MLB Playoff Predictions 2012: World Series Odds for Every Team

John AltamuraContributor IIOctober 4, 2012

MLB Playoff Predictions 2012: World Series Odds for Every Team

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    There will be a ton of storylines to follow this postseason. Will the New York Yankees make it back to the World Series for the first time since 2009? Will the Orioles and the Washington Nationals continue their fairytale seasons and meet up in an "all-beltway" World Series? 

    These are some of the questions that will ultimately be answered as we gear up for postseason play.

    Here are the 10 playoff participants and the odds for each of them to make the 2012 Fall Classic.

Baltimore Orioles, 93-69, AL Wild Card

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    The Buck Showalter-led Baltimore Orioles surprised the baseball world this season by not just contending, but going head-to-head with the New York Yankees. The Orioles narrowly missed out on winning the AL East title by two games.

    How will Buck's boys fare after being absent from the playoffs for the last 15 years?

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The most favorable playoff matchup on paper for the Orioles would be the Yankees. This is because both teams are so familiar with each other.  

    The Orioles split their season series (9-9) and played well (6-3) on the road at Yankee Stadium. This bodes well for the Orioles if they wind up meeting up with the Yankees in the ALDS.

    The only caveat here is that Camden Yards historically draws a lot of Yankees fans. If the Orioles fail to defend their home turf from their neighbors up I-95, it will certainly negate any home-field advantage.

     

    Worst Playoff Matchup

    The Orioles will face the Texas Rangers on Friday night in Arlington. Statistically speaking, this would not be a favorable matchup for Baltimore, as they went 2-5 against the Rangers this season, being outscored 56-24.

     

    Playoff Experience

    There are a handful of guys on the Orioles (J.J Hardy, Jim Thome, Joe Saunders) who have limited playoff experience. They will have to guide newcomers such as Adam Jones through the postseason rigors. Showalter has some playoff managerial experience, but not in the good sense. He lost in the wild-card round in 1995 with the Yankees, and in the NLDS in 1999 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. 


    Momentum

    The Orioles were strong down the stretch, posting a 19-9 record in September. Losing two out of three to the Tampa Bay Rays may have slowed them down a bit, but not too much.  


    Injury Factors

    Nick Markakis' thumb still leaves him doubtful for the postseason.  


    Conclusion

    The Orioles have been one of the fun teams to watch this season. Their one-game wild-card matchup against the two-time defending AL champion Rangers will be a tall order to overcome. However, the Rangers are reeling, and the Orioles have played relatively well of late. Should be a close game Friday night. 


    Odds to make World Series: 6 to 1

New York Yankees, 95-67, AL East Champions

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    The New York Yankees have been a model of postseason consistency for almost two decades. This year is no exception, as the Yankees qualified for the playoffs for the 18th time in the last 19 years.

    The 2012 Yankees have faced much adversity on the path to the postseason. They lost Mariano Rivera in May to an Achilles injury and have had a slew of key players spend time on the disabled list.

    Still, the Yankees have persevered and find themselves with home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. 

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    This one is hard to say, because the Yankees have lost to the Detroit Tigers (2006,'11) and the Texas Rangers (2010) in the postseason. Statistically, their best record this season against any of the AL playoff opponents was against Detroit (6-4).

    With all things considered, right now, the Yankees' best matchup would be against the Rangers. Historically, with 2010 being the exception, the Yankees have owned the Rangers in the postseason. They also have the ability to match the Rangers toe-to-toe in the run-production department. 

    Also, there is no Cliff Lee to deal with this time around.

     

    Worst Playoff Matchup

    This one is a toss-up between the Oakland A's and the Tigers.

    The Yankees have historically played poorly against the Tigers in the playoffs. They don't match up well against them either, as the Tigers are very right-handed heavy in their lineup.

    Oakland steamrolled to the AL West crown and will pose a formidable task for everyone in the AL including the Yankees.

     

    Playoff Experience

    The Yankees are loaded with playoff experience at every position.


    Momentum

    The Yankees are 20-11 since Sept 1. They just outscored the Boston Red Sox in a three-game sweep by a margin of 28-7. 


    Injury Factors

    The Yankees will not have the "great" Mariano this postseason. Mark Teixeira has been dealing with calf issues but seems to be ready to go.

     

    Conclusion

    The Yankees seem to be flying under the radar this season. It's been a tough road for them, as they have lost just about every key player on the roster for a significant amount of time. The real question is whether or not Derek Jeter and company will be able to continue persevering through October.  

    A healthy CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte also should provide a lethal one-two punch in these short series contests.

     

    Odds to make World Series: 3 to 1

Detroit Tigers, 88-74, AL Central Champions

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    It's been a unique season to say the least for Detroit Tigers fans.

