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2012 Postseason predictions

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Playoff Rundown: Whyeach team can and canít win it all

Well itís that time of year again, the greatest of those months, October. With the postseason about to get underway every baseball fan has one question on his or her mind; who will win it all? With that question in mind experts and amateurs alike try to look at the numbers and try to predict who has the best shot. However the same logic and metric we use in a regular season donít always work the same in October. As we have seen in the past season anything can happen in a short series. October usually come down to who got hot at the right time. And with this yearís contenders the field is looking pretty even. However if you look at most of the World Series winners of the last few years there are a few common factors. So if we look at the Cardinals who came out of nowhere last year what went right for them? You know aside from David Freese hitting everything and then some. Well Chris Carpenter also pitched his tail off the entire postseason. So for me two factors stick out,t he ability to get hot for a stretch and top of the line starting pitching. Of course its baseball so anything can happen, the Cardinals also had the weather work their way allowing Carpenter to pitch game 7. All that being said letís look at whatís right and whatís wrong with this yearís hopefuls.
New York Yankees
They scared their fan base blowing a ten game lead in the final month or so but managed to play just a little bit better then Baltimore to finish for the division lead and thanks to Texas falling apart, the number one spot in the American League.

Why they can win:
In the postseason it all begins and ends with pitching. TheYankees are 5th in the league in ERA which isnít great but not bad, however they are tied for 2nd in strikeouts and 1st in walks. On the front end of the rotation they have C.C. and Kuroda. The may be missing Rivera but Robertson, Soriano, and Phelps have all been good. On the offensive side they lead the majors in HR hit and the A.L. in OBP.
Why they canít win:
C.C. has looked better his last two starts but there is still worry about his health. If you look at Andy Pettitís Numbers they look good but it was a total of 75 innings, he isnít exactly young anymore. As a team they seem to have trouble hitting with runners in scoring position. They are also kind of old as a team. A-rods been hurt, Texeria has been hurt. Defensively they have one of the worst teamsi n term of range. They also lack team speed. Something else that could come into play, They have allowed the 3rd most HR in the A.L. part of that is because of the ballpark. However in the 1st round they have to face either Texas or Baltimore who also have hit 200 or more HR and both play in hitterís parks. And if they have to face the Rangers in a slugfest the Rangers have more offensive weapons to beat you with.

Oakland Athletics
They shocked the world by coming from 13 games back as of June 30th and overcame the mighty Rangers on the last day of the season. They are on fire but they saying in baseball goes ďMomentum is next days starting pitcher.Ē

Why they can win:
The Aís pitching staff has the best ERA among A.L.contenders. Every kid they have called up has stepped up and down thier job well. The bullpen has also been lights out. They also allowed the fewest homeruns. (Although the ballpark plays a factor in that.) They only hit 5 fewer HR then the Rangers. They are also the best defensive team in term of range and defensive runs saved among the A.L. Playoff teams.

Why they canít win
They have no real ace. They are also throwing lots ofrookies out there and you always have to wonder how they will perform under the bright lights of October. Like the Yankees the hit home runs but have hit only.238 as a team with a .310 OBP. They also with the new format have to go into Detroit and face Verlander and Scherzer.
Detroit Tigers
They were one of the preseason favorites with all the spending, but they just got into the playoffs in baseballís worst division. Can their super stars step up and carry them through October?
Why they can win:
When your rotation starts out Verlander, Scherzer, and Fister as your front three youíre in pretty good shape. They also have the bash brothers of Cabrera and Fielder with Jackson hitting in front of them. Then throw in the added advantage of starting the first two games at home under the new format and the Tigers look like they have a good start on things.
Why they canít win:
Scherzers health is a concern; if he canít go they will have to rely on Sanchez. Their offense is built around 3 players, you can hope Young steps up like he did last year maybe but Peralta, Avila, and Rayburn have al lhad down years. The bullpen has issues and Valverde is always an adventure. They could also give away several runs ranking at the bottom in almost all defensive categories.

Texas Rangers
The Rangers lost 7 of their last 9 games to blow a big division lead. Five days ago they were considered the most talented team in baseball.The question now is whether that last stretch was a fluke or a trend.

Why they can win:
They still have loads of talent. The Oís and Yankees both have more home runs but the Rangers have all around better hitting and have the ability to run the bases. Despite the lack of a true ace they have pitching depth. The bullpen has been very good all season. Defensively they are behind the Aís but way ahead of the other three possible A.L. Opponents.

Why they canít win:
Having to use Darvish in the Wild Card game will hurt their chances. Then there is the fact that anything can happen in a single game. They donít have that Ace to go toe to toe with the likes of a Sabathia or Verlander. And all the other A.L. Managers can manage circles around Ron Washington.

