Since the MLB playoffs start Tuesday and with the amount of talent this year’s playoffs include it should be quite an exciting October. Here are my predictions and an overall preview of the postseason. Agree or disagree, comment your thoughts or projected bracket and we will see who is right. Since the Wild Card is only a best of one, it is very hard to predict because anything can happen. If I am wrong I’ll fix the predictions in order to have a bracket of the Divisional Series, Championship Series and World Series (similar to the first round of the NCAA tournament).
AL Wild Card Game
Houston Astros @ New York Yankees
The Astros and Yankees have already announced their starting pitchers for Tuesday’s one game playoff. The Astros have never captured a World Series title and this year is definitely no different. If the Astros had won the AL West it would’ve been a hugely different story since the Astros have the depth at pitching staff with Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers, and Kazmir to win a best of five series and maybe even perhaps two best of seven series but they don’t stand a chance in a one-game, winner take all matchup for their postseason life. The Yankees have decided to start Masahiro Tanaka who was been very consistent this year averaging 3 to 4 earned runs per game but I think that his first postseason experience will bring out his best performance. Also, with their insanely good bullpen and their postseason veteran filled lineup I believe that New York is sitting pretty tonight. I really like the situation that the Yankees are in and I truly can’t fathom any big cons that will outweigh their sizable pros. As for the Astros, I really give them little to no shot at this game, their offense is great and I really like what their front office has done in order to get them where they are. But I frankly just don’t agree with starting Dallas Keuchel on three days rest and I believe he will be their downfall. Keuchel can’t pitch on the road half as well as he does at home, his road splits this season credited him with a 5-8 record and a 3.77 ERA. Houston thinks this pitcher (even on five days rest) could going to carry them through this wild card game? Think again, I don’t think the lights from a playoff game in Yankee Stadium will compare to the pressure he feels in Houston, Texas. I predict that the Yankees offense will chase him from the game by the fifth or sixth inning and the Astros bullpen does not have the credentials to keep their ballclub in the game.
Prediction: New York (AL) – 9 over Houston – 4
NL Wild Card Game
Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates
Before I start, just a note that the NL Central is unfair. The Cubs and Pirates have yet to announce their starting pitchers for Wednesday’s game but I will assume that the Cubs will start Jake Arrieta on four days rest and that the Pittsburgh Pirates will start Gerrit Cole who is fully rested. I think this is going to be a very exciting game since it features two well rounded and solid pitchers. Arrieta has been a rock for Chicago all year leading the league in wins (22) and the scariest part about Arrieta is that he has been better on the road. On the road, Arrieta is 13-1 with a 1.60 ERA, I think I’m going to repeat that, ON THE ROAD, Arrieta is 13-1 with a 1.60 ERA. Gerrit Cole is definitely up to the task of defending Pittsburgh with the fans behind him. This matchup will be a pitchers duel but I’m going to go back to the bullpens, and Pittsburgh had THE best bullpen in baseball this year. Even though I don’t think these teams are going to have to reach far into their bullpens I also don’t see Cole going nine innings and that is where guys like All-Stars Tony Watson (2014) and Mark Melancon (2013, 2015) come into the picture. Arrieta on the other hand could very well pitch nine innings and that’s what makes this prediction very difficult along with their offenses are very comparable to one another. I’m going to break this one down a little further in order to make my prediction. The Pirates obviously have the home field advantage and even though I will not change Arrieta it could very well be a factor for Cole, the Pirates offense, as well as the Cubs offense. In terms of starting pitching I have to give the Chicago Cubs the edge, Arrieta is just too good especially on the road. For the offense, I really like the Chicago Cubs all the way around the diamond. Just not as much as I like the Pirates especially with the way they’ve been playing lately and the swagger/confidence that their outfield walks with, therefore the edge for offense goes to Pittsburgh. The Cubs bullpen isn’t really in the same league as the Pirates bullpen but to be fair I don’t anticipate the Cubbies having to use it a lot if at all. This game is going to come down to the wire and I see Arrieta leaving the game late with a slim lead and the Pirates coming back to make it a ballgame.
Prediction: Pittsburgh – 3 over Chicago (NL) – 2
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions and predictions in the comments section, here is my projected playoff outcome and we will see how it fairs throughout the remainder of the MLB postseason and October.
Wildcard: NYY over HOU (1-0)
ALDS: TOR over TEX (3-1)
KC over NYY (3-2)
ALCS: KC over TOR (4-3)
WIldcard PIT over CHC (1-0)
NLDS: LAD over NYM (3-1)
PIT over STL (3-2)
NLCS: PIT over LAD (4-2)
PIT over KC (4-2)
I know it is risky picking a team that could be eliminated on Wednesday but I really like the Pirates this year and I think that they have what it takes. I also think that their players know this may be their best opportunity with the Cubs and Astros getting exponentially better every year. Let’s Go Buccos, Raise the Jolly Roger and bring a championship to the Steel City so that Steelers fans can stop crying about how good Tom Brady and the Patriots are.