Baseball

MLB Playoff Bracket 2013: Bold Predictions for Wild Card Round

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 1: Shortstop Yunel Escobar #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays is unable to tag Mike Aviles #4 of the Cleveland Indians as he steals second during the fourth inning at Progressive Field on June 1, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 2, 2013

Does anyone still think the expansion of Major League Baseball's playoffs was a bad idea? The drama this has helped provide in the final days of the season and will provide in the Wild Card Round has been and is great for fans. 

Saying this Wild Card Round is going to provide some great theater is not one of my bold predictions. That is almost just stating a matter of fact at this point. 

I'll try to make my following predictions a little more revelatory. Below my predictions, you will be able to find the bracket and schedule for this year's postseason. 

 

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

 

National League Wild Card Round

Matchup: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Start time: Tuesday, Oct.1, 8:07 p.m. ET

TV: TBS

Probable Starters: Johnny Cueto (5-2, 2.82 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02 ERA)

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  Fans arrive for the National League Wild Card game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

 

Predictions

Liriano Will Shine 

Francisco Liriano has gone through a massive revitalization since debuting with the Pirates back in May. Not only did he pick up 16 wins, but he did so while racking up more than a strikeout per inning.

What's even more pertinent, and frightening for the Reds, is Liriano's performance at PNC Park.

At PNC, the 29-year-old lefty went 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA in his 11 starts there. 

He will improve those home numbers in this huge start. Liriano will go eight innings, allow one earned run, four hits and strike out eight. 

 

Pirates Win, 3-1

The Reds have their work cut out for them. Liriano is going to handcuff the Reds' powerful lefties, and it will be hard for Cincinnati to remember it can beat this team. 

The Reds were swept by the Pirates to end the season and were outscored 16-6 in those three games. Cueto will help keep Cincinnati in this game, but it won't be enough to earn him a win. 

 

2013 American League Wild Card Round

Matchup: Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians (93-70)

Start Time: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 8:07 p.m. ET

TV: TBS

Probable Starters: Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA) vs. Danny Salazar (2-3, 3.12 ERA)

 

Prediction

Cleveland Will Win with a Walk-off

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates with champagne in the clubhouse with teammates after a win of the game against the Minnesota Twins on September 29, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The In
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Eleven times this season, the Indians have authored walk-off wins while playing at Progressive Field. They are going to add a 12th in the bright lights of the playoffs. 

It is impossible to see this game coming down to anything else. These two teams are evenly matched and win in similar ways. They are both also red-hot. The Rays impressively won 8 of 10 to finish the season, and the Tribe have been good enough to scoff at that .800 winning percentage. 

Cleveland went unblemished over its final 10 games, and posted a plus-33 run differential in that span. 

However, they also have Danny Salazar, and the 23-year-old will be making just his 11th start in the majors for the game. Welcome to the show, kid.

Still, Salazar has the stuff. He proved that much by holding the Tigers to to four runs over 13.2 innings and posting a 15/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his two starts against that strong lineup. 

I expect Salazar to give up a few runs early. That has been a problem for him this year, and I can't see him tackling that in this setting. However, he will rebound to keep this game close, and that is when the resilient Tribe will win in their last at-bat. 

Indians win, 5-4. 

 

 

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