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American and National League Division Series Preview: Part 1

October 6, 2012

Baseball

Well after the playoffs are officially in full swing with the completion of the first two sudden death wildcard games. We have seen some interesting plays and controversial calls. As the playoffs begin and I look for teams who will be playing well and possibly winning it all I have a hard time picking just one. This years playoffs are stacked with so much talent I don’t know how only one team is going to win it. We are definitely in for some great October ball and possibly some of the best stuff we will have seen in the past few years. We begin of “best of” games with two great match-ups. On this second night of playoff baseball the teams that played in the wildcard games get a night off to get ready for their next challenges. We begin with match-ups of an AL powerhouse the Detroit Tigers vs. the seemingly unknown Oakland A’s. In the NL we have two powerhouses from this year and the past couple years pitting the Cincinnati Reds against the San Francisco Giants. If these match-ups prove to be as enticing as the wildcard games I think that these playoffs can live up to the hype I am trying to create.

Oakland A’s vs. Detroit Tigers

Ok lets start in the American League and with the first games to kick off this round. We begin with the fairly unknown and tough Oakland A’s. Oakland snuck out of the wildcard game by sweeping the Rangers to close out the season. The A’s have been a hot team coming into the playoffs and with Billy Bean bringing in the players who are playing on the field you know they probably didn’t spend a whole lot of money doing it. Ah the joys of “moneyball”. You play with an assortment of unknown or washed-up players and winning your division.

Against them are the American League Central Champions Detroit Tigers and the reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. The Tigers have been tough all year, and have been playing consistent baseball that has brought them into October. The Tigers also boast the first triple crown winner in over forty years, Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers have been fairly consistent in being in the postseason the past couple seasons and I think it is about time they start challenging for the World Series. Detroit has been building this team for sometime now and have been hungry for postseason glory for some time now. This postseason would seem a wash without a title.

The Verdict

Oakland comes in with momentum having closed what was a six game lead by the Rangers just a couple weeks ago and winning their division. For a team like Oakland with very few stars winning their division is a major momentum booster for themselves. However, the Tigers have been strong all year and have been playing ball like a playoff team since May. While Detroit looks like the better team on paper I think the Athletics and their momentum pull this series out in five games with the decisive game being a nail bitter. While the Tigers are hungry and in need of a World Series I think the motivational edge that Oakland has right now triumphs the Tigers skill. Much like the basic ideas of Moneyball

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Francisco Giants

On the National League side we begin with this great match-up. The NL Central Champions Cincinnati Reds have the second best record in all of baseball and have been dominating teams throughout the second half of the season. With three all-stars including Joey Votto the Reds have a strong roster that continuously plays tough baseball all the way until the end of the game. The Reds have shown this season to be a serious threat in these playoffs. The Reds have quietly been building this squad for a few years now and after last years Cardinals World Series would love to continue the success of the NL Central in the Playoffs

Their opponent the San Francisco Giants come in as the NL West champions and have one of the stronger rosters in the Major Leagues. This in part to 4 All-star starters who played well and consistently all throughout the season. San Francisco won the World Series two years ago and has been consistently strong the past few years as well. With pitching strength from Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum it is no wonder San Francsico can take a lead and be able to hold onto it throughout the game.

The Verdict

The Giants do however need to overcome the powerful Reds who are just in general playing strong baseball. Unlike most of the other teams coming into the playoffs both of these teams seem to be fairly average in terms of motivation from big wins or streaks coming into the playoffs. It is hard to give a motivational slide to either team because it is not a recent big run that got either of them in but consistent play over the entire season. This series comes down ultimately to pitching. Looking at the rosters there is so much bat strength that the teams pitching who can limit that power will be the one that stands victorious in the end. This is a tough one to call, but I am going with the Reds in another five game series with all of the games being very close.

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About Andrew Ware

Seminary student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. and graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. But most of all a follower of Jesus Christ.

View all posts by Andrew Ware

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