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MLB Playoff picks: Wild Card round

Just as Bug Selig and Major League Baseball's owners wanted, baseball fans are treated to two immediate Game 7s, as the Texas Rangers host the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, while the Atlanta Braves play host to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In both games, the the home team is favored.

Texas will send Yu Darvish to the mound, who has turned into one of baseball's best pitchers since August. Prior to August, though, Darvish was wildly inconsistent, and struggled with his command. Darvish would be excellent one night, and then go out and let the Mariners smack him around.

Baltimore counters with Joe Saunders, who simply isn't that good. Saunders has been serviceable for Baltimore, but that's about all you can say about him, pitching 174 and 2/3 innings with a 4.07 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

Texas has looked awful, but they've had a full day off, and get to play in Arlington with a superior pitcher. I just don't see the Rangers losing.

Prediction: Rangers 6, Orioles 3. Darvish is too much for Baltimore's bats, and their storybook season comes to an end.

Over in the National League, the Braves are sending Kris Medlen to face off against the National League's best offense. Medlen has been on an incredible run, and the Braves have won 23 starts of his in a row.

Kyle Lohse starts for St. Louis. He's not scary, but he's had a good season, and I understand Mike Matheny's decision.

Prediction: Cardinals 7, Braves 4. St. Louis pulls off the upset...again. Medlen's LOB% is unsustainable, as is his abnormally low BABiP. That catches up to him against the St. Louis offense.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.