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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 4:50 AM

Yes, ALL FOUR divisional series in the 2012 Major League Baseball playoffs are still going strong thanks to survival victories Wednesday from the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s. Oakland looked dead in the water down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning late in the evening before a dramatic rally forced a fifth and final game.

In fact, both Bay Area teams will be playing in season finales Thursday against Cincinnati at Detroit respectively. The other two matchups will see Game Four, when St. Louis visits Washington and Baltimore battles the New York Yankees in the Bronx.

Here are the pitching matchups for today’s four-game extravaganza…in what’s shaping up as one of the most dramatic days in MLB Playoff history considering the sheer volume of exciting action. The numbers you see are from the regular season. Games are presented in schedule order.

SAN FRANCISCO at CINCINNATI (Thursday at 1:07 p.m. on TBS)

Cain: 2.79 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .222 opponents’ batting average

Latos: 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .230 opponents’ batting average

Vegas Line: Cincinnati -115, total of 7

The Reds are a small favorite thanks to home field and the quality of Latos. But, you know Cain is exactly the guy San Francisco wanted on the mound with their season on the line. You can expect a rabid crowd in Cincinnati for this critical game…though they may have trouble maintaining their noise if a pitcher’s duel does present itself. Unless one pitcher just doesn’t have his stuff, this is likely to be decided by one big hit here or there…in a game matching teams who have excelled at a very high level when it was most needed. The first LCS entrant will be determined in the first game of the day.

ST. LOUIS at WASHINGTON (Thursday at 4:07 p.m. on TBS)

Lohse: 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .239 opponents’ batting average

Detwiler: 3.40 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .241 opponents’ batting average

Vegas Line: Pick-em, total of 8

St. Louis brings a 2-1 series lead into this one, and hopes to join the Game One winner in the next round this weekend. Lohse is a crafty pitcher who shuts people down without necessarily overpowering them. You can see he doesn’t walk much because his opponents’ batting average isn’t great for an ace, but that WHIP is low. Detwiler was the #5 starter this year for Washington, but has been pushed up to #4 since Steven Strasburg is off the roster. St. Louis has to love where they are now…and they’ll be very motivated to finish the job today so they don’t have to face Nats ace Gio Gonzalez in a decider tomorrow.

BALTIMORE AT NY YANKEES (Thursday at 7:37 p.m. on TBS

Saunders: 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .281 opponents’ batting average

Hughes: 4.23 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .259 opponents’ batting average

Vegas Line: New York Yankees -150, total of 8.5

A tightly contested series so far (don’t forget that Game One was 2-2 in the 9th before the Yanks exploded), which its most vulnerable pitching matchup. Either guy could get hit hard by the opposing offense in this ballpark. Both teams are hoping their guy steps up and pitches a gem. Saunders already played that card down in Texas though. Can he do it two games in a row?

DETROIT at OAKLAND (Thursday at 9:37 p.m. on TNT)

Verlander: 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .217 opponents’ batting average

Parker: 3.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .248 opponents’ batting average

Vegas Line: Detroit -140, total of 6.5

Oakland managed to survive Scherzer’s start…though they couldn’t do that until he was out of the game! Now they get a return bout with super stud Verlander. This is a pitcher’s park, which means Parker has a chance to hang tough with Verlander for 5-6-7 innings. But, his margin for error is very slight. That’s why the visitor is a medium favorite. Verlander’s more likely to throw a shutout during his time on the mound. Note the low total from Vegas. Oddsmakers were expecting a pitcher’s duel based on the opener they posted.

Things are obviously fast and fluid on a day-to-day basis in terms of MLB selections from our VegasSportsMasters.  Be sure you check into the website 1-2 hours before first pitch of San Francisco-Cincinnati for details about what’s available today in the MLB GRAND SLAM and on a busy night of football. Don’t forget that the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Tennessee Titans tonight on the NFL Network. And, we have three college games including Arizona State/Colorado on ESPN.

Big play bulletins are noted on the home page of this website on a timely basis. More details are available on the “Buy Picks” page once the selections are officially determined, unit-rated, and posted by each of our industry legends.

This is a great time to be a sports fan.  And hot handicappers are waiting to hear from YOU on a day that will long be remembered in baseball history!

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