    Miguel Cabrera became the first player since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to capture the Triple Crown.

    If that wasn't enough, the Tigers were able to overcome a late-season AL Central deficit and overtake the Chicago White Sox for the division title.

    Will all this good karma propel the Tigers to their first World Championship since 1984?

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The Tigers have had success against both the New York Yankees and the Oakland A's in the playoffs. In recent years, the Tigers have beaten the Yankees twice (2006, '11) and the A's once (2006). This season, the Tigers were 4-3 during their regular-season matchup against Oakland.

     

    Worst Playoff Matchup

    The Tigers want to avoid the Texas Rangers at all costs. Not only did the Rangers eliminate them from the postseason in 2011 (lost in ALCS 4-2), but they dominated the season series, going 7-3 and outscoring them 59-44. 


    Playoff Experience

    The Tigers have a bevy of players with postseason experience. All of their key contributors (Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder) have at least one playoff series under their collective belts.  


    Momentum

    The Tigers are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They recorded a .573 winning percentage (43-32) during the second half of the season.  


    Injury Factors

    Max Scherzer is battling an ankle issue but seems to be OK.


    Commentary

    The Cabrera Triple Crown achievement is a remarkable story within itself. Will his all-around excellence be contagious for Tigers hitters?

    Verlander will be tough as always in a short series. The real question is how will Scherzer and Rich Porcello fare in the games Verlander doesn't pitch? 

    The Tigers get a favorable ALDS matchup against the A's.

    It just may be their year.

     

    Odds to make World Series: 2 to 1

Oakland A’s, 94-68, AL West Champions

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    The Oakland A's seem to be a team with a mission this season.

    The improbable A's, with a roster of non-household names such as Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, stampeded through the second half of the season with a torrid .667 winning percentage. 

    Their meteoric climb to the top of the AL West standings culminated with a season-ending three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, erasing what was once a 13-game deficit.

    The A's now enter the playoffs with an opportunity to return to the World Series for the first time since 1990.

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The Rangers for obvious reasons.  


    Worst Playoff Matchup

    Any team in the eastern time zone.  

    The Yankees would prove to be a difficult matchup due to the fact that they score a ton of runs. The A's were toward the bottom of the majors in both batting average (.238) and on-base percentage (.310). 


    Playoff Experience

    Stephen Drew and Coco Crisp will need to lead a very inexperienced A's team.  


    Momentum

    The A's tore through the second half of the season at a .667 clip. They are the team with the most momentum entering the postseason.  


    Injury Factors

    No major injuries of note.

     

    Commentary

    The A's will enter the division series with a lot of momentum as they face the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Saturday night.

    The biggest question for the A's is whether or not their young starting pitching staff led by Jerrod Parker and Tommy Milone can tame the dangerous Tigers lineup. If they can, they could quite possibly continue this improbable run right into the World Series.

     

    Odds to make World Series: 6 to 1

Washington Nationals, 98-64, NL East Champions

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    It must be deja vu all over again for Washington Nationals skipper Davey Johnson.

    He was in a similar position in 1986 when he led a highly talented group of precocious New York Mets to a world championship.

    The 69-year-old veteran now faces a similar challenge for a team and a city that has not enjoyed any success whatsoever in the sport of baseball.

    Will rookie phenom Bryce Harper do his best Mr. October impression? Will leaving Stephen Strasberg off the postseason roster be a decision that ultimately dooms the Nationals' postseason hopes?

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    Washington dominated the season series against both the Cincinnati Reds (5-2) and the San Francisco Giants (5-1). The Nats swept the Giants in July, outscoring them 24-12 in the three-game set. Washington had its way with the Reds in two series before the end of May.  

     

    Worst Playoff Matchup

    The Braves would pose the biggest threat to the Nationals. Their regular-season record against Atlanta is good (10-8), but they could have some difficulties with a pitching staff that put up a stingy 3.44 ERA during the 2012 season.  


    Playoff Experience

    Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche are the two players on the Nationals with the most tangible postseason experience.  


    Momentum

    The Nats have been consistently good throughout the season. They don't enter the postseason on either a high or a low. Even keel. 

     

    Injury Factors

    None.


    Commentary

    The Nats enter the playoffs with the NL's best record and guaranteed home-field advantage through the World Series.

    A couple of crucial questions will dictate how this postseason turns out for Washington.

    Will the decision to shelf Strasberg for the postseason come back to haunt the Nationals? A lot of pressure and emphasis will be placed on 21-game winner Gio Gonzales. It will also be interesting to see how Harper fares in his first October.

    The Nats have the talent to go deep into the postseason, but they will have to continue the consistency they exhibited during the first 162 games. If they can, they may be the odds-on favorite to represent the National League in the Fall Classic. 

