MLB Wild Card Pick ’em – By David Lopez

It’s October, and for most of you that means Halloween and the coming of Fall. For the rest of us sports fans, that means one thing, MLB Playoffs. Contributor, David Lopez gives his picks for the Wild Card Series.

photo from mlb.com

The dust has settled and the collective tears caused from inflated
salaries in the Los Angeles market to not make the playoffs have dried
up.  Now it’s time to get down the nitty griddy.  MLB 2012 playoff
pick-em: Hefferbrew style.

The postseason opens up with the National one-game wild card.  This
being the first time this has happened by plan, the MLB must be
excited at the amount of ratings they’ll be collecting for this
elusive one game playoff.  What’s at stake you might ask?  Well, if
you’re in the American League how about the chance to play the
Yankees.  And, if you’re in the national league then how about the
chance to go to our nations capital and compete with some natitude.

I will say this, the MLB has gotten they’re playoff setup right.  Two
at home for the lower seed and then three on the road.  Finally, a
setup that actually rewards the higher seeded team for all their work.
Oh, wait, now you have to split to keep home field advantage.  Don’t
lose two to open your post season, and you’ll be good.

But I digress, obviously, I have gotten too far ahead of myself.  Who
is going to get the division series you are yelling at your computer.

National League Wild Card Matchup
Atlanta 6 – St. Louis 2

Look, Chipper Jones, it’s been real good having you up in the MLB for
practically my whole life existence.  And, I’m happy to say that
you’ll certainly be playing another game in post season baseball.  I
can’t make any promises as to how far you’ll get to play on my friend,
but you’ll certainly be seeing good ‘ol Washington in the divisional
round.

But David, St. Louis has experience on their side.  They won the World
Series last year after just squeezing their way into the mix at the
last minute.  First of all, did I ask you?  Second of all the
Cardinals have a different team, different manager and different way
of backing into the playoffs.  Last year you had Albert Pujols, Tony
LaRussa and company.  This year, you’ve first year, no experience
manager Mike Matheny leading the troops.  You’ve also got, if you’re
St. Louis, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday as your center pieces to
what once was touted as the most potent lineups in all of the MLB.

But, all that would be enough to excuse, if the conversation was
really about what the Cardinals couldn’t do.  No, the conversation is
more about what the Braves can do in a one game playoff.  Well,
trotting out Kris Medlen is always a nice luxury.  He’s drawn
comparisons to Greg Maddux and quite frankly why not.  He pitched to
the tune of a 9-0 record this season and boasted an ERA of 1.57.
Granted, he only made 12 starts, but still.  Pretty good stuff for the
22-year-old out of Artesia, Calif.

But, that’s only the beginning of it all.  Once you move to the
offensive side of things, you quickly see yet another advantage for
the Braves.  Jones, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and the late surge of
Dan Uggla give me reason to think that this lineup is going to give
the St. Louis starters and bullpen fits.  Overall, it was a good run
for St. Louis.  It’s nothing personal, but I’m almost glad the Dodgers
don’t have to go through this one-game playoff process.  They would
probably be packing their bags as well after all this.

American League Wild Card Matchup
Baltimore 4 – Texas 3

You know what, I have no good reason to pick Baltimore.  Texas is the better team on paper.  Texas has the better starting pitcher, the better lineup the better DH and the better bullpen.  But, where I get a fundamental disagreement is my gut.  You can’t fight this guy.  He has taken a team and convinced them to believe.  When you first visit the Orioles team website, you are greeted by a message.  BUCKle up, it says.  I hope Baltimore has it seat belts on because it is going to be a wild one.

Also, after blowing a lead like the Rangers did, there has to be some psychological hangover of the meltdown that was the end of the Rangers season.  It just doesn’t seem logical to think that a team that folded the way that it did against Oakland, could gather themselves so quickly and respond appropriately in a higher stakes game.  These are all just things that my gut is telling me.

But, on the off chance that what I’m feeling in my gut is just the burrito I just had for dinner, and, not in fact a presumption of Baltimore greatness, here is the reason why.  One, there pitcher.  The MLB rookie Yu Darvish seems like he has been primed for the big stage.  His 16-9 record and 3.90 ERA sets him up to be a dominant force to reckon with.

Also, let us not forget that a lineup with Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre is still a pretty good lineup.

On the other side of thing Joe Saunders doesn’t seem to be the most imposing one-game wildcard pitcher that could exist.  Saunders sports a 3-3 record since joining the O’s including a 3.63 ERA.  He also has a WHIP of 1.28 since joining Baltimore.

Conclusion

The American League seems a little more dicey to me than I thought it would be.  Once we get to the division series I think it’ll be smoother sailing to see who is going where.  Then again it’s October.

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