The 2012 MLB Playoffs are on the horizon, and with one game left in the regular season, no one knows for sure who will be playing who this October.
We do know this much: The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Atlanta Braves in a one-game, win-or-go-home playoff at Turner Field Friday night. The winner is off to the NLDS to face the National League's best team (Washington or Cincinnati).
With so much uncertainty coming into Wednesday night, we'll have to settle for some good old-fashioned speculation.
Let's take a look at a pair of division series in each league with the most to offer fans this fall.
American League: Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
The AL Central champions, plenty of Miguel Cabrera and the surging A's? Sign me up.
Assuming the New York Yankees win and clinch the AL East on Wednesday night, if Oakland can beat the Texas Rangers and win the AL West then they'll play the Detroit Tigers in a best-of-five ALDS series.
Detroit took four of seven from Oakland this season, two wins coming on the road in Oakland. That's important to note considering that the A's would have home-field advantage in this series.
Without a doubt, Triple Crown hopeful Miguel Cabrera would be the player to watch in this series. Coming into the last night of the regular season, Cabrera is batting .331 with 139 RBI and 44 homers. Just imagine the chess match between Miggy and the Oakland pitching staff.
National League: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals
Who wouldn't want to see the defending World Series champions take on the sizzling NL East champions. Washington took the division by storm this season and boasts the 19-year-old sensation, Bryce Harper.
The teenager will be a can't-miss star this postseason. Harper has 22 home runs and 59 RBI coming into Wednesday's regular season finale.
In order for this exciting NLDS series to come to fruition, the Cardinals will have to beat the Braves on Friday, and of course the Nationals must beat out the Reds for the NL's best record.
Playoff Bracket, Scenarios
The best record in both the American and National League are up for grabs Wednesday night. With that said, the playoff picture is still very blurry.
In the AL, four different teams, the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers can finish with the best record, but New York can clinch the best record by earning their 95th win of the season. The Detroit Tigers will await the division champion with the second-best record in the AL.
Those four aforementioned teams could all wind up in the one-game Wild Card playoff Friday night. It would be Texas traveling to Baltimore if the season ended on Wednesday.
The National League is much less complicated, however.
In the NL, the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds are fighting for the top overall record, while the San Francisco Giants await the one that finishes with the second-best record. In the one-game Wild Card playoff, the St. Louis Cardinals will travel to Atlanta to play the Braves on Friday night. The winner will head to either DC or Cincinnati to open up their NLDS series.
All four division series are best-of-five, while the ALCS, NLCS and World Series are best-of-seven series. The NL will home-field advantage in the World Series have after winning the All-Star Game this past summer.
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