I love this new baseball playoff format. It is interesting to me how so many are complaining about how baseball shouldn't have a one game wild card and asking why the team with the better record is on the road for the first two games.

First, the reason why the A's, Yankees, Reds, and Nationals are on the road even though they have better records than their opponents is the playoff format came out after the schedule and Major League Baseball wanted to cut down on travel days by 1 day, thus no days off between games 4 and 5. Next year, with the format in place, it will be a 2-2-1 format with off days between games 2 and 3 then again between games 4 and 5. The schedule will be able to accommodate days off.

As for the one game wild card: the wild card game is a consolation for having a good season and making the playoffs despite not winning the division. Finally a sport puts an emphasis on the regular season. Trying to win a division is now not a luxury but almost a must. I LOVE that. Also, with the new format, teams can play division rivals in the division series whereas before they couldn't meet up until the League Championship Series. I never understood this. Why wouldn't you want to foster rivalries? It made no sense, but now it does.

Now for my predictions. I have the Reds winning it all over the Yankees, circa 1976 when the Big Red machine dusted NY in four straight to win the World Series.

I love the Reds to beat the Giants. Even with Johnny Cueto going down after one batter in game one, the Reds pitching staff is superior to the Giants. San Fran has no idea what it will get out of two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. He finished the season 10-15 with an ERA over 5.00. The Reds aren't even scheduled to pitch Homer Bailey who just no-hit the Astros. The Reds pitching is much deeper then the Giants and they have more power in the lineup. Reds in four.

I would have taken the Washington Nationals to win it all, but benching Steven Strasburg will prove to be a disaster. Having said that, I think they have enough to take out the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals in five. Both teams have a great bullpen so whomever can win a game late off of the others bullpen will have the advantage.

In the American League, the Detroit Tigers have a major question mark in Max Scherzer. His shoulder is sore and he had to leave his last start early. With him the Tigers have the best rotation in the AL. Without him they have the GREAT Verlander, Doug Fister and Rick Porcello. The A's are very, very young. Their amazing last three months is something to behold but it comes to an end against the talented and underachieving Tigers. Detroit in four is my pick.

You have to like what the Orioles have accomplished, even if the anointing of Buck Showalter as the greatest manager in baseball is getting a little sickening. It is about time the O's had a good year. It's been 15 years since they made the playoffs in a big market. I think the Orioles are very dangerous but very green. I think if the Yanks split in Baltimore, the series ends in New York. Yanks in 4. Say what you will about the Yankees age and struggles with hitting with men in scoring position, but they have scrapped and clawed the last four weeks to edge out the Orioles in the AL East. I am going Yankees in four in this series.

Once again Bud Selig proves he is head and shoulders above all other sports commissioners with this new playoff format. Friday's Wild Card games got things off to an exciting start. Now it's time to build on that with what should be a great division series round!

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