Atlanta Braves v St Louis Cardinals
The Atlanta Braves will rely on a combination of factors to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in a win-or-go-home Wild Card game on Friday. The first reason the Braves will win is home field advantage; Atlanta posted a robust .593 winning ratio at Turner Field this year. The second reason: they’re currently playing well - the team was 20-10 over their past 30 games.
The third reason: pitcher Atlanta pitcher Kris Medlen has been dominant. In his 12 starts this year, he’s posted a 0.97 ERA and, dating back to 2010, the Braves have won 23 straight games he has started. The fourth reason is that this is longtime Atlanta star Chipper Jones’ last post-season and his teammates will undoubtedly be motivated to make it last more than a single game. Go with the Braves at 1.55, rather than the Cardinals at 2.45.
Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles
While the Baltimore Orioles have been such a fantastic story in 2012, their season will come to an abrupt end when they face the Texas Rangers on the road in this Wild Card contest. The Rangers will send their hottest pitcher, Yu Darvish, to the mound. After a shaky August (2-2 with a 5.29 ERA), Darvish has turned things around in the final month of the season: over his last five starts he went 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA. He also has been a really tough pitcher to beat at home: he boasts a 10-2 record in Arlington, compared to a 6-7 win-loss ledger on the road.
Despite melting down against the Oakland A’s on the final day of the regular season, Texas have been great at home this year, putting up a 50-31 record (.617 winning ratio). Throw in the fact that the Rangers (on here at 1.50) performed well against the Orioles (2.60) in 2012, registering a 5-2 record, and all signs point to Texas making it into the divisional series.