Most Octobers feature intriguing playoff matchups, so here are some of the most intriguing series we might see in the 2013 MLB postseason.
Many fans will be satisfied with the New York Yankees missing the playoffs. Now fans are hoping to see great October baseball games, and each team still standing brings something different to the table.
This will be a mix of big and small markets. Boston and Los Angeles will be represented, but Cleveland and Cincinnati could also make some noise.
Below is a schedule for the 2013 MLB postseason along with some of the most intriguing possible matchups.
Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals (NLDS)
This has to be the most intriguing possible matchup of the playoffs. The Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals have become the best rivalry in baseball in recent years. Both clubs have made the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, but they have not met in the postseason during that stretch.
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is hated in St. Louis, and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina continues to get booed in Cincinnati. Since the two teams were involved in an infamous brawl in 2010, video courtesy of MLB.com, tempers have cooled a bit. However, playing postseason baseball against each other would kick up the intensity.
St. Louis won the season series 11-8, but Cincinnati won four of the final five meetings. The Cardinals owned the Reds up until August. St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright allowed six runs or more in back-to-back starts against the Reds, and Mat Latos went 3-1 against St. Louis. The aces would figure to go head-to-head in Game 1.
Now that the Reds have gained some confidence against their rivals, this series would be the most intense matchup of October.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (NLCS)
If both teams advance to the NLCS, this would be a great clash. Los Angeles has the best rotation in baseball, and St. Louis has a deep lineup.
The Cardinals broke the all-time record with a .330 average with runners in scoring position. Previously, no team had ever hit above .311.
On the other side, the Dodgers held opponents to a .240 average with runners in scoring position, which was one of the best marks in baseball. They also led the majors with a 3.13 rotation ERA. St. Louis ranked second with a 3.42 ERA.
Both teams have great rotations and deep lineups. However, Los Angeles has a much better rotation. This would be a seven-game series, so the Cardinals would potentially face both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke twice.
The Cardinals have been great at getting timely hits, but Los Angeles has the pitching to neutralize the hitting.
Los Angeles won the seasons series 4-3, so this could be a classic matchup.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Detroit Tigers (World Series)
No World Series matchup would be more intriguing than this one. The top rotations in each league would be going head-to-head, and two of the best lineups in baseball would have to find ways to score runs against great pitching.
There would be plenty of stars to watch in this series, including four potential Cy Young Award winners (awards are announced after the World Series). Justin Verlander—who has won 24 games in a season, thrown two no-hitters, and won a Cy Young Award and an AL Most Valuable Player award—and 21-game winner Max Scherzer lead the Tigers. The Dodgers are led by Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Both Scherzer and Kershaw are expected to win the Cy Young Award this year.
Pitching wins championships, and both of these teams have the pitching to win a World Series.
Both teams have stars throughout their lineups.
Detroit has the best hitter in baseball in Miguel Cabrera. Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez add depth behind the reigning AL MVP.
Although injuries have plagued the Dodgers, they have plenty of stars to send to the plate. Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Michael Young can all produce runs. Matt Kemp will miss the playoffs, but this is a tough lineup.
Between the pitching and hitting, this would be as good a World Series matchup as baseball fans could hope to see.
*All stats are courtesy of MLB.com