MLB Playoffs 2012: 4 Teams Poised to Make a Deep Playoff Run
The National League playoff picture is getting clearer and clearer by the second. However, the American League playoff picture continues to look murky.
Right now, the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds are in a fight for home-field advantage. Both teams currently stand at 93-61, and both look evenly matched.
In the AL, there are several battles yet to be determined. Who comes out of the AL East, the New York Yankees or the upstart Baltimore Orioles?
How about the AL Central? The Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers are fighting for supremacy; both teams are 82-72.
The Texas Rangers have all but locked up the AL West, and the Oakland Athletics (87-67) are still hanging by a thread.
Here are four teams poised to make a deep playoff run.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
A potential matchup with the Nationals should excite fans. Both teams look evenly matched, though I would give the Reds the edge on offense. The Nats have the better pitching.
I envision both the Nats and Reds meeting in the NLCS. Based off recent history, the Nats look better on paper against the Reds.
The Reds struggled on offense early in the season, but improved as the year progressed. This is a different Cincinnati team, but the Nats have the edge in my book.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The most cohesive unit in baseball is still in the hunt for an AL East crown. If the Baltimore Orioles snatch the AL East crown under the noses of the New York Yankees, expect their road to the ALCS to be that much easier.
I envision the Orioles matching up with the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
If the Orioles get in as a wild card, expect some wild scenarios to come up. They could face the Rangers in the ALDS instead of the ALCS, and that would be troublesome.
The AL Wild Card is simply a mess. As good as the Orioles have shown to be, they will struggle in the playoffs as a wild card.
The Yankees have the easiest remaining schedule in terms of winning percentage, but I expect Baltimore to somehow snag the AL East crown.
If so, look out for the Orioles. They don't have the most talent, but their camaraderie and togetherness simply best any other team in baseball.
Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
The reigning ALCS champions are even better in 2012. Last season was great, but this may be the year they win it all.
How are they better? The Rangers are healthier, and their pitching has improved. Yu Darvish and the team's deep collection of pitchers will lead Texas to another ALCS victory.
The Rangers, in my opinion, look like the overwhelming favorite in the AL. Yes, I like the Baltimore Orioles, but the Rangers have the deeper bench and better pitching.
Esteban German is finally gone and replaced with the excellent play of Jurickson Profar.
This is a team destined for its third consecutive World Series appearance.
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
The Washington Nationals are tied for the best record in baseball at 93-61. Is this the best team in baseball? The Rangers will have something to say about that.
The Rangers and Nats should meet in the World Series, but who has the edge? Not sure. The postseason will reveal that, but how great would the 2012 World Series be with these teams in the forefront?
The Nats are solid all around, but they could have some trouble against the Reds. The Rangers, on the other hand, should walk through the AL on their way to a World Series appearance.
Despite the loss of Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals boast a great starting rotation with a nice back end. They have a solid bullpen and an outstanding defense, especially in their infield.
This is a complete baseball team.