BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
October Baseball. It’s finally here. Well, it technically doesn’t start for a few more days, but the end of the regular season is here. A few teams have clinched in the American League and the National League.
This year, instead of one wild card, there will be two. It sounds weird, and it only means that in this situation, both wild cards will play each other. It will be basically a one game playoff. The winner of that wild card game will then play the team with the top record in the regular season.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals are in the playoffs for the first time since 1981. Before that, the last time a franchise from the D.C. area was in the playoffs was when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. They have a shot to be the best team in the NL, even without star pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
The Cincinnati Reds clinched the National League Central Division and will finish either first or second in the NL. The San Francisco Giants are clinched the NL West and will finish at best third. Currently leading the wild card in the National League include the Atlanta Braves, who clinched a playoff spot in Chipper Jones’ last year. The St. Louis Cardinals currently hold the final wild card spot, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Braves would play the Cardinals, while the Nationals would play the winner of that play-in game, if in fact the Nationals finish with the best record. The Red and Giants would face off in the Division League Series, if the Reds finish second.
The American League features some surprising teams. The Texas Rangers clinched the AL West division, and will at least be in second place when the season is over. They are currently in first place and will look to play the wild card winner. Right now, the surprise Oakland Athletics have the last wild card spot, while the other-surprise, Baltimore Orioles are tied with the New York Yankees for both the AL East lead, and other wild card spot.
Based on the season, the Yankees would take the wild card spot, while the Orioles would win the AL East.
In the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers are on the verge of clinching and securing a spot in the postseason. If so, they would end up playing the Orioles.
The Division series will start Saturday and Sunday, with the Wild Card games on Friday. All series will be on TBS except the NLCS and World Series will be on FOX. This is shaping up to be an exciting postseason in both leagues.
To read the original article that appeared in the fourth issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org