After months of anticipation, the 2013 MLB playoffs have finally begun. Only the elite remain, as the pursuit of the World Series is a not only upon us, but taking shape in a way that few predicted at the beginning of the season.
Watch postseason baseball live on TBS.com or your mobile device.
The postseason began with a bang, as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 to advance to the National League Division Series. The win marked the Pirates' first postseason victory since 1992, displaying just how unpredictable the playoffs can be.
The only question at this point is where you can watch the unthinkable continue to transpire.
*Watch postseason baseball live on TBS.com or your mobile device.
Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
Game 1: at Oakland on Friday, Oct. 4 at 9:37 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 2: at Oakland on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9:07 p.m. on TBS
Game 3: at Detroit on Monday, Oct. 7 on TBS/MLB Network
Game 4 (if necessary): at Detroit on Tuesday, Oct. 8 on TBS
Game 5 (if necessary): at Oakland on Thursday, Oct. 10 on TBS
The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics enter the ALDS as two elite teams who have reached the playoffs in entirely different manners. The Tigers have one of the most star-studded rosters in all of professional sports, while the Athletics are a relatively starless team.
Fortunately, a mismatch in star power doesn't mean a mismatch on the field.
Oakland has been extraordinarily balanced, ranking in the top 10 in runs scored, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, WHIP, opponent batting average, ERA and quality starts. Brandon Moss bashed 30 home runs, Josh Donaldson hit .301 and Bartolo Colon had 18 wins, but this was another year of unusual suspects stepping up.
Billy Beane has done it again.
The Tigers have the league leader in wins, Max Scherzer, and Miguel Cabrera, who again flirted with the Triple Crown. Throw in Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter and Justin Verlander, and Detroit has more stars than virtually any other team in baseball.
Starting on Friday, Oct. 4, you can see this clash of strange bedfellows begin.
Tampa Bay Rays/Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox
Game 1: at Boston on Friday, Oct. 4 at 3:07 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 2: at Boston on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 5:37 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 3: at Cleveland/Tampa Bay on Monday, Oct. 7 on TBS and MLB Network
Game 4 (if necessary): at Cleveland/Tampa Bay on Tuesday, Oct. 8 on TBS
Game 5 (if necessary): at Boston on Thursday, Oct. 10 on TBS
The Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians will meet on Thursday, Oct. 3 to determine which team will face the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. Whichever team does emerge victorious will set itself up for what should be one of the most memorable series of the year.
It's either Boston's divisional rivals or the Red Sox's old manager that will reach the division series.
Boston enters the ALDS with the best record in baseball at 97-65, ranking first in runs scored, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Red Sox also clocked in at second in batting average and third in quality starts, with Koji Uehara emerging as a consistent closer during the final months of the season.
Now, Boston will look to win its third World Series title since 2004.
If Tampa Bay advances, it will face a familiar foe in the divisional-rival Red Sox. Should Cleveland move on, Indians manager Terry Francona will face the organization that he won two World Series titles with.
If you're looking for drama, it starts in Boston.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Game 1: at Atlanta on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 2: at Atlanta on Friday, Oct. 4 at 6:07 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 3: at Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 6 on TBS
Game 4 (if necessary): at Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 7 on TBS
Game 5 (if necessary): at Atlanta on Wednesday, Oct. 9 on TBS
The Los Angeles Dodgers closed out the 2013 MLB regular season as the hottest team in all of baseball. The Atlanta Braves paced their way through the regular season, continuing to build upon their legacy as one of the most consistent organizations in league history.
Starting on Oct. 3, these two teams will fight to move one step closer to an elusive World Series title.
The Dodgers haven't won the World Series since 1988, when Orel Hershiser and Fernando Valenzuela were the craze in L.A. In 2013, it's Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig who have emerged as the established superstar and rising presence.
Don't be too shocked to see a similar story end with a similar result.
For all of its consistency, Atlanta hasn't won it all since 1995, when Greg Maddux earned the Cy Young Award and Tom Glavine took home World Series MVP. In 2013, Atlanta has three starters with an ERA under 3.21 and Craig Kimbrel at the back end of the bullpen, who led the league in saves.
It'll be a pitching battle, but don't count out the possibility for some high-scoring affairs placed in between.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Game 1: at St. Louis on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 5:07 p.m. ET on TBS
Game 2: at St. Louis on Friday, Oct. 4 at 1:07 p.m. ET on MLB Network
Game 3: at Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 6 on TBS
Game 4 (if necessary): at Pittsburgh on Monday, Oct. 7 on TBS and MLB Network
Game 5 (if necessary): at St. Louis on Wednesday, Oct. 9 on TBS
The Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals will meet in the postseason for the first time during the NLDS. The divisional rivals have both experienced success in the past, but Pittsburgh's was few-and-far between during the same span in which St. Louis won two World Series.
The question is, which one of these NL Central foes will go further in 2013?
The Pirates started the postseason in style with a 6-2 win over the Reds in the Wild Card Round, using a masterful pitching performance by Francisco Liriano. With superstar Andrew McCutchen helping to lead the hitters, there is a genuine possibility for the Pirates to rise up and pull out the upset.
Keep in mind, St. Louis did only win three more games than Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals are a balanced squad with rankings of No. 3 in runs scored and on-base percentage, fourth in batting average, fifth in ERA and eighth in WHIP. With two World Series titles since 2006 and another appearance in 2004, it's safe to say St. Louis is at home in the postseason.
When it's all said and done, one NL Central team will move one step closer to the World Series.
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