Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Playoff Season Is Here: So Who Wins?
Looking at both of the American League and National League sides of things, here's what I have for October baseball:
AL Wild Card
Despite the fade at the end, and the eventual slide out of the AL West lead, the Houston Astros find themselves in the postseason. Taking on the New York Yankees in a one-game winner move on matchup, it's Dallas Keuchel against Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees have seemed to hang aroudn for more than I believe they should have most of the season, and Houston's offense should give Tanaka plenty of problems. Forget what Keuchel has done on the road, he's got the upper hand here. Give me Houston over New York.
AL Division Series
Toronto Blue Jays over Texas Rangers
Hard to argue with the best team in baseball post All Star Break. The Blue Jays went for it in grabbing big names at the deadline, and the offense should be plenty to get it done against somewhat of a lackluster Rangers pitching staff. If it isn't, there's always David Price and Marcus Stroman to answer to.
Kansas City Royals over Houston Astros
The Royals faded down the stretch, and that's not the ideal way to close out a regular season. However, there may not be a more complete team in baseball. The Astros get to the division series, but the run ends there. Too much pitching, too good of a defense, and an offense that can get it done. The Royals advance.
AL Championship Series
Toronto Blue Jays over Kansas City Royals
Home field or not, Toronto remains the best team in the big leagues right now. Again, not one-sided, they have enough to get it done both offensively and on the mound. Not the Cinderella the Royals were a season ago, the Blue Jays take their favorite tag and run with it.
NL Wild Card
Chicago Cubs over Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole is lights out against the Cubs at home, but Jake Arrieta is lights out against everyone everywhere. My NL Cy Young runner up carries the Cubs in the one game playoff, and the offense of youth scores enough to move on.
NL Division Series
New York Mets over Los Angeles Dodgers
This series is going to be interesting with the Dodgers all but guaranteed the first two games behind Kershaw and Greinke. Despite an ugly end to the year, look for the Mets offense to wake back up, and their pitching to compete as well. I think this series goes five games, but give me the Mets in a close call.
Chicago Cubs over St. Louis Cardinals
Injuries at the wrong time, and pitching missing some important arms, it's an imperfect disaster for the Cardinals. The Cubs were scorching to end the regular season, and there's no reason to think Joe Maddon's club is stopping any time soon. Give me Theo's kids here.
NL Championship Series
Chicago Cubs over New York Mets
With all intentions of ending the World Series drought after getting back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008, Chicago will come in guns blazing. After surviving two series already, Joe Maddon's team will be well prepared for Terry Collins and the Mets. With Matt Harvey's availability likely in question at this point, and Arrieta expected to be rolling, the Cubs get back to the World Series for the first time since 1945.
Toronto Blue Jays over Chicago Cubs
David vs. Goliath of sorts, the Blue Jays enter as the favorite with the Cubs the team unexpected in this spot. While Chicago should give Toronto a challenge, the Blue Jays should continue to be too much. Behind Josh Donaldson and an impressive offense, along with a formidable pitching staff, the deadline moves pay off north of the border. Give me the Blue Jays winning their third World Series and first since 1993.