MLB Playoffs: Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds Will Collapse After Fast Starts

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIOctober 8, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 06: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers waves to the crowd after leaving the game at the end of the seventh inning during Game One of the American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park on October 6, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 3-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

With the playoffs well underway, there have been some quick starts for teams.

The Tigers and Reds are on the verge of sweeps, with both teams up 2-0.

Arguably two of the hotter teams coming into the playoffs—the Orioles and Cardinals—were cooled down in Game 1 losses.

A lot of these playoff spots came down to the wire, and you could make an argument for all of these teams being "hot," but fast starts don't always work out.

Those who remember the 2007 Colorado Rockies know this. They came into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in baseball history, posting a 20-8 record in September and winning game 163 over the San Diego Padres.

They then swept their first two playoff opponents, making it to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Of course, they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.

It makes for some exciting baseball when hot teams meet, but with so many hot teams in 2012 some are bound to fail.


Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have looked strong so far throughout the playoffs. They handled Oakland pretty well in Game 1 and stole a ninth inning victory in Game 2.

But now Detroit heads to Oakland, where the A's have a huge advantage. Oakland was 50-31 at home in 2012, outscoring opponents 342-282.

For games three and four, it's most likely that Oakland trots out starters Brett Anderson and A.J. Griffin. Combined, they were 11-3 on the season with a 2.82 ERA.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are forced to turn to their two most inconsistent pitchers in Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer.

If the A's can win the next two, momentum will be on their side for Game 3—where we'll see a Game 1 rematch of Verlander vs. Parker. Parker has been lights out at home, while Verlander has seen some struggles on the road.

At that point I think the can A's put away this Tigers squad.

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore came into the playoffs hot, and it showed when they manhandled the Rangers 5-1 in the one game wildcard matchup.

Then they hit a wall, losing to the New York Yankees 2-7 in Game 1 of the ALDS. C.C. Sabathia was very good against the O's lineup, and the Bronx Bombers embarrassed Baltimore closer Jim Johnson in the ninth.

The Orioles have already dug themselves a hole, and things may be tough to turn around.

The deeper their rotation goes, the shakier it gets. The Yankees get stronger, and even if they split in Baltimore, they then travel to Yankee Stadium.

If the Yanks can score seven on the road, how many are they going to put up in their hitter-haven of a home?

Baltimore entered these playoffs as a good story, but I just don't see them finishing the job.

Cincinnati Reds

Up 2-0 against the San Francisco Giants, I don't see the Reds faltering yet. In fact, I think they complete the sweep, racing into the NLCS where I predict they'll end up facing the Nationals.

If that is how things work out, then these are two very complete teams who will be facing off with one another.

They have strong rotations, powerful lineups, and shutdown bullpens. So how do you find an advantage?

For starters, the Reds may be without ace Johnny Cueto. He left the first inning of Game 1 with back spasms. That could be something that he bounces right back from or something that nags him for a while.

Also, the Nats just seem like the better team.

Cincinnati was No. 2 in ERA and No. 3 in home runs in the National League. Washington was No. 1 and No. 2 in those categories.

These teams are close, but one is better and that's Washington.

It'll be a great battle, but I see the Reds losing their momentum in the NLCS.