2015 MLB Playoff Preview Part 2, The Divisional Series

Here is part two, breaking down the Divisional Series coming up this week in baseball. My bracket was torn to pieces and I’m ashamed, my new World Series pick is the Cubs! I would love to see them break a 107 year curse.

ALDS

Houston Astros vs Kansas City Royals

In my final bracket on part one of the postseason series I had Kansas City advancing past the Yankees in the ALDS but obviously that is not possible. Believe it or not, the Astros are built better for a best of five or seven series than a one game playoff. Houston has the depth at pitching, the heart, the hustle, and the bats. Kansas City on the other hand is very sound all the way around, and they play smart baseball while making little to no mistakes. For the Astros, I’m putting the spotlight on Chris Carter, his power bat needs to show up against a strong pitching team in the Kansas CIty Royals. Carter needs to see more than five pitches in an at-bat and even if he gets out make it a quality at-bat. The spotlight for the Royals is on Lorenzo Cain, can he back up his MVP caliber season and carry it into October against one of the best starting rotations in the league and probably the best in the AL? Either way Cain will get on base and once he is there he will certainly wreak havoc. This series is going to be a very close one but I am going to give the edge to the Kansas City Royals, I think that the Astros are the better team but the Royals lineup is a lot less streaky than the Yankees lineup. I do not like the Astros but they keep proving me wrong and they very well could win this series but KC’s experience will take them a long way.

Prediction: Kansas City (3-2)

Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays

I really like the Blue Jays right now, it is the first time in a long time that they’ve been playing in October and they have a mentality of World Series or bust. The Rangers were a surprise this year and they have been very solid and consistent but the Blue Jays offense is just too good and I think Toronto will gain the upper hand. The spotlight for Texas is on Cole Hamels, Hamels is a great postseason performer and one of the main reasons Philadelphia won the Fall Classic in 2008. It is hard for a starting pitcher to spark a team, but Hamels will need to shut down the Jays offense in convincing fashion to get momentum for his team. The spotlight for the Blue Jays is on Josh Donaldson, in my opinion this year’s AL MVP but can he continue his success in crunch time? Even if he doesn’t Bautista or any other bat will pick him up which is why I’m not worried about this series.

Prediction: Toronto (3-1)

NLDS

Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals

The Cubs looked impressive on Wednesday, picking up a all or nothing win in Pittsburgh against a strong Pirates team. The Cardinals on the other hand have been a model of consistency all season and they’ve shown no reason why that should change. The spotlight for the Cardinals is on Jason Heyward, he needs to go out there and prove why he used to be a top prospect and why the Cardinals gave the Braves a great pitcher in Shelby Miller for him. The spotlight for the Cubs is on Kris Bryant, he is always very calm and collected and looked very strong defensively on Wednesday. His bat will come around and I think he will put a dent in the scoreboard both metaphorically and literally. Personally, I think on paper the Cubs are the better team but the Cardinals have the experience. I’m going to give the edge to the Chicago Cubs since it is kind of destiny from the Back to the Future series and their fans have been great. The Cubs haven’t won since 1908 and they are putting together a very strong case to end that curse. But if Mark Prior and Kerry Wood couldn’t do it how can Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester? They’ll find a way.

Prediction: Chicago (NL) (3-2)

New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers

I am really looking forward to this series and I think it has the potential to be one of the lowest scoring series in postseason history. The Mets have been strong lately and their offense seems to have found a rhythm along with its pitching being amazing. The Dodgers on the other hand have a great pitching staff as well headlined by Greinke and Kershaw with a well-rounded offense filled with veterans. The spotlight for New York is on Matt Harvey, which Matt Harvey will show up and how many innings will he be able to pitch? That is definitely a big question in a series that could be decided by less than ten runs overall. The spotlight in Los Angeles is on Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw doesn’t have the best track record in October but he is too talented to never be able to produce went it counts. I think he wants to prove himself in the postseason and I truly believe we are in for something special in terms of his preformance. The Mets have been really great but the one-two punch of Kershaw and Greinke is too overwhelming to overcome, I’m giving the Dodgers this one. But this series is truly a pick-em’ series and it will definitely come down to five games.

Prediction: Los Angeles (NL) (3-2)

Since my champion was eliminated last night I need to fill the spot of the Pirates, and I really think that the Cubbies are up to the task of bringing this one back to Chicago. Honorable mention are the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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