By Pat O'Rourke @patorourke_29 on August 24, 2014
October is where the days get shorter and the nights get longer. The mercury drops and the leaves change color. Oh yeah, and there's playoff baseball with 10 teams fighting for two pennants and one trophy. It's part of what makes it the best time of year in the minds of so many. Here are 10 bold predictions as we watch the pennant race and await the postseason.
The Pirates were the story of the 2013 season, winning 94 games and erasing a 21-year playoff drought. But it looks like Pittsburgh will be focusing on the Steelers and Penguins for 21st time in the last 22 Octobers. The Bucs are fading fast, having lost eight of 11 and 10 of 15, and are on the outside-looking in in the NL Wild Card race.
Of the many things Derek Jeter has done in his illustrious career, one thing he hasn't done is miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Well, there's a first time for everything. Tip your cap to the job Joe Girardi has done once again with this club, and expect them to be in the mix until the end. But in the end, it'll be too little too late for the Yanks, who make it back-to-back DNQs for the first time since 1992-93.
The defending NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals will make the tournament for the fourth year in a row with a late September charge to pass the Milwaukee Brewers, their first successful defense of a division title since 2006. As for the streak of NLCS appearances that stands at three, it stays at three, as the Red Birds fall in the NLDS.
The streaking Kansas City Royals fall back to earth in September, drop key series to the Detroit Tigers, losing the division and extending their playoff drought to 29 years.
The Atlanta Braves dropped the inaugural NL Wild Card game in 2012 to St. Louis on a controversial infield fly ruling. They return to the game in 2014 and make up for that defeat with a win over Milwaukee, punching their ticket to the NLDS.
The Seattle Mariners will clinch the second AL Wild Card, finishing seven games behind the Los Angeles Angels, who win the first Wild Card spot. Despite the large deficit, the Mariners still defeat the Halos behind ace Felix Hernandez, opening up the debate for making the Wild Card game into a Wild Card series.
It's another empty ending for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who once again fall short. The Dodgers -- a team heavy at the top -- lose as a result of not being able to do some of the little things.
The Athletics' big in-season moves pay off, as Oakland makes it to the World Series for the first time since 1990 for the first pennant of the Billy Beane era.
Stephen Strasburg -- playing in his first postseason (he was shut down in 2012) -- is unleashed to the world and makes his presence known.
The Washington Nationals ride their strong pitching and ability to execute across all areas of the game to a title, bringing the World Series trophy to our nation's capital for the first time in 90 years.
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