MLB Postseason Schedule 2012: 3 Teams with the Toughest Playoff Road

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVOctober 6, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 3:  Reliever Sam Freeman #61 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on October 3, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The 2012 MLB Playoffs are shaping up to be among the best ever.

The road to the World Series isn't easy for any team, especially since the MLB playoffs are set up so only five teams per league are allowed in. But these teams will have an increasingly difficult time when they look ahead and see who they'll be facing.

Let's take a look at the teams that will have the toughest roads to the World Series.


Baltimore Orioles

After battling the New York Yankees all season in the AL East leaderboards, you can bet that the Baltimore Orioles would've hoped to avoid the Yanks in the ALDS.

Well, they weren't so fortunate.

They beat the odds by grinding out a tough win in the Wild Card play-in game against the Texas Rangers and stifled a scorching offense.  Now they'll have to turn around and face CC Sabathia. 

Sabathia is 16-4 all-time against the O's, but two of those losses came this season. 

No one is doubting that the Orioles have a big chance to make some noise and win the World Series, but it'll be a tough.


St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis had to start the playoffs in as bad of a situation as anyone, a single-elimination game on the road against the Atlanta Braves.

Now, the Cardinals will have to face a Washington Nationals team that was, undoubtedly, the NL's best team throughout the course of the season.

The Cardinals may have received some help from the gods of baseball, as a controversial infield-fly call played a role in their 6-3 win.

But there's no doubting that they were the better looking team that day, despite an electric atmosphere in a city that wasn't ready to let Jones play his last game.

After the type of season that they went through in 2011 and the adversity that they overcame, don't expect this rough road ahead of them to phase them one bit.

They'll be ready to play.


Cincinnati Reds

The Reds looked like they were going to run away with the National League during many moments of the season, but they still have their work cut out for them to get out of a tough NL pennant race.

They open up against the San Francisco Giants, who look ready and willing to put their 2011 woes behind them and get back to the team that won the 2010 World Series.

Even if they get through the pesky Giants, the Reds have to face either the Cards or the Nats, who both look like they're shaping up for a big-time run.