MLB Playoffs 2013: Predicting Finales in Divisional Round
After yet another thrilling night of baseball, we now look at the season finale of each remaining series in the divisional round of the 2013 MLB playoffs.
Rookie Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the feisty Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 4 on Monday, while the Detroit Tigers needed everything they could muster against the Athletics to force a Game 5 in Oakland.
Now, it comes down to one game. Who will advance, and who will go home early?
Here is how I see the divisional round of the 2013 MLB playoffs ending.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8:07 p.m. ET
Who will win on Wednesday?
The Cardinals could not have asked for a better performance from rookie right-hander Michael Wacha in Game 4 on Monday.
In Game 5, they get to start rookie sensation Gerrit Cole, who pitched six innings of one-run ball in the Pirates' 7-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 2 at Busch Stadium.
The difference this time around is that veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright will be the opposing pitcher.
Wainwright allowed just three hits while giving up one run in seven innings in the Cardinals' 9-1 victory in Game 1.
That wasn't a fluke. The two-time All-Star and two-time world champion allowed three runs in two starts (14 innings) against the Pirates at Busch Stadium during the regular season.
I love Cinderella stories, but this Cinderella story will only go so far.
Cardinals advance to the NLCS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Prediction: Cardinals 3, Pirates 2
Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
When: Thursday, Oct. 10 at 9:07 p.m. ET
The Tigers held on for an 8-6 win over the Athletics in Game 4, but I'm not convinced they will win this series.
The one and only Justin Verlander will be on the hill for the Tigers in Game 5, but there are a few things I don't like about this game for Detroit.
One, Oakland's offense is humming headed into O.co Coliseum. Two, the Athletics posted the second-best home record in the AL during the regular season (it took Max Scherzer to slow them down in Game 1). Three, Bartolo Colon has had success at home and against the Tigers this season.
Colon allowed three runs in six innings against the Tigers in Game 1. He allowed four runs in two starts (12 innings) against them during the regular season.
I could see Colon registering another quality start against the Tigers, and this is a rejuvenated Athletics offense that should give Verlander more trouble in Game 5 (it racked up a combined 22 hits and five home runs in Games 3 and 4 in Detroit).
I see the Athletics edging the Tigers and advancing to the ALCS.
Prediction: Athletics 4, Tigers 3
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