Catch The Season-Ending Action On MLB Strike Zone
The 2012 baseball season is coming to a close and the playoff chase in each league is heating up. Pre-season favorites like the Yankees , Giants, Dodgers and Rangers have lived up to their expectations and currently have their sights set firmly on the postseason. However, teams like the Pirates, Orioles, A’s and Nationals are staking their claim to the 2012 championship as their fans hope to overcome years of frustration with thoughts of “this could be our year!”
Major League Baseball added a second wild card team to the playoff bracket which means more teams are still “in the playoff hunt” with just over a month left in the season. The addition of the second wildcard means a more challenging road for teams who don’t win their divisions since they’ll have to play each other in a single game playoff on October 4th (to be broadcast on TBS – DISH Channel 139) for the right to advance.
This change means it’s more important than ever for teams to battle their way to the division crown rather than settling for a wild card berth where anything can happen in a one game setting. The expanded playoffs also mean one more team will be playing into the postseason making the end of this season more exciting than ever since multiple teams still have a chance going into September.
American League Playoff Prospects
Projected Division Winners – Yankees, Tigers, Rangers
The Yankees and Rangers have led their divisions since the first month of the season and are unlikely to cede their leads in the final month (though if the Rays caught the Yankees during September it wouldn’t be a huge upset). The Central comes down to a battle between the Tigers and the White Sox who have seven games remaining against each other. However, the 22 games the Tigers have left with Cleveland, Kansas City and Minnesota give them an edge in scheduling that will lift them to the Central division crown.
Projected Wild Card Winners – Tampa Bay, White Sox
As exciting as it would be to see the Orioles or the A’s snap up an American League wild card berth, it’s hard to think either team will be standing tall on October 4th. The A’s schedule is brutal down the stretch with 23 of their final 31 games against teams that will be fighting for the playoffs themselves. The Orioles run differential says they should be closer to the Royals than the Rays. Couple that with the escalating pressure each game mounts as the season comes to an end and the inexperience of the Orioles will be too much to see the postseason this year. The Angels still have an outside shot, but too many losses in games they should have won makes it hard to pick them to come up big in September.
National League Playoff Prospects
Projected Division Winners – Nationals, Reds, Giants
Like the Yankees and Rangers in the American League, the Reds and Nationals look too strong to give up their division leads in the final month of the season. Both teams have played some of their best baseball in the 2nd half and have every reason to think this could be their year to win it all. The National League West is a dog fight between the Giants and Dodgers honoring one of baseball’s great rivalries. While either team could get hot and take the division, the slight nod goes to the Giants who have superior offense and comparable pitching to outlast the Dodgers down the stretch.
Projected Wild Card Winners – Pirates, Braves
Real intrigue will play out each week of September in the National League wild card race where the Braves, Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks all have a chance to claim wild card glory. The Braves have an edge in overall record and the three teams in the West could easily beat each other up and out of contention for the final slot. That leaves the Cardinals and Pirates contending for the last wild card spot, with the slight edge going to the Pirates and their balanced play on both sides of the ball. If Andrew McCutcheon continues his MVP pace, count on the Pirates staving off the Cardinals in the final week of the season and returning to the playoffs for the first time since 1992.
Watch all the crucial plays on MLB Strike Zone
Whichever team you root for in MLB, the only way to ensure you’ll see every play that matters down the stretch is with MLB Strike Zone on DISH (channel 153). Live look-ins, interviews, highlights, game recaps and studio commentary from some of the game’s past greats will keep diehard and casual fans up to date on everything they need to know to enjoy the final push toward the 2012 playoffs. Best of all – MLB Strike Zone is included in the DISH Multi-Sport Package along with other favorites like NBA TV, NFL RedZone and NBA TV.
With the most HD channels and technology like TV Everywhere, DISH sports packages let you watch Major League Baseball the way you want. Whether you are relaxing in your home theater or on the go enjoying live game action on your mobile device,* you won’t have to miss a single crucial play this MLB season!
* – Requires a Sling® adapter. Out-of-home requires broadband cellular or Internet connection.