In the latest 2012 Winter Meetings signing, the Nationals signed Dan Haren to a one year, 13 million dollar deal. Haren will take Edwin Jackson’s place in the rotation. This move is similar to what the Nats did with Jackson last year. They’re taking a great starter with good track record who is coming off of a bad year by their standards and taking him in on a short term, low risk deal. I think Haren could do even better than Jackson did last year, even though he isn’t as powerful. Haren will be a great number four starter for the Nationals this year though and I expect a full rebound from him, especially in Washington. The losers here are the Padres because this was the perfect fit and a potential ace for them, but the Nationals will benefit a ton. This is more than a great deal for the Nats. I would predict a year close to 3.30-1.06-180. Haren can handle the NL East well and his value should skyrocket throughout this year. He made a great choice by going to Washington as he fits well with the team and he can manhandle the NL at times. Haren could finally have a very special year at any time too, he may be getting older but he can still hold offenses well and he will itch many great games for the Nats, who made a smart move here.
The Nationals are such a talented and just a great team. They finished with the best record in the MLB this regular season, but so did the Phillies in 2011 when the Cardinals, a tough team to beat, especially in the playoffs shocked the world and upset the Phillies in 5. Tonight the NAtionals just scraped into Game 5 after a huge walk-off HR for Jayson Werth, who is earning his contract in the playoffs. I like the Nationals tonight because they are the best team, even though they barely are right now, they are and should win. Gonzalez has out pitched Wainwright this year and that should stay true for the most part and we know we are likely to see a decent start by both tonight. I like the Nationals beyond that too, the Cardinals may be their toughest opponent, so if they can win this they could beat the Giants. It won;t be easy either time but with the way all these players have played individually and as a team this year they can take on these teams. Bryce Harper really needs to step up too, he can be a big number two guy and make it easier for Werth and Zimmerman. In the World Series it’s still a toss-up, and if they do make it there, I might let Strasburg go in a game or two. The Nationals have what it takes in almost eery aspect though and they can win this test. I give them an 80% chance to win tonight.
Orioles over Yankees 5-4
CC tends to do well in these games and against the O’s but if he’s a little wild, they’ll jump all over him. The Orioles will stay in it no matter what and I see them puling out a close one.
Nationals over Cardinals 7-6
Gonzalez has been struggling a bit but the Nationals can hit Wainwright okay too, and even though the Nationals are the better team, the Cardinals will stay in it like they always do.
CARDINALS: Daniel Descalso- He can play defense that for sure but he’s under pressure as he is getting more playing time with Rafael Furcal getting hurt and though he may not breakout and be a hero, he could be a key factor for the Cardinals if he hits well, and could be one of the big reasons they advance, if they beat the Nats and if he gets going in the playoffs the Cardinals could really start rolling. I expect him to do well, but it really depends on if the Nationals pitchers are on or choke a bit.
NATIONALS: Ryan Zimmerman- The Nats best hitter had waited since 2005 to get the chance and he’s too good of a player not to put up some good numbers or help his team, and maybe have a legendary postseason. Even if the Nats get eliminated I expect him to do good and if they make a run i think he will get better and batter as the playoffs go on.
REDS: The Outfield I could pick Votto but we know he will hit well and be a hard out, I think the whole outfield will be worth watching the postseason with the Reds. Jay Bruce is the best, most powerful and talented player out of the bunch and could easily power his way into the record books. Ryan Ludwick is off to a hot start and should keep that up along with his power. Heisey could do well in his spots and Stubbs should hit a lot better than he did in the regular season. They may not be legendary this postseason but they could help a lot
GIANTS: Pablo Sandoval- He will hit for this team and provide some power, and I can see him coming through in the big situations this postseason. The Giants will do well as a whole if they do good, but Sandoval could very well be their best hitter this postseason
YANKEES: Ichiro Suzuki- He finally gets his chance to be a postseason hero and with his track record, I expect a lot of hits for him this postseason, and some of them being really big ones. The Yankees would be smart keeping him in the two spot.
ORIOLES: Manny Machado- He gave the Os’ the spark to finish off their improbable season and he might be to the Orioles what Miguel Cabrera was to the 2003 Marlins, that extra piece. It’ hard to pick from this team since most of these guys found their spot all at the right time kind of like the 2010 Giants did, but Machado needs to help lead them on all sides of the ball, regardless of age.
TIGERS: Avisail Garcia- Speaking of Miguel Cabrera, this guy could really put his name on the national map. He has power he hasn’t shown yet but his big way of helping the Tigers this postseason is on defense and getting hits at the bottom of the order. I think he can do a lot of big things.
ATHLETICS: Yoenis Cespedes- He’s a five tool player and a showcase, he can help the A’s any way and he is by far the best player on their team. He could turn in more performances like Game 2 in the ALDS. He is by far the A’s best player.
Can Only Add To Legacy and Just Might
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Athletics: Too Young
Yankees: Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano
Orioles: Jim Thome
Cardinals: David Freese
Nationals: Jayson Werth
Reds: Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips
Giants: Buster Posey
X-Factors To Doing Well
Reds: Aroldis Chapman
Giants: Ryan Vogelsong
Nationals: Bryce Harper
Cardinals: Jon Jay
Tigers: Jhonny Peralta
Athletics: Brandon Moss
Yankees: Rafael Soriano
Orioles: JJ Hardy
Tigers over Athletics 8-1
Cabrera and Fielder wake up, Tigers go up 2-0, FIster keeps up the Ks and good perfromance
Nationals over Cardinals 5-4
Cardinals play hard but Nats use magic to put up a comeback win for first win as a franchise in the postseason
Giants over Reds 6-3
Red put up a fight, but Bumgarner to tough
Orioles over Yankees 10-9
Slugfest in Baltimore is won by the powerful and cinderella team
TIGERS: These guys may have squeezed in the playoffs, but anything can happen, the Cardinals won 83 games in 2006 and they were World Champions and this team is a tough postseason team with their rotation and their hitting, especially if they are hot, and they are. If the bullpen comes together they will do so great too. Their options off the bench are decent too. They have tough competition for sure but I can see them faxing it well.
ATHLETICS: I don’t see them making it passed here, even if they are being compare to the 1969 Mets. Their rookie pitchers have never been through any of this. That is no reason they can’t make it, but I see their defensive luck coming to an end, and I think the Tigers outmatch them, especially since the Tigers get the first two games at home. If the A’s win this round, I do see them in the World Series.
REDS: This team could be the toughest in the postseason but I still need to be sold on Bronson Arroyo and the bottom of the line-up, until then I see them beating the Giants in a close one. They have a strong team and have gotten more wins than I thought they could, Plus when they get hot they are unstoppable against any team this year. This group of guys plays really well together too. I have confidence they will have a nice showing even if they don’t win it all.
GIANTS: Losing Melky hurt, but they kept winning and they can put up a fight against the Reds with their pitching and experience. There is no way that the Giants will lay down and they have a small possibility of repeating their 2010 World Series run.
ORIOLES: They are making an improbable run and can play the Yankees well, but their power hitter really need to turn it up this series and Yankee Stadium will help them out a lot. They also need their group of misfits to keep playing up to the par they have, because it will be a quick playoff run if they don’t.
YANKEES: I see them making at least the ALCS, but the O’s could upset the, I like the way the their pitching has come together and Soriano will be tought at the end of the game. I could see them scoring a ton of runs too with their mix of power, experience, good hitters and everything else.
CARDINALS: I can see them winning a few games but the Nats are really tough, they may just to mcuh for the Cards, but you can’t count a team like this out even with the injuries and postseason heroes David Freese and Yadier Molina should keep up their status. They are a good team, but they aren’t great. Their pitchers will also need to pitch good games.
NATIONALS: Some see these guys laying down but I don’t. I see them being like the 2006 Tigers in the playoffs, they have talent and the younger guys will help a lot too. Their pitchers are very talented too and they will really get to show off their stuff the playoffs. I like this team.
Anybody or any team can become legendary in the postseason.
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AL Wild Card
Orioles over Rangers 6-5
NL WIld Card
Braves over Cardinals 7-5
Yankees over Orioles 3-2
Tigers over Athletics 3-1
Nationals over Braves 3-2
Reds over Giants 3-2
Tigers over Yankees 4-2
Nationals over Reds 4-2
Tigers over Nationals in 7