The 2013 Major League Baseball has come to a close which means it’s officially time to look ahead to the playoffs. This years playoffs has an extra bit of excitement with a Game 163 to determine who gets the second wild card spot in the American League.
Play-In Game: Tampa Bay Rangers at Texas Rangers
Texas comes in having won their last 7 to close out the season after a disastrous start to September, while the Rays enter tomorrow night’s game in a similar position. The matchup will feature David Price for the Rays against Martin Perez for the Rangers. Despite just a 9-8 record, David Price has pitched very well this season, and has come up in big games in the postseason, most notably his performance in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS to get the Rays to the World Series. Meanwhile, Texas faded down the stretch last year and lost the wild card playoff game after losing the division to Oakland. This coming off the heels of two World Series, and losing Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and Michael Young in the offseason, and losing Nelson Cruz to a suspension in the Biogenesis case. Even though Texas has the game at home, I think the Rays will win the game and advance to face Cleveland in the wild card playoff.
AL Wild Card (Prediction): Tampa Bay Rays at Cleveland Indians
In his first season as Indians manager, Terry Francona has done a remarkable job leading the Indians back to the playoffs. Cleveland won its final 10 games to clinch home field in the AL wild card game. However, with Jimenez and Kazmir pitching recently, the Indians will turn to rookie starter Danny Salazar to get the job done. Meanwhile, I project that Tampa will start Alex Cobb, who has been fantastic this season for Tampa when he has been healthy. I think the Rays recent playoff experience and the Indians lack thereof will give the advantage to the Rays in this game, so I think Tampa advances to face division foe Boston in the ALDS.
NL Wild Card: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
Cincinnati travels to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates after getting swept by their division rival to end the season. Pirates are in the playoffs for the first time since 1992 while the Reds are in the playoffs in back to back years. Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the Reds against the resurgent Francisco Liriano. Both have had great seasons, but Cueto has been lights out in his last two starts while Liriano’s ERA in September is over five. I think that Cincinnati gets revenge on Pittsburgh and advances to face St. Louis in the NLDS.
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