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Major League Baseball Playoff Preview

Major League Baseball Playoff Preview

Well the field is set so lets take a quick look at all the teams participating in the MLB playoffs this year.  Series odds and individual games are great this time of year.

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National League:

Atlanta
- The Braves are the team that has fought the least to make it to the postseason. Washington was a total dud this year and Atlanta ran away and hid from May on out. Even though their overall record compares favourably to other division winners they are lacking in star power, especially on the mound. Of all the division winners I like their chances the least. Their overall depth might not show so well over the course of a series.

Los Angeles - They have to be considered the favourites in the National League. There are some good rotations out there but nobody has a 1-2 punch like L.A. with Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. The lineup is pretty solid and no team can be feeling any better than the Dodgers given how they started the season and turned it on.

St. Louis - Probably the most complete team in the National League and maybe the Majors. They have playoff experience, a deep rotation, solid bullpen - they really lack any significant weaknesses. At the same time there is nothing to get overly excited about. This team is all about executions and getting it done which is why they are hard to beat.

Pittsburgh - 2013 team of destiny. This a hard scratching bunch but one with talent like OF Andrew McCutcheon and 3B Pedro Alvarez. The questions is whether they have enough pitching depth in the rotation and the pen. You could easily argue that some of these guys have overperformed and might not have much left in the tank. Hosting the Wild Card at least gives them a chance at more than just a single game.

Cincinnati - Of all the teams in the N.L. I like the Reds bats the best. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips form a deep and powerful middle of the lineup. Pitching wise they have Aroldis Chapman at the backend to shorten games but who is the real aceÉ Guys like Homer Bailey can be dominant but they are lacking that true consistent dominator.

American League

Boston - I still find it hard to believe they put up the record they did but no sense in denying it now. Their lineup is tough from top to bottom but their pitching is hardly scary. Clay Buccholz has been terrific but I am not buying that he can beat the same team twice in a series and give a bullpen the night off. The Red Sox lack one of those guys.

Detroit - Detroit has about three of those. To me The Tigers have to be the favourite on paper. Based on performance this season they are looking at Justin Verlander as their third starter behind Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer. That is some crazy pitching depth. Their lineup has the best hitter in the game in Miguel Cabrera as well as three other players who chipped in more than 80 RBIs this season. Their weakness might be their bullpen but their starters often go long - three have more than 200 innings pitched.

Oakland - On paper they definitely should not be this good. No one could have predicted that Bartolo colon would challenge for an ERA title and the rest of the rotation falls into the better than average category. The lineup can mash and whiff with equal skill which does not usually foretell playoff success.

Cleveland - The Indians are a huge surprise. They made a bunch of moves to improve their offense but guys like Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher hardly had great seasons. Same deal with the starters. No one stands out, in fact their best pitcher might be a rookie who has less than a dozen career starts in Daniel Salazar. These guys stink against Detroit so avoiding them will be key.

Tampa or Texas - To be determined.

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