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MLB Playoff Predictions: Who will have the magic in October?

AL Wild Card Game: Oakland Athletics over Kansas City Royals, 4-2

The Oakland Athletics are in the midst of a historic collapse. Fortunately for the A’s, their projected matchup for the Wild Card spot, the Kansas City Royals, aren’t playing much better. Kansas City will have to really wake up on offense if they expect to beat the A’s. Jon Lester has been a bright spot for Oakland, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.20 ERA since being traded to the A’s. The left-hander has a 2.11 ERA in 13 career postseason appearances, so he is the ideal pitcher to throw in a win-or-go-home setting. Ultimately, with ace Jon Lester leading the way, I think Oakland will limp its way past the Royals to grab the Wild Card.

American League Division Series:
L.A. Angels of Anaheim over Oakland Athletics (5 games)

In this series, the Los Angeles Angels will just be too much for the A’s to handle. The Angels have absolutely destroyed the competition during the 2014 regular season. LAA is loaded offensively and defensively. The Angels’ Matt Shoemaker has a 4-0 record with a 1.39 ERA in his last five outings, and looks to return from a left oblique strain to pitch a solid game in this series. The Angels flew past Oakland in the second half of the season, but this series will go to five games because of Oakland’s strong rotation.

Baltimore Orioles over Detroit Tigers (5 games)

The Orioles should have no trouble maintaining their edge over the Detroit Tigers. A strong September kept the Tigers from having to play in the Wild Card game, but the O’s have been strong all season. Miguel Cabrera had a monster September, batting .413 with six homeruns, but the Tigers’ starting staff is beginning to look like the weak link. Max Scherzer is the only starter with a sub-4.00 ERA.
The Tigers’ biggest disappointment pitching-wise has to be David Price, who has a 1-4 record in his five appearances in a Tigers uniform. If Price takes the mound in this series, he’s not predicted to perform well; he has a 5.06 ERA in nine career playoff appearances.
On the other hand, the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching staff has a 2.83 ERA, which is the lowest mark in MLB. Manager Buck Showalter announced that Chris Tillman will start Game 1. Tillman is 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 34 starts for Baltimore this season. Behind the O’s solid pitching staff and powerful offense, the O’s will overcome the Tigers in 5 games.

American League Championship Series: Orioles over Angels (7 games)

It’s been 31 years since the Baltimore Orioles last advanced to the World Series. I’m predicting that streak will come to an end next month. With their (unexpected) strong rotation, an impressive bullpen and commanding lineup, the O’s are without a doubt the most well-rounded team in the American League. The Orioles hold a 50-31 record at Camden Yards, which is the second-best home mark in the American League. In the end, the O’s will have that extra edge over the Angels in seven games.

NL Wild Card Game: Pittsburgh Pirates over San Francisco Giants, 6-4

This will be one of the most exciting games in the postseason. Pittsburgh comes into this game as one of the hottest teams in baseball, with two big series wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. Since Aug. 19, the day Andrew McCutchen came off the DL, the Pirates are an MLB-best 22-10. The Giants have postseason experience, and with leaders like Buster Posey, they’ll fight until the last out in this game. However, the Pirates have a hunger for the postseason, and thanks to their explosive offense and one of the best recent records in baseball coming in, Pittsburgh will be too much for San Francisco.

National League Division Series:
Washington Nationals over Pittsburgh Pirates (5 games)

The Pirates will be coming into this game with a lot of confidence, promising for a highly entertaining series. This set will go the full five games with Washington coming out on top. The Nats’ starting staff is undeniably brilliant, and the strength of their lineup is hard to ignore. The young players like Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper will be the ones to lead the Nationals to the National League Championship Series.

Los Angeles Dodgers over St. Louis Cardinals (4 games)

The Dodgers pitching staff will be too much for the Cardinals to handle as the Dodgers will take the series in four games. With an expected return from Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers will have him, as well as Clayton Kershaw (21-3, 1.77 ERA) and Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.74) to provide solid pitching in this series.

National League Championship Series: Dodgers over Nationals (6 games)

This series is guaranteed to provide pitcher’s duels. The Nationals have one of the most talented rotations in baseball, with Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers will have the edge in this series with the dominance of Kershaw and the ability to score runs. L.A. has the highest OPS (on-base plus slugging) in baseball with two outs and runners in scoring position.

2014 WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Orioles (6 games)

I want to say that the Orioles can overtake the Dodgers, but I just can’t. Los Angeles has had everything it takes to win a World Series for two seasons now. The Dodgers have a stacked rotation in Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. L.A. has been able to get production from its entire lineup, from Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to their utility man, Justin Turner. The Dodgers have six players with an OPS over .800. L.A. will take the World Series title in six games over the O’s.

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MLB Playoff Predictions: Who will have the magic in October?