Cormack on MLB: LDS breakdown and picks

October 6, 2012, 5:52 AM

The St. Louis Cardinals knocking out the Atlanta Braves?

A lot of people saw that coming.

The Baltimore Orioles eliminating the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers?

Few saw that on the horizon Friday, but then again, maybe more should have.

With Friday’s two wild card games now behind us, the LDS matchups are set, and they kick off on Sportsnet beginning Saturday at 5 p.m. ET with MLB Central: Playoff Preview.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at how each of the eight teams stack up with a predicted winner for each of the four series.

Just don’t ask us who we had winning Friday night in Texas.

New York Yankees (1) vs. Baltimore (wild card)

Game 1: Sunday, 6:07 p.m. ET @ Baltimore

Yankees Stats Pack: (league rank in parentheses)

Runs: 804 (2) | HR: 245 (1) | OPS: .790 (1)

ERA: 3.85 (5) | Starters: 4.05 (6) | Relievers: 3.43 (7)

One-run games: 22-25 | Run differential: +136 (1)

WAR Leaders: Cano (7.7), Sabathia (4.8), Swisher (3.9), Jeter (3.3), Teixeira (2.8)

Orioles Stats Pack:

Runs: 712 (9) | HR: 214 (2) | OPS: .728 (7)

ERA:3.90 (6) | Starters: 4.42 (9) | Relievers: 3.00 (3)

One-run games: 29-9 | Run differential: +7 (7)

WAR Leaders: Adam Jones (4.6), Matt Wieters (4.1), Jason Hammel (2.9), J.J. Hardy (2.7), Wei-Yin Chen (2.2)

SERIES PREDICTION: Yankees in 4.

The Orioles continue to defy logic — and the stats above — but their luck has to run out at some point, doesn’t it? The Yankees are loaded offensively, and just as important, healthy on the mound with Sabathia returning to form and the ageless Andy Pettitte back in their rotation. Robinson Cano has been on fire of late, batting .458/.484/.729/1.213 over the past 14 days. Don’t expect many 2-1 contests. This should be a slugfest.

***

Detroit Tigers (3) vs. Oakland A’s (2)

Game 1: Saturday, 6:07 p.m. ET @ Detroit.

Tigers stats pack:

Runs: 726 (6) | HR: 163 (10) | OPS:.757 (6)

ERA: 3.75 (3) | Starters: 3.76 (2) | Relievers: 3.79 (10)

One-run games: 21-27 |Run differential: +6 (6)

WAR Leaders: Miguel Cabrera (7.2), Justin Verlander (6.8), Austin Jackson (5.5), Prince Fielder (5.0), Max Scherzer (4.6)

A’s Stats Pack:

Runs: 713 (8) | HR: 195 (6) | OPS: .714 (11)

ERA: 3.48 (2) | Starters: 3.80 (3) | Relievers: 2.94 (2)

One-run games: 25-18 | Run differential: +99 (4)

WAR Leaders: Josh Reddick (4.5), Jarrod Parker (3.7), Yoenis Cespedes (3.1), Coco Crisp (3.1), Tommy Milone (2.7)

SERIES PREDICTION: A’s in 5.

This is a really tough series to call. The Tigers will only go as far as Verlander, Cabrera and Fielder can carry them but all three could take over a short series, especially if Verlander gets two starts. The A’s are playing incredible baseball since July 30, going 38-21 since that time. In the end, we see the A’s rookie starters holding the Tigers big bats at bay as Oakland steals Game 1 against Verlander en route to an unexpected ALCS appearance.

***

Washington Nationals (1) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (wild card)

Game 1: Sunday, 3:07 p.m. ET @ St. Louis.

Nationals Stats Pack:

Runs:731 (5) | HR: 194 (2) | OPS: .750 (4)

ERA: 3.33 (1) | Starters: 3.40 (1) | Relievers: 3.23 (3)

One-run games: 27-21 | Run differential: +137 (1)

WAR Leaders: Gio Gonzalez (5.4), Ian Desmond (5.2), Bryce Harper (4.8), Stephen Strasburg (4.3), Jordan Zimmerman (3.5)

Cardinals Stats Pack:

Runs: 765 (2) | HR: 159 (7) | OPS: .759 (3)

ERA: 3.71 (6) | Starters: 3.62 (3) | Relievers: 3.90 (9)

One-run games: 21-26 | Run differential: +117 (2)

WAR Leaders: Yadier Molina (6.5), Matt Holliday (5.2), Adam Wainwright (4.4), Jon Jay (4.2), David Freese (4.1)

SERIES PREDICTION: Cardinals in 5

The Nationals have the sexy stats — league-leading ERA and run differential — and they’re second in home runs, but what they’re missing is the Cardinals championship swagger, and of course, Stephen Strasburg. These are two deep, balanced and talented offences. The series X-factor may well be Chris Carpenter’s performance in Game 3. The 37-year-old has only made three starts in 2012, but as we’ve seen in the past, the former Cy Young winner tends to raise his game in the post-season and a road win in Washington could tip the series scales the Cardinals way.

***

Cincinnati Reds (2) vs. San Francisco Giants (3)

Game 1: Saturday, 9:37 p.m. ET @ San Francisco.

Reds Stats Pack:

Runs: 669 (9) | HR: 172 (3) | OPS: .726 (6)

ERA: 3.34 (3) | Starters: 3.64 (4) | Relievers: 2.65 (1)

One-run games: 31-21 | Run differential: +81 (1)

WAR Leaders: Joey Votto (6.0), Johnny Cueto (4.8), Brandon Phillips (3.9), Aroldis Chapman (3.3), Mat Latos (3.1)

Giants Stats Pack:

Runs: 718 (6) | HR: 103 (16) | OPS: .724 (7)

ERA: 3.68 (5) | Starters: 3.73 (5) | Relievers: 3.56 (8)

One-run games: 30-20 | Run differential: +69 (5)

WAR Leaders: Buster Posey (8.0), Angel Pagan (4.7), Melky Cabrera (4.6), Matt Cain (3.8), Madison Bumgarner (3.4)

SERIES PREDICTION: Reds in 4.

It might even be a sweep if the Reds can beat Cain in Game 1 in San Francisco. The Giants finished dead last in the NL in home runs and they’re rolling the dice in Game 3 by handing the ball to the struggling Tim Lincecum. Buster Posey might be the hottest hitter in the game posting a .393/.453/.679/1.131 line over the past month, but the lack of support around him means he can expect to see almost nothing to hit this series.

The Giants somehow managed to score more runs than the Reds during the season, but the Reds’ lineup has far more threats capable of altering a game with one swing of the bat. As for Joey Votto, where has his power gone? The Toronto native has yet to go deep since returning to the lineup on Sept. 5 after undergoing knee surgery earlier in the year. It shouldn’t be too big of a concern however. The Reds went 33-16 after Votto went under the knife.

MLB Playoffs on Sportsnet

Saturday Oct. 6:

MLB Central: Playoff Preview, 5 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)

ALDS Game 1: Athletics @ Tigers, 6 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)

NLDS Game 1: Reds @ Giants, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)

Sunday Oct. 7:

MLB Central: Playoff Preview, 11:30 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)

ALDS Game 2: Athletics @ Tigers, 12 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)

NLDS Game 1: Nats @ NL Wild Card, 3 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)

ALDS Game 1: Yankees @ AL Wild Card, 6:15 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE)

NLDS Game 2: Reds @ Giants, 9:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet)


Share
Comments
 

Latest MLB Videos
FastCast: Diamondbacks sign Cuban outfielder Tomas
2:47 | Nov 27, 2014