The beginning of the MLB Divisional Rounds take place later today, both of the America League Divisional Series kick off while we will all have to wait an extra day for the National League Divisional Series to start. Since today is today, we will look over and preview the two ALDS series set for the next few days. Also, be sure to look for my NLDS Preview coming soon to a theater near you.
Boston Red Sox vs Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians have been limping to the playoffs after being scorching hot seemingly all throughout the summer. But with the summer heat declining it seems so has the Tribe. There was a time where the Indians had one of the most feared pitching staffs in baseball with Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. Now Carlos Carrasco is on the 60-day DL, Danny Salazar strained his muscle less than a month back and Corey Kluber strained his quad but will be rushed back for the ALDS. Trevor Bauer is a great pitcher and in my opinion one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball but one healthy pitcher can’t carry a team…. save Madison Bumgarner. The Indians bullpen lead by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen will shorten the game for the depleted Cleveland rotation and give them their best shot to hang with Boston. Tyler Naquin, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana have all been playing well this season and Lindor and Naquin’s relative inexperience paired with Napoli’s veteran leadership should work out just fine. The Red Sox on the other hand seem to be firing on all cylinders and AL Cy Young Candidate Rick Porcello is leading the charge. It will be interesting to see whether or not David Price can get the best of his postseason demons and pitch like the ace he truly is. I believe on paper, this Red Sox team is better than the current Indians team but the Tribe is managed by Terry Francona while the Red Sox are managed by John Farrell, advantage Cleveland.
Cleveland Indians X-Factors: Tyler Naquin and Trevor Bauer
Boston Red Sox X-Factors: Andrew Benintendi and David Price
Prediction: Red Sox over Indians (3-2)
Toronto Blue Jays vs Texas Rangers
The Blue Jays won a great Wild Card battle against the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings and now head to Arlington, Texas to take on the Rangers. This ALDS is “The Rematch”, a rematch between Jose Bautista and Rougend Odor after Odor tossed the punch hear around the nation earlier this year. There is definitely some bad blood between these two teams so this series itself should be one of the most entertaining ones in recent memory. The Rangers have been carried by outfielder Ian Desmond this season as well as a strong pitching staff and a stronger (as of late) trade deadline. Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish will spearhead the effort to finish off the Blue Jays while late season acquisitions Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran should play vital roles in the success of the Rangers. The Blue Jays on the other side have a strong pitching staff with J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman as well as world class closing pitcher, Roberto Osuna. The strength of the Jays however is not their pitching, it is their hitting. A poor man’s Murderer’s Row with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. I think that the Texas Rangers have a team built for long term success, for example a 162 game season, but not so much for short term success, at least not as much as the Blue Jays are. Toronto’s four man rotation, veteran bullpen and bat flipping lineup was made for postseason play.
Texas Rangers X-Factors: Carlos Beltran and Martin Perez
Toronto Blue Jays X-Factors: Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano
Prediction: Blue Jays over Rangers (3-1)
What did you think of my predictions? Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @N2KSports or on Facebook at N2K Sports.
Cover Photo via The Boston Globe