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.
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)
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.
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)