With the MLB Playoff schedule now set, we know exactly which teams will clash and where the encounters will happen.
Of course, the first obstacle in the postseason still remains, and Friday will determine which of the Wild Card teams progresses in the competition, sifting out the wheat from the chaff.
At this stage of the season, statistics can often count for little and any sense of security can be replaced by fears of an underdog victory.
All times listed are in Eastern Time.
AL Wild Card Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers
When: Friday, October 5 at 8:30 p.m.
Baltimore will be all too aware of just how well they were beaten by Texas in the regular season, and while revenge may be on their minds, it will be most certainly difficult to come by.
For the Orioles, this will be their first postseason appearance since 1997, compared to the Rangers who are considerably more experienced when it comes to the matter.
Texas manager Ron Washington has led his side to the Playoffs in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He will lead with Yu Darvish from the mound when these two teams collide.
The Rangers were inches away from claiming the American League West crown before losing to the Oakland Athletics in the final game of the season. They have an opportunity to set their wrongs right on Friday and are likely to go ahead and do just that.
Baltimore's Manny Machado has been a breath of fresh air since coming into the lineup during August, and the bullpen is a potentially strong part of the team. However, a lack of pitching will undoubtedly come back to bite this year’s underdogs.
NL Wild Card Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
When: Friday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m.
The defending Series champions were somewhat manhandled by the Atlanta Braves in the regular season, and the Cardinals will need to reverse the tide if they’re to resist another mauling.
Atlanta's Chipper Jones announced back in March that he would be retiring at the end of the 2012 season, and if the 40-year-old wants to go out on a high, a win over St. Louis is the right way to go about doing it.
Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman could present a serious problem to the Cardinals' pitching—meaning lefty Marc Rzepczynski is likely to be utilised.
The Braves have established themselves as one of, if not the, best defensive teams in baseball. According to Baseball-Reference.com, they have saved 103 more extra runs as a team than the average defensive player this year.
When compared with the Cardinals in defence, the cracks begin to emerge and a repeat of the regular season result will be what most are expecting on Friday.
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