     

    Odds to make World Series: 2 to 1

Cincinnati Reds, 97-65, NL Central Champions

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    The Cincinnati Reds enter the 2012 postseason narrowly missing out on the best record in the National League. Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto and company open up the NL divisional round Saturday night against the San Francisco Giants.

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The Reds had the most statistical success against the Atlanta Braves. They went 5-1 against the Braves, outscoring them 21-15. They also had mild success against the Giants, splitting a four-game series at AT&T Park last May.  


    Worst Playoff Matchup

    Cincinnati did not fare well against the Washington Nationals. They went 2-5 against them during the regular season, getting outscored 29-25.  


    Playoff Experience

    The Reds return to the postseason after a two-year hiatus. There are several Reds (Brandon Phillips and Votto) who were members of the 2010 squad who qualified for postseason play.  


    Momentum

    The Reds glided through the second half at a .658 clip. They wound up winning the division by nine games over the St. Louis Cardinals. They don't enter the postseason on a hot streak, losing two out of three to the Cardinals to conclude the regular season.  


    Injury Factors

    Both Phillips and Ryan Ludwick have been dealing with minor day-to-day injuries. Reds skipper Dusty Baker returned from a mini-stroke this week. He seems to be good to go to manage the divisional series. 

     

    Conclusion

    The Reds relied on Cueto's arm and a strong bullpen led by Aroldis Chapman to capture the NL Central crown. Pitching should not be a problem for the Reds, as they finished fourth in the NL with a 3.34 cumulative team ERA.  

    The real question may be whether or not Votto and company will be able to score enough runs to complement their stellar pitching staff. Jay Bruce and Phillips need to have strong series if the Reds have any shot at making it back to the World Series for the first time since 1990.  


    Odds to make World Series: 3 to 1

San Francisco Giants, 94-68, NL West Champions

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    The 2012 incarnation of the San Francisco Giants was led by Comeback Player of the Year and NL MVP candidate Buster Posey.

    The Giants were able to fend off the newly invigorated Los Angeles Dodgers to capture the NL West crown. This was accomplished without much of a contribution from former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

    The Giants enter the postseason with hopes of capturing their second world championship in the last three years.

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The Giants had some success against the Atlanta Braves this season, going 4-3 and outscoring them 34-26. They also were able to beat the Braves in the 2010 NLDS on their way to capturing their first world championship since 1954.  


    Worst Playoff Matchup

    The Giants had a tough time playing the Washington Nationals this season. They posted a 1-5 record against them and were outscored 45-24. Giants lefties had a hard time dealing with players such as Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman.  


    Playoff Experience

    The Giants return several players from the 2010 squad who won it all.

    Momentum

    The Giants coasted through the second half with a 48-28 record. That consistent play was one of the contributing factions to their capture of the NL West crown from the Dodgers.  


    Injury Factors

    San Francisco will be healthy entering the playoffs.    


    Commentary

    It will come down to consistent play if the Giants have any chance of capturing their second title in the last three years. Santiago Casilla, along with Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez will try to replicate the postseason successes of the injured closer Brian Wilson.

    The Giants come into the postseason with a balanced attack. They finished 2012 in the top 10 in batting average (.269), on-base percentage (.327) and team ERA (3.68).

     

    Odds to make World Series: 3 to 1

St. Louis Cardinals, 88-74, NL Wild Card

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    The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals will have a tall order in store for them if they are going to replicate their October successes from a year ago. In order to repeat, St. Louis will have to win a do-or-die wild-card game this Friday against the Atlanta Braves.

    First-year skipper Mike Matheny has done an admirable job keeping the Cardinals together through a season of ups and downs.

     

    Best Playoff Matchup

    The Cardinals didn't fare better than .500 against any of the NL playoff teams. Their best matchup, based on familiarity, would be the Cincinnati Reds.  


    Worst Playoff Matchup

    The Cardinals will have to find a way to defeat the Braves Friday in the one-game wild-card playoff. They lost the season series, 1-5, and lost two out of three at Turner Field in May.  


    Playoff Experience

    St. Louis returns quite a few playoff veterans from last year's championship run. Offseason acquisition Carlos Beltran also has had some playoff success. His .435 BA in the 2004 playoffs helped secure him a large free-agent payday with the New York Mets.  


    Momentum

    The Cardinals are 7-3 over the past 10 games. They enter the playoffs with a little bit of steam. 


    Injury Factors

    The Cardinals will be without Rafael Furcal for their playoff game on Friday. 


    Commentary

    The defending champs have quite a hill to climb if they are going to return to the Fall Classic. A win in Atlanta Friday would at least give them a chance. One thing is for sure: The Cardinals do score runs (765 during the regular season) and will need to continue this trend if they have any shot of escaping their wild-card date with Atlanta. 

     

    Odds to make World Series: 6 to 1


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