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MLB Baltimore OriolesCincinnati RedsDetroit TigersMLB PlayoffsNew York YankeesOakland AthleticsSan Francisco GiantsSt. Louis CardinalsWashington Nationals

2012 MLB Playoffs: Division Series Predictions

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2012 MLB Playoffs: Division Series Predictions

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Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

After last night’s single elimination MLB Wild Card games it is now time to look ahead at the National League and American League Divisional Series matchups. The NLDS and ALDS will provide plenty of excitement and drama that should satisfy all baseball fans alike.

The St. Louis Cardinals have moved on to the next round for the second consecutive year after all odds appeared to be against them. Of course, there was plenty of controversy to go along with the victory but St. Louis does not mind, as they were clearly the better team regardless of the Infield Fly rule call taking place. As mad as the Atlanta Braves were about the call, even they had to admit it was not the reason for them losing a game they could have easily won.

In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the two-time defending AL pennant winners. The Texas Rangers were thoroughly beaten by the Orioles in a game where Baltimore’s starting pitching and bullpen stepped up when it mattered most. A Rangers team that was favored to win the AL for a third consecutive year will be going home after out-hitting the Orioles, but simply unable to turn base runners into runs on the scoreboard.

Four teams remain in each league for a chance to clinch a World Series berth and take home the Commissioner’s Trophy. It is certainly an exciting time for the players, the fans, and baseball in general as each game will weigh more than the last.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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New York Yankees (95-67) vs. Baltimore Orioles (93-69)

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The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Yankees will take on the Orioles in a matchup everyone was hoping to see. These two teams battled down the stretch for the AL East title and now the fans will get to find out which team is most deserving to move on to the ALCS. The Yankees and Orioles are both riding incredible hot streaks into the postseason, which can almost guarantee this series going five games. A veteran roster exploding with experience will certainly serve New York well and give them a huge advantage in the ALDS.

Prediction: Yankees win in five games

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Detroit Tigers (88-74) vs. Oakland Athletics (94-68)

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Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics will play an interesting series as strength versus strength will play out across the board. The Tigers rank high in several offensive statistical categories whereas the Athletics have one of the better pitching squads in the AL. On the other hand, Detroit does not excel in pitching and Oakland ranks towards the bottom in most offensive categories. Obviously, whichever team can overcome their weakness better will win the series. The Tigers may have the worst record between the two teams but their recent postseason experience should help them against the Athletics.

Prediction: Athletics win in four games

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Cincinnati Reds (97-65) vs. San Francisco Giants (94-68)

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Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants will bring face-to-face two decent pitching staffs that will certainly have a huge effect on who wins the series. Statistically, the Reds have the better pitching squad but the Giants are not too far behind them in the rankings. This series will probably come down to offense and if that is the case then Cincinnati could be in trouble. San Francisco has the more consistent offensive team across the board, which will definitely help them in the postseason, as every positional player must step up. I believe this will be a low scoring series, which will keep both teams in the game at all times.

Prediction: Giants win in five games

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St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) vs. Washington Nationals (98-64)

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Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals will be taking on the top seeded Washington Nationals in what could the most exciting series in either league. St. Louis is once again the team nobody wants to play in the postseason as they are turning doubters into believers. The Cardinals are one of the top offensive teams in the NL and their high-powered hitting could ultimately be the reason they clinch a second consecutive World Series berth. However, the Nationals have an outstanding pitching staff even without Stephen Strasburg in the rotation. This is certainly one of the more difficult matchups to predict but considering the defending world champions have postseason experience on their side it is hard to go against them.

Prediction: Cardinals win in five games