Baltimore Orioles
They Joined the Aís in shocking the world to make the playoffs, however The Oís have everything go right and then some for them. That amazing stretch of one run wins and extra inning wins; can they keep that trend going one more month?
Why they can win:
Why stop now? Their biggest advantages are the bullpen, hitting for power, and the manager. Defensive metrics for the season are alittle skewed having called up Machado. The numbers are low but they have their good defensive players in the right spots at C, SS, CF, and 3B.
Why they canít win:
They have a lack of an Ace or Starting pitching depth. The amazing trends they had going all season are far less likely to continue when constantly facing good teams.

Washington Nationals
Everyone expected them to be better, but not this much better. The big question is how much they will miss Strasburg.

Why they can win:
They still have two really good pitchers in the front of the rotation with Gio and Zimmerman. After that they are deep with Jackson and Detwiller. After that they have several good arms in the pen to shut the door.

Why they canít win:
Offensively they are above average but not great. They need to rely on their pitching because they are not likely to win any slugfests. Not sure what they were thinking with how they managed Strasburg. Without him they are still good, with him they would be heavy favorites.

Cincinnati Reds
Tied with the Nats for best record in baseball can they keep up their winning ways in October against the likes of the Giants and their pitching?

Why they can win:
All 5 of the N.L. playoff teams are in the top 6 in pitching. The Reds however are tied for 1st in the N.L. with theNats in E.R.A. and are 1st among N.L. Playoff teams in Walks allowed. Their bullpen is going to be tough to score off of as well with Marshall and Chapman at the back end. Defensively they are second among N.L.playoff teams in UZR and defensive runs saved.

Why they canít win:
Offensively they are challenged. They can hit for power, but some of that is Home Park. They donít really hit for average or get on base outside Joey Votto. They are slow on the base paths as well ranking 3rd from the bottom in the N.L. in stolen bases.

San Francisco Giants
It looks like it all begins with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgardner. The big questions though, can they hit? And can Tim Lincecum return to form?
Why they can win:
Anytime you can go 1-2 with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgardner you have to like your chances. The bullpen has also been lights out this season making up for the loss of Brian Wilson. Offensively they are not as challenged as you would think ranking middle of the pack in runs scored and 4th in the N.L. in OBP and 3rd in AVG.

Why they canít win:
Tim Lincecum has been unreliable all season so heís not an option if you need a must win. They also donít have many guys who can knock the ball out of the park.
Atlanta Braves
They come in with everything clicking, the main thing standinging their way, a one game playoff were anything could go wrong.

Why they can win:
Chris Medlen has been unstoppable. Follow that up with Tim Hudson and Mike Minor and youíre in good shape. Add in a good bullpen with Kimbrall at the back and the door is all but shut with the lead. Defensively no one comes close having huge leads in UZR and defensive runs saved. All 3 of the outfielders could win gold gloves with Bourn and Heywerd the top 2 defensive OF in the N.L. The combination of pitching and defense make the Braves a tough team to score runs on.
Why they canít win
Offensively they are middle of that pack in almost every category. If their pitchers have a bad night they will have a hard time catching up with the bats. Also they have to burn Medlen in a one game playoff in which anything can go wrong.

St. Louis Cardinals
O.K. time to ask the question, Can David Freese do it again?

Why they can win:
The cardinals have the most runs scored among N.L. playoff teams. They are also tops in AVG. and OBP.

Why they canít win:
Well for starters facing Chris Medlen in a one game winnertake all is never a good start. Their pitching has also just been good enoughthis season. However Wainwright hasnít really been Wainwright yet coming off surgery. No idea what you can get out of Carpenter since he has only thrown 17 innings. And Losheís numbers are somewhat misleading when you consider a low BABIP and HR% per fly ball. Also their defensive numbers are rather uninspiring and they have several players who are banged up and prone to injury. The road to repeat will not be an easy one.

In the end my predictions look like this:

A.L Wild Card: Rangers over Orioles

N.L. Wild Card: Braves over Cardinals

A.L.D.S. Tigers over Athletics in 5. Rangers over Yankees in4

N.L.D.S. Giants over Reds in 4. Nationals over Braves in 5

A.L.C.S Rangers over Tigers in 7 MVP Adrian Beltre

N.L.C.S. Giants over Nationals in 7 MVP Buster Posey

World Series: Giants over Rangers in 6 MVP MadisonBumgardner

Of course Iím wrong every year so that mean the Giants willprobably lose in the first round. But its October, Everyone grab a drink andsit down and enjoy some good baseball.
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