Many have proposed a three-game Wild Card playoff, but the idea was rejected because of logistical problems (division leaders would be waiting to start the actual playoffs), but also no doubt because of TV scheduling.
Baseball is a game for the traditionalists and so the introduction of the Wild Card “play-in” game was, like most changes, not universally welcomed in 2012. The excellent pitching staffs of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs will surely mean those teams force their way into some experts’ picks for a World Series appearance as well, while the balance and potency of the Pittsburgh Pirates makes them a team few should ignore.
St. Louis plays the victor of the Cubs-Pirates tilt. The Pirates and Yankees get to host the wild card games after finishing with a better regular season record than their opponents. Andrew McCutchen had another fine season with a team-leading 96 RBI and 98 walks.
“We love playing at home”, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said after his team finished 53-28 at PNC Park.
We should be in for a low scoring game in this one.
On Wednesday night, 22-game victor Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs – still trying for their first World Series championship since 1908 – visit 19-game victor Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL wild-card matchup. The game will be shown on ESPN. These two teams faced off seven times in the regular season this year with the Astros winning four of those games.
Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Yankees and Dallas Keuchel will be starting for the Astros.
After the A’s heart-breaking meltdown a year ago, there’s a part of me that’s glad to be able to look forward to the two Wild Card games this time around without the potential emotional distress of tiredly peering out from behind a cushion at 5.45 a.m.as your hopes of glory – we were 7-3 up heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, don’t forget, then took an 8-7 lead in the top of the twelfth – crumble to dust.
There’s a real divide in opinion when it comes to assigning value to home field advantage in the playoffs.
Headliners poised to perform the include NL West champion Dodgers’ one-two pitching punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and big-hitting Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion of an AL East champion Toronto team in the playoffs for the first time since winning a second consecutive World Series title in 1993. Mark Teixeira will be out again; however, Greg Bird has been filling in very nicely in his place.
The Astros-Yankees victor will play at Kansas City in the best-of-five Division Series on Thursday.
The playoffs will begin Tuesday, October 6th with the American Wild Card playoff between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees (home) at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN.