and Fielder will power their way to another AL pennant.

World Series
Giants defeat Tigers in six
It’s rematch time and you can bet the Tigers will be eager to avenge the sweep from last year. Verlander won’t be as bad as he was and it certainly won’t be a sweep again, but the Giants have the better pitching as well as an actual closer. Buster Posey will rise to the occasion and have a great series at the plate like Sandoval did last year. The Giants know what it takes to win and Bruce Bochy will be there a plan he will excute to perfection. They’ll clinch it in San Francisco after the NL wins the All Star Game and join Alabama in the ranks of teams that have won 3 championships in the last 4 years.