MLB Playoff Schedule 2013: Previewing Weekend's Most Intriguing Games
The 2013 MLB postseason is starting to heat up, and here are the most intriguing matchups of the weekend.
Friday marks the first full day of the postseason. Thursday featured the National League, but both leagues will be in action throughout the weekend.
Although some teams look better on paper, no squad looks like the clear favorite. October baseball will be decided by who is the most consistent.
Below is a full postseason schedule, and keep reading to see who makes the list for the most intriguing matchups of the weekend.
|NL Wild Card||10/1||Pittsburgh Pirates 6, Cincinnati Reds 2||AL Wild Card||10/2||Tampa Bay Rays 4, Cleveland Indians 0|
|NLDS Game 1||10/3||St. Louis Cardinals 9, Pittsburgh Pirates 1|
|NLDS Game 1||10/3||Los Angeles 6, Atlanta Braves 1|
|NLDS Game 2||10/4||Pittsburgh Pirates 7, St. Louis Cardinals 1|
|NLDS Game 2||10/4||Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves||ALDS Game 1||10/4||Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox|
|NLDS Game 3||10/6||St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates||ALDS Game 1||10/4||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics|
|NLDS Game 3||10/6||Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers||ALDS Game 2||10/5||Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox|
|NLDS Game 4||10/7||St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates||ALDS Game 2||10/5||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics|
|NLDS Game 4*||10/7||Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers||ALDS Game 3||10/7||Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays|
|NLDS Game 5*||10/9||Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals||ALDS Game 3||10/7||Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers|
|NLDS Game 5*||10/9||Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves||ALDS Game 4*||10/8||Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays|
|NLCS Game 1||10/11||TBD at TBD||ALDS Game 4*||10/8||Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers|
|NLCS Game 2||10/12||TBD at TBD||ALDS Game 5*||10/10||WC Winner at Boston Red Sox|
|NLCS Game 3||10/15||TBD at TBD||ALDS Game 5*||10/10||Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics|
|NLCS Game 4||10/16||TBD at TBD||ALCS Game 1||10/12||TBD at TBD|
|NLCS Game 5*||10/17||TBD at TBD||ALCS Game 2||10/13||TBD at TBD|
|NLCS Game 6*||10/19||TBD at TBD||ALCS Game 3||10/15||TBD at TBD|
|NLCS Game 7*||10/20||TBD at TBD||ALCS Game 4||10/16||TBD at TBD|
|World Series Game 1||10/23||NL Champion at AL Champion||ALCS Game 5*||10/17||TBD at TBD|
|World Series Game 2||10/24||NL Champion at AL Champion||ALCS Game 6*||10/19||TBD at TBD|
|World Series Game 3||10/26||AL Champion at NL Champion||ALCS Game 7*||10/20||TBD at TBD|
|World Series Game 4||10/27||AL Champion at NL Champion|
|World Series Game 5*||10/28||AL Champion at NL Champion|
|World Series Game 6||10/30||NL Champion at AL Champion|
|World Series Game 7||10/31||NL Champion at AL Champion|
Friday: RHP Max Scherzer (DET) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (OAK)
This matchup will put one likely AL Cy Young winner against a former Cy Young winner.
Max Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA for the Detroit Tigers. The right-hander is part of a star-studded rotation in Detroit, but he stood out above his teammates.
Scherzer pitched in Oakland in Game 4 of last year's NLDS. He allowed only one unearned run on three hits in 5.1 innings and was in line for the win, but the Tigers blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning.
Who will win Game 1?
Bartolo Colon may have had an even better season despite not having as many wins as his opponent. Colon went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA at the age of 40, and he made the All-Star team for the third time in his career.
It was a nice revival for Colon, who had not won more than 10 games since he won the AL Cy Young award in 2005.
With Justin Verlander and AL ERA leader Anibal Sanchez going in the next two games, this is an important game for Oakland. The A's need their ace to step up with a big performance if they are going to have a chance in this series.
Neither starter got a decision against their opponent this season, with both having two starts. This could wind up being the best pitching matchup of the postseason, especially in Oakland's spacious stadium.
Saturday: LHP David Price (TB) vs. RHP John Lackey (BOS)
Depending on Friday's Game 1, this could be a must-win for Tampa Bay. Matt Moore will take on Jon Lester, so the Rays will be in for a tough test.
Tampa Bay has won three straight elimination games, dating back to Sunday's regular-season finale. Price was spectacular on Monday against the Texas Rangers in a one-game playoff. In a stadium that had tortured him throughout his career, Price went the distance and allowed only two runs.
Who will win Game 2?
The southpaw went 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts against the Boston Red Sox this year. In his final three starts against Boston, Price allowed only four runs on 10 hits in 24.1 innings. He has a 3.96 ERA in nine career postseason games.
Lackey has pitched in five different postseasons throughout his career. In 12 postseason games, the right-hander has a 3.12 ERA. He struggled against the Rays this year, but his postseason experience should help him pitch well.
If Boston wins Game 1, Tampa Bay will need Price more than ever to be on top of his game. Going back to Tropicana Field down 0-2 would not be a great situation. If Tampa Bay wins on Friday, Boston needs Lackey to have a great game.
Either way this game figures to be a good duel.
Sunday: RHP Joe Kelly (STL) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (PIT)
When looking at the matchup, this looks like a mismatch.
Francisco Liriano went 8-1 with a 1.47 ERA at home in the regular season, and he allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings in the winner-take-all game against Cincinnati on Tuesday. Liriano allowed only two runs and struck out 20 in 24 innings against St. Louis this season.
Joe Kelly didn't join the rotation until June, which came after he struggled out of the bullpen. However, Kelly went 10-2 in 15 starts.
Will the winner of Game 3 win this NLDS?
This series will head to Pittsburgh tied 1-1, with the Pirates beating the Cardinals 7-1 in Game 2.
Game 3 is the most pivotal game of the division series. With the series tied, Pittsburgh will have the edge as the series moves to PNC Park. It will have its ace on the mound against the best team in baseball.
Pittsburgh has taken away St. Louis' home-field advantage, and the Pirates can put the Cardinals on the brink of elimination with their ace on the mound on Sunday.
No matter who wins Game 3, the loser will have a lot of work to do in order to advance to the NLCS.
*All stats are courtesy of MLB.com
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