MLB Playoff Bracket 2013: Complete Outlook for AL and NL Divisional Series
While the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off the 2013 MLB playoffs with a win over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night, we're far from the end of October.
Get ready for a crazy month of baseball.
Cleveland and Tampa Bay will battle each other Wednesday night for the right to play a best-of division series, but we already know the vast majority of the way the postseason picture has pieced itself together in both the American and National League.
Let's take a look at all four of the Divisional Series below to get baseball fans everywhere prepared for what's to come.
*2013 MLB playoff bracket can be found at MLB.com.
2013 MLB Playoff Picture
(1) Boston Red Sox vs. (4) Cleveland Indians/(5) Tampa Bay Rays
(2) Oakland Athletics vs. (3) Detroit Tigers
(1) St. Louis Cardinals vs. (4) Pittsburgh Pirates
(2) Atlanta Braves vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 AL/NL Divisional Series Schedule
|AL Wild Card||Tampa Bay at Cleveland||Wed. Oct. 2||8 p.m.||TBS|
League Divisional Series
|Game 1||Pittsburgh at St. Louis||Thu. Oct. 3||5 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 2||Pittsburgh at St. Louis||Fri. Oct. 4||1 p.m.||MLBN|
|Game 3||St. Louis at Pittsburgh||Sun. Oct. 6||TBD||TBS|
|Game 4*||St. Louis at Pittsburgh||Mon. Oct. 7||TBD||TBS/MLBN|
|Game 5*||Pittsburgh at St. Louis||Wed. Oct. 9||TBD||TBS|
|Game 1||LA Dodgers at Atlanta||Thu. Oct. 3||8:30 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 2||LA Dodgers at Atlanta||Fri. Oct. 4||6:00 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 3||Atlanta at LA Dodgers||Sun. Oct. 6||TBD||TBS|
|Game 4*||Atlanta at LA Dodgers||Mon. Oct. 7||TBD||TBS/MLBN|
|Game 5*||LA Dodgers at Atlanta||Wed. Oct. 9||TBD||TBS|
|Game 1||AL Wild Card at Boston||Fri. Oct. 4||3 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 2||AL Wild Card at Boston||Sat. Oct. 5||5:30 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 3||Boston at AL Wild Card||Mon. Oct. 7||TBD||TBS/MLBN|
|Game 4*||Boston at AL Wild Card||Tue. Oct. 8||TBD||TBS|
|Game 5*||AL Wild Card at Boston||Thu. Oct. 10||TBD||TBS|
|Game 1||Detroit at Oakland||Fri. Oct. 4||9:30 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 2||Detroit at Oakland||Sat. Oct. 5||9 p.m.||TBS|
|Game 3||Oakland at Detroit||Mon. Oct. 7||TBD||TBS/MLBN|
|Game 4*||Oakland at Detroit||Tue. Oct. 8||TBD||TBS|
|Game 5*||Detroit at Oakland||Thu. Oct. 10||TBD||TBS|
*All 2013 MLB postseason schedule information via MLB.com.
Boston vs. Tampa Bay/Cleveland
The Red Sox will await the results from Wednesday night's Wild Card Game before officially preparing for their ALDS Game 1 matchup, but it appears that Jon Lester will get the ball regardless of the opponent, according to a tweet on The Boston Globe:
Boston will hope that Tampa Bay and Cleveland wear each other out before the winner travels to Fenway Park, where the Sox own a 53-28 record in 2013. No team in the AL has a better home mark than Boston.
It's all part of the club's surprising resurgence, as is the story behind this tweet from Baseball Tonight:
With a few additional days of rest and the experience that comes with having players such as David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, the Red Sox are the clear favorites, regardless of whether they end up facing Cleveland or Tampa Bay.
Oakland vs. Detroit
Every game in this series should be a tight one.
Who wins the AL?
With two teams that boast MVP candidates in Miguel Cabrera and Josh Donaldson, outstanding pitching staffs and impressive managerial efforts, this matchup is, to me, the most intriguing on paper of the four on the schedule.
ESPN's Tim Kurkjian has the series going five games, which would be a repeat performance of the 2012 showdown between the two AL juggernauts.
The Tigers are going to be tough to beat in any series because of their starting pitching, but Oakland has more than enough hurlers and fundamental prowess to hang around with any team in baseball. Expect a thrilling, old-school battle.
St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh
it wouldn't shock anyone who watched the Pirates' 6-2 victory over the Reds on Tuesday night, if the Steel City were still rocking Wednesday morning.
St. Louis awaits Pittsburgh in the NLDS, and the level of familiarity between the two NL Central rivals will be a big talking point in this series after Pittsburgh won the season series between the two teams, 10-9.
However, don't let that empty stat fool you, Pirates fans. St. Louis won 97 games for a reason.
The talent, depth and experience is all there for the Cards. The only thing working against St. Louis appears to be the health of All-Star first baseman Allen Craig, who blasted 13 home runs and had 97 RBI during the regular season.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted to confirm that the diagnosis on Craig was disappointing:
cards rule out allen craig for nlds only so far. has lisfranc injury. would need alltime recuperative powers to make nlcs— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) September 27, 2013
The Pirates are clearly the hot-button team in baseball heading into the playoffs, but that will hardly scare manager Mike Matheny and the Cardinals, who have home-field advantage and a 54-27 record at Busch Stadium in 2013. Only Atlanta (56-25) was better at home.
Meanwhile, the Pirates were one of baseball's best road teams at 44-37. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch expects this to be a tight series where the slightest of mistakes could turn the tide in the other team's favor.
Atlanta vs. Los Angeles
Atlanta is baseball's best home team and has home-field advantage against baseball's co-best road team in Los Angeles with a matchup featuring stars on both sides of the diamond.
All eyes will be on the Dodgers' young stars, namely starting pitcher and Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw. As noted by ESPN.com's Stats & Info, Kershaw's year has been nothing short of incredible:
Our post on Clayton Kershaw's historic season (1.83 ERA; 3rd straight ERA title) http://t.co/qrYgOlLJgW— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2013
Another star to watch is Yasiel Puig. JHow will the Cuban youngster respond in drinking from his first postseason punch bowl against the Braves? MLB's Twitter account expects him to welcome the spotlight:
Atlanta will have no problem in averting some of the big-time attention to the Dodgers, especially considering that Atlanta hasn't made it out of the NLDS since 2001.
Big-time expectations abound for both clubs. The Braves will try to win with consistency on the mound and timely hitting while the Dodgers will use their patented flashy style to score runs early in support of their strong starting pitching.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.
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