MLB Playoff Schedule 2013: Ranking Most Compelling Possible Divisional Series

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

BOSTON, MA - MAY 26: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after hitting a double in the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park on May 26, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

With two additional teams making the MLB playoffs these days, fans have the opportunity to root for the matchups they hope to see during the wild-card play-in games. 

Which got me to thinking—which matchups would I be most excited about seeing (including the divisional series already set in stone)? What compelling storylines or rivalries do I want to see played out on the October stage?

I'll share my picks below, including the full postseason schedule to follow. Be sure to include your thoughts in the comments.

 

*Watch postseason baseball live on TBS.com or your mobile device.

 

6. Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals

While the divisional rivalry aspect of this matchup would add to the intensity, there wouldn't be that many intriguing storylines here, right? Neither team is an upstart, there isn't a long and intense history of hatred between the clubs and neither team has too many players who move the needle.

It would be good, solid baseball, but it's the least compelling matchup for the average fan. 

 

5. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox

Anytime you get a chance to see an AL East rivalry, it's a good thing. The Red Sox were one of the most surprising teams in baseball this year, while the Rays and manager Joe Maddon keep finding their way to the postseason.

Still, there are four series that would bring more intrigue to the table than this matchup. 

 

4. Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: Starling Marte #6 and Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate after scoring runs in the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game at Great American Ball Park on September 27, 2013 in Cincinnat
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Outside of Cincinnati, everyone is rooting for the Pirates to win the play-in game, right? We'd all love to see the team mired in years upon years of futility get a full playoff series, right?

The Pirates have a start in Andrew McCutchen, a masher in Pedro Alvarez and one of the most solid pitching staffs in all of baseball. Add in a recent legacy of failure, and you have America's darlings in this postseason should they advance past Cincinnati. 

 

3. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

It turns out a series we are guaranteed to see is also one of the most compelling options. Both of these teams bring serious star power to the table and made headlines for dramatically improving before the season began.

In the Dodgers, you get Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Braves counter with Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann, Craig Kimbrel and Kris Medlen. 

The Braves won the season series, five games to two. Can they keep up their winning ways against LA with the pressure on?

 

2. Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Nick Swisher #33 and manager Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate a win against the Minnesota Twins on September 29, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 5-1 and cl
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

C'mon, everyone wants to see Terry Francona face his old team after his unceremonious firing from the Red Sox in 2011 following the great "fried chicken" debacle. Now, he returns with a young, exciting Indians team that has the bats to hang with the equally dangerous Red Sox lineup.

The "return of Francona" storyline would get old fast, but beyond that, two of the best offenses in the American League would slug their way to a fun ALDS. 

 

1. Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics

From a purely baseball-driven perspective, this is the matchup I'm most intrigued to see. 

Any chance to watch Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer is exciting enough, but the chance to see a rematch of last year's five-game ALDS?

Sign me up. The Athletics don't have the star power of the Tigers, but they are one of the game's most balanced teams. You can bet this will once again be an excellent matchup and one that should go the full five games. 

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 24: Miguel Cabrera #24 and Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate a win of the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 24, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twin 4-2. (Pho
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Here's the full MLB postseason schedule:

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
NL Wild CardCincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh PiratesTue, Oct. 18 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
NL Wild Card

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
AL Wild CardTampa Bay Rays @ Cleveland IndiansWed, Oct. 28 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com 
AL Wild Card

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1NL Wild Card @ St. Louis CardinalsThu, Oct. 35 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com 
Game 2NL Wild Card @ St. Louis CardinalsFri, Oct. 41 p.m.MLBNPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3St. Louis Cardinals @ NL Wild CardSun, Oct. 6TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*St. Louis Cardinals @ NL Wild CardMon, Oct. 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*NL Wild Card @ St. Louis CardinalsWed, Oct. 9TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
NLDS A

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesThu, Oct. 38:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesFri, Oct. 46 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles DodgersSun, Oct. 6TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles DodgersMon, Oct. 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta BravesWed, Oct. 9TBDTBS 
NLDS B

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1AL Wild Card @ Boston Red SoxFri, Oct. 43 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2AL Wild Card @ Boston Red SoxSat, Oct. 55:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Boston Red Sox @ AL Wild CardMon, Oct. 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Boston Red Sox@ AL Wild CardTue, Oct. 8TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*AL Wild Card @ Boston Red SoxThu, Oct. 10TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
ALDS A

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1Detroit Tigers @ Oakland AthleticsFri, Oct. 49:30 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2Detroit Tigers @ Oakland AthleticsSat, Oct. 59 p.m.TBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3Oakland Athletics @ Detroit TigersMon, Oct. 7TBDTBS or MLBN***Postseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4*Oakland Athletics @ Detroit TigersTue, Oct. 8TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*Detroit Tigers @ Oakland AthleticsThu, Oct. 10TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
ALDS B

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1TBD @ TBDFri, Oct. 11TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 2TBD @ TBDSat, Oct. 12TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 3TBD @ TBDMon, Oct. 14TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 4TBD @ TBDTue, Oct. 15TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 5*TBD @ TBDWed, Oct. 16TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 6*TBD @ TBDFri, Oct. 18TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
Game 7*TBD @ TBDSat, Oct. 19TBDTBSPostseason.TVTBS.com
NLCS

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1TBD @ TBDSat, Oct. 12TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 2TBD @ TBDSun, Oct. 13TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 3TBD @ TBDTue, Oct. 15TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 4TBD @ TBDWed, Oct. 16TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 5*TBD @ TBDThu, Oct. 17TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 6*TBD @ TBDSat, Oct. 19TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 7*TBD @ TBDSun, Oct. 20TBDFOXPostseason.TV 
ALCS

 

GameMatchupDateTime (ET)TVStreaming
Game 1NL Champion @ AL ChampionWed, Oct. 23TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 2NL Champion @ AL ChampionThu, Oct. 24TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 3AL Champion @ NL ChampionSat, Oct. 26TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 4AL Champion @ NL ChampionSun, Oct. 27TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 5*AL Champion @ NL ChampionMon, Oct. 28TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 6*NL Champion @ AL ChampionWed, Oct. 30TBDFOXPostseason.TV
Game 7*NL Champion @ AL ChampionThu, Oct. 31TBDFOXPostseason.TV
World Series
* If necessary

*** "TBS will air three of the four Division Series games on Friday, October 4 and up to three games on Monday, October 7. MLB Network will air one Division Series game on both of those dates. TBS will air 18 of the 20 Division Series games" (via MLB.com).

 

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