We're about set to enter the postseason, and before we do, we are going to be taking one last look at the 10 teams that are in the playoffs and how they stacked up against each other from a monetary standpoint this year.
1: Cleveland Indians (92-70, +$2,492): Manager Terry Francona and his Indians finished off the year with wins in 10 games in a row, and the team went 20-5 in its last 25 games. That's the stuff that dreams are made of, though we know that the degree of competition is about to get a heck of a lot harder than it was at the end of the regular season when the Rays come to town for the one game Wild Card playoff on Wednesday night.
2: Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68, +$2,342): Finishing off a sweep against the Reds was a remarkable accomplishment on the road, though the end result is that it only garnered enough to muster a one-game playoff at home at PNC Park. Pittsburgh had better make its home field advantage stand up in this one, or a year that was set to go down in the history books for all of the right reasons might ultimately end up being a bitter disappointment. The Bucs won't win the World Series in all likelihood, but the longer they are around, the better that it really is for baseball.
3: Boston Red Sox (97-65, +$1,864): Boston finished out the year with the best record in the American League, and now, it has the right to sit back and watch and wait for either the Rays or the Indians. Either way, the story is going to be a good one, knowing that either another AL East team is going to be coming to Fenway Park, or the team's old manager, Terry Francona is going to be back to try to take a bite out of his former team. It's going to be a juicy postseason for sure.
4: Oakland Athletics (96-66, +$1,851): You can look up and down the roster for the A's and wonder how on earth they became a playoff team for the second straight year. They hit the ball better than you would think, they field the ball incredibly well, and men like RHP Bartolo Colon who seemed to be rejects to the other 29 teams in the game are striving and pitching like aces. Still, Oakland didn't last long in the playoffs last year, and it has another series against the Tigers to show for its work.
5: St. Louis Cardinals (97-65, +$1,106): Winning the last six games of the season not only ensured that the Cardinals were going to win the NL Central, but it also ultimately gave them the best record in the National League as well. They dodge the Dodgers in the opening round, and they don't have to deal with the Braves either. The downside to all of this? The team has to take four days off to wait for the Pirates or the Reds to come to Busch Stadium.
6: Atlanta Braves (96-66, +$994): Atlanta might very well rue the day that it lost two out of three games at home against the Brewers on the final week of the season. Those were the games that took this team out of the driver's seat for the best record in the National League, and the punishment is playing against the Dodgers. The good news is that the Braves do have home field advantage, but the bad news is that they are playing what has been the best team in the bigs over the course of the last three months.
7: Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70, +$541): LA stumbled a bit down the stretch, and that's going to send it on the road for the first two games of the postseason. That said, if there is a team that we have all of the confidence in the world in, this is the one. Going into a short series with a properly rested LHP Clayton Kershaw followed by a properly rested RHP Zach Greinke is just nuts, especially when you consider the fact that LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu is waiting to pitch Game 3 back at Dodger Stadium.
8: Tampa Bay Rays (92-71, +$77): The win in Game 163 was the one that put the Rays above the breakeven line for the season, and bettors certainly appreciate that. It wasn't easy to get into the playoffs, as Tampa Bay folded a bit down the stretch, but we've been saying all season long if this team gets in, it is as dangerous as could be. Tampa Bay has the best starting staff in the American League, and LHP David Price helped prove that with his complete game on Monday night in Arlington.
9: Cincinnati Reds (90-72, -$509): Cincinnati really choked down the stretch of the season, and that's going to send it on the road for the one-game playoff. We aren't all that sure whether Manager Dusty Baker could be managing for his job on Tuesday or not, but we know that the situation isn't a good one. Cincy only went 41-40 on the road this year, and it has to go on the road to one of the loudest venues in all of baseball when the Bucs are winning.
10: Detroit Tigers (93-69, -$1,150): 3B Miguel Cabrera is still hurting, and RHP Justin Verlander still had one of the worst money marks in the game, and those two reasons are why the Tigers only won the AL Central by a single game over the Indians. This is the only team that lost a whole boatload of money this year for bettors, and if you take out what RHP Max Scherzer did, this wouldn't have even been a team that made it to the playoffs, and it would have been a crew that was one of the most disappointing in all of baseball.