MLB Playoff Bracket 2013: Breaking Down Wild Card and Divisional Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the game on September 25, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Bring on the playoffs.

With a memorable baseball season in the books, eight teams still have dreams of World Series glory to chase, and the parity in this year's postseason is impressive. Just seven wins separates these eight teams, and just five wins separates the particularly tight American League. 

Let's take a closer look at how the wild card and divisional rounds will play out.

 

Wild Card Round

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Jason Kipnis #22 and Nick Swisher #33 of the Cleveland Indians celebrate a win of the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 29, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 5-1 and
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Any one-game playoff is incredibly difficult to predict, because, well, it's baseball, and crazy things can completely affect the outcome of a single game. 

In the National League, each team has certain advantages. The Pittsburgh Pirates are at home, for instance, and went 11-8 against the Cincinnati Reds (including a three-game sweep to end the season). The momentum lies with the Pirates.

But momentum in baseball is the next day's starting pitcher, and for the Reds, that falls on Johnny Cueto, who has pitched just twice since going on the disabled list in June. Meanwhile, the Pirates will go with Francisco Liriano, their ace this year.

Everything points to Pittsburgh in this one. 

In the American League, the Indians come into this game red-hot, having won 10 in a row and 15 of their last 17. They'll avoid David Price after he pitched against the Texas Rangers on Monday and Matt Moore as well, though Alex Cobb did beat them in April. 

Still, I like the Indians to survive the one-game series. 

Prediction: Pirates and Indians move on.

 

Divisional Series

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 25:  Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox and Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate as they scored on a double by David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox off of starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin #45 of the Colorado Rock
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers are my World Series pick, so I have to stick to my guns here. For as solid as the Athletics rotation is, I don't think Oakland has an answer for Detroit's top three of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez.

Add in the fact that nobody in baseball has an answer for Miguel Cabrera, and I see the Tigers winning in five.

The Indians have had a wonderful season, but their run will end against the Boston Red Sox. Boston has too much balance in its lineup and a good enough rotation to get past an Indians team that is only going to get better as their young stars gain experience. Boston takes it in four. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to handle the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta can't match LA's one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, though the Braves bullpen is excellent. Oh, and before you worry about Matt Kemp being shelved for the duration of the season, remember that the Dodgers were 42-8 without him this year.

The Dodgers win in four. 

Finally, we turn to the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, with Pittsburgh holding the slightest of advantages in the season series, 10-9. The balance of the Cardinals is pretty impressive, and having Adam Wainwright potentially for Game 1 and Game 5 could be the difference. 

The Pirates have an excellent pitching staff, but would it be enough to quiet the bats of the dangerous Cardinals? St. Louis is plenty familiar with the postseason, and that experience gives the Cards the edge here. They take it in five.

Prediction: Tigers, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals advance.

 

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Dodger Stadium on September 27, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Here's a full look at the bracket and schedule for this year's postseason:


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).

 

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter