The last day of the regular season; and we already know what we are in store for in this year’s MLB Postseason. Let’s dive right into the Wild Card Games and talk about the matchups, thank you to those who voted on my Twitter poll for what you wanted me to talk about next. If you don’t already follow me, head over to Twitter and follow @WTPMikeyT913!
Tuesday, October 3 – AL Wild Card Game
Twins @ Yankees
Tuesday night in the Bronx, two teams send out their respective Aces, to try and win a play in game to face off with the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the ALDS.
For the Yankees, Luis Severino will take the mound for the first postseason appearance in his young career. The 23-year-old right-hander will battle the Twins offense coming into the game with a 14-6 record and a 2.98 ERA with 230 strikeouts on the season. He has gone 9-2 since the All Star break with a 2.28 ERA, picking the right time to string together some high quality starts.
Opposing him on the hill will be 34-year-old righty, Ervin Santana. The anchor of Minnesota’s pitching staff, is coming off a 16-8 season with a 3.28 ERA in 211.1 IP. With 167 Ks under his belt, it seems that this game is going to come down to which of the two aces can make the least amount of mistakes.
Yankee stadium has some short dimensions and a small porch in right that caters to left handed hitters, but even some balls that would be flyouts to right field off a righty’s bat can carry out of here if its hit in the right spot. With Aaron Judge’s 52 home runs this season, look for him to try and make a splash in this game and strike early with a long ball.
It seems that even in games the Yankees lost late in September were on nights the Red Sox lost as well, keeping them in the mix atop the East Division. Though they didn’t come up with the Division Champs title this season, they’ve managed to keep their bats hot and win games when they need to. Playing at home in the Wild Card is a huge advantage, and I don’t expect the Yankees to disappoint the home crowd. I’m expecting a strong outing from Severino, 6 to 7 innings of near shutdown baseball, giving up one or two runs, and turning the ball over to the DEVASTATING Yankee bullpen, backed by Robertson, Chapman, and Betances. I predict roughly a 5-2 final score in the Bronx in favor of the Bombers.
Wednesday, October 4 – NL Wild Card Game
Rockies @ DBacks
Wednesday night’s Wild Card action takes place in the desert, with yet another solid pitching matchup headlining the contest.
On the road, the Rockies will send Jon Gray to try to silence the bats of the DBacks. Dawning a 10-4 record with a 3.67 ERA and 112 Ks on the season, Gray will have a tall task facing off against Arizona’s heart of the lineup led by A.J. Pollock, J.D. Martinez, and Paul Goldschmidt. Gray is in the midst of a streak of his own, holding opponents to three runs or less in each of the last 13 starts. If he can keep the DBacks to three runs or less to keep that streak alive, he can put his team in a good spot to come away with a road win and a chance to play in the ALDS against the LA Dodgers.
Opposing Gray will be one of the best right handers in baseball over the past few seasons, Zack Greinke. With a 17-7 record and a 3.20 ERA and 215 Ks, he has put together yet another Cy Young caliber season. But will he be able to perform in a do-or-die game against a high powered offense that can do damage in a number of ways. With MVP-number season’s from Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, solid bats from LeMahieu, Story, Desmond, CarGo, Lucroy, and Reynolds, plus veteran talent like Gerardo Parra, Greinke has to be on his A game if he wants to face off against NL West rival, and champion, LA Dodgers in the NLDS.
Gray has been throwing the ball incredibly well in the second half, helping his Rockies claim the final spot in the Wild Card game. I look for him to put together yet another quality start, holding the big bats of Arizona to minimal damage. But the lineup behind him will provide enough run support to squeak out a road win. Look for Greinke to give up 4 and be pulled around the fifth inning, and the Rockies to come away with roughly a 5-3 win.
Thursday, October 5 – ALDS
Red Sox @ Astros
I love the Boston red Sox, I always have and I always will. But my god, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a higher paid pitching staff underperform in the most important month of the season. If this trend continues, Boston will be sent packing quickly again this season. The top of Boston’s pitching rotation needs to refocus and be ready for a high powered Houston offense that can put you away early, as the Sox witnessed this past weekend losing 12-2. Sale, Porcello, Pomeranz, and whatever David Price can provide, needs to compete with if not be better than Keuchel, Verlander, McCullers Jr., and Morton. If this series comes down to relying on a win from ERod, the Sox better just throw in the towel.
We know Houston can score…in abundance. But the Red Sox have a heavy duty lineup and can put runs on the board in a heartbeat. They have lacked some consistency with their bats, but for them to advance to the ALCS, they are going to need to provide their pitching enough run support because the Sox will definitely have runs scored against them in this series. From position 1 to 9, the Houston Astros lineup has a guy that can change a game with one swing.
I see this series going 4 or 5, no matter what. But it’ll come down to which pitchers make the least amount of mistakes and which defenses pick up their pitchers the most. These lineups will provide us fans an offensive shootout, so damage control on the mound will win this series. I have to have faith in my boys, and hope that the pitching staff will overcome this bad string of starts. Chris Sale will dominate in his postseason debut and help carry the sox to a series win in 5 games. But with my opinion in this series being a little bit bias and more hopeful than anything, and the way the Sox have played in late September, Houston could definitely roll over the sox in 3 maybe 4 games very easily, as much as it pains me to admit.
Yankees @ Indians
Cleveland’s pitching staff and bullpen are built for the way the teams play baseball in the Playoffs nowadays. Paired with a lineup that can score virtually at will, I don’t see the Yankees winning a game in this series, and NO this is no bias choice by any means.
Looking at only the facts and placing opinions aside, Cleveland has had one of the best season’s in professional baseball history. Coming off a loss to the Cubs in last year’s World Series, I look for Cleveland to come back this year and make a statement. I don’t think anyone’s messing around in that clubhouse despite how easy and fun the Indians have made winning look. Expect Cleveland to take the first two games in Cleveland easily. The Yanks will be lucky to make this series get to a fifth game. Cleveland advancing to the ALCS for consecutive seasons is virtually a lock in my eyes. The Yankees pitching rotation will prove to simply not be enough to handle the bats of the Cleveland lineup and, despite an exciting win against Minnesota to get into the series, will be sent home earlier than they hoped they would.
Friday October 6 – NLDS
Cubs @ Nationals
This series is probably the most evenly matched of all the Divisional Postseason Series. The Cubs obviously have proved they can win in the postseason against the game’s toughest opponents. Defending World Series Champions is a title they have enjoyed playing under this season, and this Postseason they have a chance to repeat for the first time since the Yankees last did it. Though there have been ups and downs for them this season, as of late they’ve seemingly flipped the switch and again look like last year’s championship team.
Then we have the Washington Nationals. A pitching staff, led by Scherzer, Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez, that is one of my favorites, has to face one of the toughest lineups in baseball. Veterans Zimmerman and Kendrick look to ignite the offense powered by Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, and Bryce Harper, to help support their pitching staff. But with their not so great Postseason performance in recent years, it’d hard not to pick the Cubs as favorites in this series. With experience and momentum in their favor, Chicago can’t let the Nats hang around; they need to take care of business early in this series. Cubs in four, as much as I’d love to see Bryce Harper advance to the NLCS.
Rockies @ Dodgers
I’m aware there is still a solid chance that I am wrong and that the Dodgers take on the Diamondbacks in this series, but it doesn’t even matter. The Los Angeles Dodgers have wowed the baseball world this year putting on one of the best shows in the first half anyone’s ever seen, nearly locking up postseason berth barring a drastic fallout that never happened. There should be no reason they won’t sweep this series, or win in four at the very least.
But there’s one cool what if scenario here. Darvish has just 2 postseason starts in his career, both resulting in losses; and Clayton Kershaw has never pitched to his full potential consistently in the playoffs. If, for some crazy reason, LA’s two-headed monster can’t perform in the top of the rotation, can the rest of the pitching staff and the offense pick up the Dodgers enough to carry them through the playoffs? It’ll be interesting to see, for sure. Because for many years now, after tremendous regular seasons, we’ve asked, ‘Is it the Dodgers year this year?’ And if this year isn’t their year, I don’t know when it’ll ever be.
Tune in to the start of the MLB Postseason, starting this Tuesday night with the AL Wild Card Game, to see how my predictions play out.
I’ll be writing my next article after the conclusion of the NL Wild Card Game on Thursday morning to make any updates to the matchups and to go in depth on all the Divisional Series games that will begin play later that night. For now, enjoy the last night of the regular season, and be as excited as I am for some October baseball. Also, stay tuned on my Twitter acount, @WTPMikeyT913, between my articles for Postseason chatter.