2012 MLB Postseason Preview

It has been a fairly unexpected season for many in the MLB this year as most teams did not do as well or as bad as they had once thought. For the first time ever the MLB would have two Wild Card teams and that made for a great end to the year. September meant a lot more to more teams as they finally had a shot at the postseason. It wasn’t until the last weekend when all teams finally clinched their spots in the postseason and many of the division races came down to the last night. It was a good race through the long season which is becoming more of a constant in the league. Last year a year-long race came down to the last night for some teams to get in and this year the race lasted longer than usual with more wild card teams. Now with more teams in the postseason another wrinkle is added as the MLB will see the first ever single elimination games in the postseason. On Friday October 5th the MLB will hold their first ever Wild Card Playoff Games. Four teams will play 9 innings, possibly more, to determine who will get the chance to move on in the postseason. It is a new part of the postseason but one that should mean great things for the league. Single elimination is thrilling and keeps people glued to the television to see what can happen. In a sport like baseball though, it is hard to say that the best team in the league is the one that wins one game. There are too many variables that can happen during the game to change the result. So the MLB holds series to weed out the mistakes and make sure the best team wins. To determine the wild card team though the MLB has taken a different approach and it comes from the name. No other postseason spot could be decided by a one game playoff better than the Wild Card. It will be another aspect added to the MLB postseason that creates heroes and villains and is always good for a great story. It is the end of a long season that for some will end quickly and for others will continue on through October. Although nobody knows what will happen one thing I for sure there will be plenty to talk about as the next champion is determined.

 

American League:

 

 

 

 

 

The American League has always been a strong league that depends heavily on offence to win games. Every team in the AL has traditionally built their teams with plenty of power but that was a different era. In this era the AL teams have started to focus on the complete game as teams look for their edge to get past the traditional powers. This year the AL saw two of the biggest surprises in the MLB take their shot as they looked for other ways to make an impact with no big names. Teams like the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles surprised everyone. There were no real stars on either team as they made their way through the season with a number of players that were unknown before this year. Both teams challenged for their divisions with the Athletics coming out on top of the Texas Rangers and the Orioles coming up just short of overtaking the Yankees. Both teams were in the heat of the battle all year with two teams that were the complete opposites of them. The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers have spent the last two years fighting it out to be the top two teams in the AL. Both teams are full of big names and large payrolls, while the O’s and A’s are full of no names and no money. They represent the traditional way to go about things as they look to spend money to get championships and lean on some of the biggest names in the game, see Josh Hamilton and Derek Jeter, to win. Meanwhile the Detroit Tigers area team in the middle as they do not have not had the biggest payroll but are beginning to get into the game spending big money on Prince Fielder and leaning on Justin Verlander. All the teams in the American League represent all facets of the MLB and as they all fight it out in the postseason the best way to build a team will be exposed as Money Ball takes on big spending in the American League postseason.

 

1. New York Yankees
Strength: Experience (Every player on the roster considers this just part of the season)
Weakness: Age (despite experience can the roster last through the postseason)
What They Need to Do:
The Yankees need to be the Yankees as they know how to win this thing but could this be the year that the long season catches up to the aging roster.

 

2. Oakland Athletics
Strength: Pitching (Despite the loss of Colon the rotation has emerged as a dependable group)
Weakness: Power (Their best hitter has 32 HRs and the next best has only 23)
What They Need to Do:
To Win the A’s will need to find ways to manufacture runs while keeping the young clubhouse in check to keep the focus they have had all season.

 

3. Detroit Tigers
Strength: Balance (Good Pitching and Great hitting make them good all around)
Weakness: not Much (There are very little holes in the team but anything can happen)
What They Need to Do:
Continue their hot streak and look to Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander, and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to lead them to the World Series

 

4. Baltimore Orioles
Strength: The Unknown (They are a surprisingly good team that can win everything)
Weakness: Inexperience (They are a young team that can make mistakes with the pressure)
What They Need to Do:
Focus on the task at hand and don’t get ahead of themselves if they can just take it like a regular season game they may be able to get to the World Series.

 

3. Texas Rangers
Strength: Offence (Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre are just the start to a great lineup)
Weakness: Their Cold (Losing 9 of their last 12 and the division to the A’s)
What They Need to Do:
Snap out of it. They need to play like their roster looks as they have to stop getting in their own heads and pull everything together to meet their potential in the postseason

 

Prediction: 

AL Wild Card Game:
Baltimore Orioles 5 – 4 Texas Rangers
– The Orioles are not the team that many would expect to do much but in the single elimination game anything can happen as the O’s will surprise the Rangers who will exit the postseason in a disappointing way once again

 

AL Divisional Series:
New York Yankees 3 – 2 Baltimore Orioles
– The Yankees and O’s have fought all season for the AL East crown and that fight will not end easy as they will go all 5 games to decide this one but the Yankees experience in the postseason will trump the youth of the Orioles

 

Detroit Tigers 3 – 1 Oakland Athletics
– It’s hard to bet against the Tigers who are all around great with great pitching and great offence and ultimately they will overwhelm the A’s who will not be able to keep up with the power of Cabrera and Fielder

 

AL Conference Series:
Detroit Tigers 4 – 3 New York Yankees
– Detroit looks very good and are the hottest team heading into the postseason and although the Yankees are the old guard in the American League the Tigers time could be now as they will take the AL Pennant in a tight 7 game series

 

National League:

 

 

 

 

 

The National League is a very different league than the AL and many would say that is a good thing. The National League is the more traditional league in the MLB as they take things a little differently. As the AL concentrates on the offensive side with big home run numbers and the designated hitter the NL concentrates on pitching. This year pitching was once again a focus of the National League as teams looked to their rotation to help them get to the postseason. As the season went on the rotations stepped up and in the end there were a lot of familiar faces and one very unfamiliar face in the postseason. Much like the American League the National League saw a surprise in the postseason at season’s end and it could be the biggest surprise of the year. Yes the A’s and O’s were not supposed to make the postseason but the Washington Nationals were the furthest team away from the playoffs at the end of 2011. Since moving from Montreal the Nationals had been at the bottom of the league and never able to get out. It was a mixed blessing though as the last place finishes got them Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, two of the biggest stars on the team this year. The Nats went from worst to first this year with a traditional way of doing things as their rotation was one of the best. As the Nats surprised the MLB the rest of the National League seemed somewhat regular. Despite a few teams that made their bid for the postseason the divisions still came down to the original powerhouses. The Cincinnati Reds were back at the top of the NL Central while the 2010 champions the San Francisco Giants won the West and the 2011 champs the St. Louis Cardinals took another wild card. Meanwhile after a brief off period the Braves were back in the postseason once again. There was not much change in the National League this year but the biggest change could be the best part of the NL postseason as the Nats represent one of the best stories in the postseason.

 

1. Washington Nationals
Strength: Rotation (One of the MLB’s best with Gonzalez, Zimmerman, Jackson, and Detwiler)
Weakness: Inexperience (They have never been here before)
What They Need to Do:
Make sure that the young stars, aka Bryce Harper, keep a level head and do not get too ahead of themselves in their first ever postseason appearance.

 

2. Cincinnati Reds
Strength: Bullpen (If they get in trouble Chapman, Marshall, and Broxton are great backup)
Weakness: Offence (Aside from Joey Votto the runs are hard to find)
What They Need to Do:
Do not lean on their stars too much as Votto and the Bullpen cannot win this alone meaning they need the rest of the team to step up in the most important time of the year.

 

3. San Francisco Giants
Strength: Their Hot (They are one of the hottest teams going 19-8 in September)
Weakness: Rotation (It is not what it was in 2010 with top pitchers still struggling)
What They Need to Do:
Lean on their revamped offence and their new attitude to make up for a pitching rotation that could be exposed with good hitting teams.

 

4. Atlanta Braves
Strength: Rotation (It is simply one of the best in the MLB led by Kris Medlen)
Weakness: Offence (They cannot score runs to support their pitchers with no real powerhouse)
What They Need to Do:
Really lean on their pitching rotation to win games and hope that the offence can figure things out as they will need all the defence they can get to win.

 

5. St. Louis Cardinals
Strength: Experience (This Wild Card spot seems very familiar for the 2012 Champions)
Weakness: Bullpen (A postseason worst 3.90 ERA in the bullpen)
What They Need to Do:
Grab that magic of last year when they snuck into the wild card and won everything what’s to say that they can’t somehow pull out another miracle.

 

Prediction

AL Wild Card Game:
St. Louis Cardinals 4 – 2 Atlanta Braves
– The Braves simply can’t score runs and against a pretty good starting pitcher in Kyle Lohse they will be in rough shape again although the Cards will still have a rough go against Kris Medlen who will give the Braves a chance

 

AL Divisional Series:
San Francisco Giants 3 – 1 Cincinnati Reds
– The Reds are a good team but they lean too much on a few players meaning that the Giants will be able to take Joey Votto out of the equation and force the Reds to use the bullpen too much to be effective with plenty of weapons at the plate

 

Washington Nationals 3 – 1 St. Louis Cardinals
– The Cards will not be able to capture lightning in a bottle for the second year in a row as they are simply not a better team than the Nationals who will roll out their great rotation to shut down the Cards and move on

 

AL Conference Finals:
Washington Nationals 4 – 3 San Francisco Giants
– The Nationals will get a test for their rotation against Buster Posey and the Giants but the Nats are no slouch at the plate meaning this series could come down to the pitching rotations where the Nats will win out every time

 

2012 World Series
Detroit Tigers 4 – 3 Washington Nationals
– Both teams are not used to being in this position as they are both looking for a resurgence in the franchise but the Nationals are a young team that may find the big series a little too much against the veterans in Detroit who just simply seem to be the most dangerous team in the MLB postseason

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 167 other followers
%d bloggers like this: