Major League Baseball

2012 NLDS Preview & Predictions – Inside The Wheelhouse

Buster PoseyThe 2012 NLDS and for the most part, the entire 2012 MLB Postseason, is wide open. More so then it probably ever has been because you legitimately have 8 teams that have great possibilities in being World Series Champions at the end of the season. This is due in part because the game of Baseball is simply improving, gone are the days where the teams with the highest payrolls dominate the Postseason and it has shifted to team’s that have gotten “hot” at the right time to be crowned Champions.

Which teams will catch that momentum at the right time? I give you some of my thoughts in my NLDS Preview and predictions blog:

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Francisco Giants

Baseball fans are getting a real treat with this NLDS series because it could’ve very well been a NLCS series in my opinion. Cincinnati & San Francisco were two of the best teams in the National League during the regular season and instead of battling it out for a trip to the World Series they will be battling it out for a trip to the NLCS! These are two classic examples of National League teams and should be giving us quite the best-of-five series in the next week!

Draw it up on paper and you will see these two squads are very evenly matched. They have nearly identical styles of a starting rotation, bullpen and everyday lineup. There is nothing “flashy” about either team and they just play hard-nosed baseball everyday of the season. Obviously they play the game the right way as they will be two-of-four teams battling it out in the National League for a trip to the World Series.

Doing these preview blogs gives me the opportunity to change any of my preseason Postseason predictions in Major League Baseball. Which if you remember correctly, I had both of these teams in the Postseason (two teams I actually got right) but of these two teams I had one advancing all the way to the World Series. So has there been anything that has changed my mind about that specific team advancing to the World Series like I stated in the beginning of the season?

No, not at all and that’s why I like the Cincinnati Reds winning this best-of-five series in 5 games. These two teams will put on a show, give us great Baseball and play their hearts out like they should be playing. But at the end of this one I like the Reds winning the series because there is a lot of good momentum going their way at the moment and like we learned from San Francisco two seasons ago, you can’t stop momentum.

Prediction: Reds win series 3-2

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals

Washington’s first test in Postseason play will be one that they will earn should they advance into the NLCS this year. If you want to be tested and answer questions of whether or not you will succeed in the Postseason then taking on the defending World Series Champions is one way to do so. It won’t be easy for the Nationals because the defending Champions are on a very similar path that helped lead them to the World Series last season.

St. Louis surprised me again by going into Atlanta and winning the NL Wild Card game against the Braves. Clearly I need to stop betting against the Cardinals because this is a team that will take anything thrown at them and step up without feeling an ounce of pressure. The scariest thing about this team is they are actually getting better as time goes on in the Postseason.

What is everyone’s big concern regarding the Washington Nationals going into the Postseason? Ever since they shut down Stephen Strasburg it was their starting rotation. What is actually improving for the St. Louis Cardinals as players get healthier? Their starting rotation of course!

Washington has been a fantastic story this season but I honestly believe their current run will end in the NLDS against the defending World Series Champions. I believe that to be true because the Nationals are a young team who depend on momentum while the Cardinals enter the series with a ton of momentum. Washington is not used to the “limelight” of Postseason Baseball and their early exit will help them grow for seasons to come, this is not the end of Postseason Baseball in Washington. St. Louis has a lot going on for them right now and I cannot bet against the momentum that is eerily similar to the 2011 World Series run.

Prediction: Cardinals win series 3-2

For more MLB talk throughout the Postseason join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

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Jeff Peck

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheJeffPeck

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