Robert Whitmer’s 2012 MLB Playoff Predictions: Wild Cards to the World Series
Monday September 24th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: There comes a point in everyone’s life when they must choose path that they will go down. I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone on the Earth has a fate awaiting them based on the decisions that they make while they are alive. There are some that think that no matter what you do, the fate that was intended for you is what you will receive and that everything is pre-determined. I don’t necessarily prescribe to this thought because that would take away, to some degree, our ability to choose our own path. Today, my friends, is my day. I must, as it has been imposed on me by the higher-ups here at MLB reports, must make a choice. That’s right my friends…. Today is playoffs prediction day.
Now there are obviously some teams that have already determined their playoff fate either for good or bad, but what I have been tasked with today is to take us from the wild card playoff game all the way through the World Series and tell you who is going to win it all. Now just so I don’t get put on the ropes here, I am not liable for any losses that are to be had at the hands of Las Vegas or your local backstreet bookie. Please don’t come after me if you lose your shirt, or some fingers, based off of one of my predictions. If you win some money, however, please feel free to send some of it my way. So here we go. My predictions will start with the obvious division winners and then the Wild Card teams. We will proceed with the American League followed by the National League. To wrap it all up I will give you your World Series winner. Like Ron Burgundy said in “Anchorman”, “60% of the time, I’m right all the time.”
AL WILD CARDS
This is a tough one because there is not a single team that I would look at in the American League and say “wow… they are going to run away with it.” The biggest lead of all the division leaders as of September 23rd, 2012 is 4 games (Texas over Oakland). If the season ended today that Wild Card playoff would be between the Orioles and the A’s with the Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers winning the division. I don’t think that is how it happens at all. First let’s look at the obvious things, because the Rangers and Yankees are going to be in the playoffs it’s just how they get there. The White Sox are the variable in this picture because they only have a .5 (1/2) game lead over the Tigers. Neither the Tigers nor the White Sox are making the playoffs if they don’t win the division because their winning percentage is lower than the other wild card teams.
I asked this question on twitter and @lbsbigbro22 thinks that the Yankees are the wild card and the Orioles win the division on the last day of the season. I don’t necessarily agree with this because the Orioles finish up the season against the Red Sox and the Rays, where the Yankees finish against the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. Now I know that the Red Sox get pumped to play the Yankees normally, but come on, it’s the Red Sox. The last thing they got pumped for was the buy one bucket get one bucket free sale at KFC. I think the real race is coming in the AL West. Oakland has been playing good ball lately and, here’s the key, they play the Rangers in 7 of their last 10 games of the season. Who are the games in between you might ask? The Rangers play the Angels which is tough, while the A’s play the Mariners. I’m sensing a new division winner.
With all that said and done, I’m giving the wild card playoff spots to the Orioles and the Rangers. This game is going to be a battle royal. This one game all comes down to timing and strategy. Do you rest your ace on their last outing to be able to start this game? If you do, you don’t have him to start your division series two days later. I honestly cannot wait to see how the teams handle this. As for the actual game, I think that the Rangers will win in this matchup. They have a powerhouse team and the only reason that they get the wild card in the first place is because of them playing a hot team.
AL DIVISION SERIES
Based on the wild card results we would have the Rangers playing the Yankees. The other series, I think, is going to be the Tigers and the A’s. The White Sox are in a skid right now and the Tigers are playing good ball. I really don’t think that the White Sox can hold on to the slim 1 game lead that they have now. They miss the playoffs despite the recent A.J. Pierzynski awareness week that we recently finished here on the reports. Sorry White Sox fans, you will have to get them next year. I have the Tigers winning the series against the A’s behind the stellar play of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera. As for the Rangers and the Yankees, we have a different problem. Can the Yankees get healthy enough to put all their stars on the field at the same time? I think that in a 5-game series, the Yankees age will catch up with them. If they have a shot in this series, they must sweep to be able to win. I think that it goes at least 4 and the Rangers win it.
AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Do the Rangers and Tigers in the ALCS seem familiar? If it does, that’s because the two teams met in the ALCS last year. Last year the Rangers won the series 4-2 and the Tigers went home disappointed. This year I think that they get their revenge. Tigers have a lot of weapons not to mention being used to winning the big games. They had to chase down the White Sox at the end of the season and beat down the A’s in the division series. Cabrera and Fielder are not an easy task for any pitching staff to get through let alone one that has had so many injuries and hole-plugging as the Rangers. With Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis out the Rangers have gotten by on their A+ hitting, but that doesn’t always work in the playoffs. I think they will go the full 7 but the Tigers are going to the World Series.
NL WILD CARDS
Not much to say about this one. I think that it is what it is. The Braves have a 6 game wild card lead, and the Cardinals have a 2.5 game lead. The only jostling that could happen is with the Brewers, but I don’t think that anything is going to happen there even if Braun slugs one home run per game. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this. It’s a lock. The one game between the Braves and the Cardinals is going to be one for the ages though. These are two teams that a lot of people lost faith in after last year’s collapse by the Braves and the failure to resign Pujols by the Cardinals. I admit that I was one of those people. The Braves have learned from their collapse last year and the Cardinals realized that they can make things work by playing as a team instead of just one guy and complimentary players. Who will win in the battle of the underdogs? I think it will be a low scoring 1-0 or, at the most, 3-2 win for the Braves. Even though the Cardinals have learned to play as a team, the Braves have learned how not to lose when it matters.
NL DIVISION SERIES
The Reds will have the best record in the NL and play the Braves. The Nationals will play the Giants. Sorry Braves, your season ends here. The Reds are to good and deep to lose to you. They won’t just beat you, they will embarrass you. They have the hitters in Votto, Bruce, and Phillips that will get them the lead by the 7th inning. Once they get there, they have Broxton, Marshall, and Chapman for the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. That’s a combination that won’t lose many games and they are showing it with the best record in the league with 9 games left. The Nationals and Giants series will go as the Nationals owners will let it go. Strasburg will pitch and with him, Gio Gonzales and Zimmermann pitching every game in the series, you won’t lose many. Nationals win in 4 and the Reds will sweep.
NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
This is the match-up that everyone wants to see. The Nationals and Reds have been the two teams in the NL that people have been watching and speculating on how the playoff series between them would go all year-long. This is going to be such a good series that the fans will petition Selig to make them play a 9 game series. Yeah it will be that good. Don’t believe me? Just wait and you will see. The players that will make or break this series will be Joey Votto for the Reds and Ian Desmond for the Nats. If Votto is on his game, the Reds win it. If Desmond can do what he has been doing all year with his team leading OPS, the Nats win. I really think this is a toss-up, but if I had to put money on it, I am picking the Reds. They are just deep and talented.
The series between the Tigers and the Reds sounds like one from back in the 20’s and 30’s. I think it will play out like a knockdown, drag out, war. The pitching is equal; the hitting is a slight edge to the Tigers with the defense a slight edge to the Reds. People have been down on baseball as not being interesting and to predictable. This series will put baseball back on the sports map. These two teams will beat each other to bloody pulps one game, and then come back and do it again the next and it will be spectacular. I once wrote a paper for school about how McGwire and Sosa’s home run race saved baseball after strike in the mid-90’s, and this series will save baseball after the steroid era. The real winner when this is all said and done will be the fans of the game. The players will give them exactly what they are wanting and more.
I’m sure you want to know the winner of the World Series, right? After 7 games with some extra inning affairs tossed in there to add to the legend of the 2012 World Series, your winner will be the Cincinnati Reds. So get your champagne ready Reds fans and make sure you have plenty of hospital rooms ready for all the babies being born in 11 months or so… cause you guys are taking home the trophy this year. At least that’s what I think.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
***Today’s feature was prepared by Robert Whitmer, MLB reports Baseball Writer. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Robert on Twitter (@rwhitmer)***
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Posted on September 24, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged a.j.j pierzynski, Atlanta Braves, baseball, chipper jones, cincinnati reds, detroit tigers, joey votto, miguel cabrera, mlb, neftali feliz, new york yankees, playoffs, washington nationals, wild cards, world series. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.