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Monthly Archives: October 2015

World Series

Mets vs Royals

And then there were two.

The New York Mets will face the Kansas City Royals in the World Series starting Tuesday evening, with Matt Harvey set to square off against Edinson Volquez in Game 1. The Mets will follow with Jacob DeGromm, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, while the Royals will use Johnny Cueto, Yordano Ventura and Chris Young to round out their rotation.

Some of the story lines worth following will be if Daniel Murphy will suffer any ill effects from his long layoff between series after briefly turning into Babe Ruth and setting the record for most games in a row with a home run in the playoffs. If Murphy’s home run streak continues, good luck to the Royals stopping the Mets in this series. Kansas City is fresh off of beating the best team in baseball (by run differential) this season thanks in part to their contact-oriented offense, great defense and baserunning like this. There have been some great pieces surfacing lately on contact-hitting teams faring better in the playoffs, especially against power pitchers, but most have focused on how the Royals have done against pure velocity (very well). However, these Mets starters (and back-end relievers) are much more than just pure power. What makes the Mets starters of Harvey, DeGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz so good is not just that they throw hard, but they have the ability to locate and control both their fastballs and their secondary pitches. It will be interesting to see if the Mets will use a counter strategy such as throwing more balls out of the strike zone against a Royals team that puts the ball in play so often and doesn’t take many walks.

To top that all off, we have the designated hitter rule making an impact in this interleague series. The Royals have employed Kendrys Morales at that position all year long, but considering that they would need to bench Eric Hosmer or play him in the outfield to keep Morales in the starting lineup, he will likely be relegated to bench duty for the three games in New York. The Mets don’t have a pure designated hitter either, with Juan Uribe or Kelly Johnson as possibilities. They could also help their defense by starting Juan Lagares in center, shifting Yoenis Cespedes to Left and putting Conforto or Cuddyer in the lineup without risking their gloves in the outfield. Cespedes has also been a question mark heading into this series, after injuring himself in an off-field golfing incident. But he says he will be ready to go in this series, we’ll see if that is the case.

So add that all together and what do we get? Well, predictions are hard in any sport, but in a seven game, winner-take-all baseball series they are pretty much impossible. With that being said my prediction is…Mets in 6 games.

Enjoy!

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Well that went a bit better. After an 0 for 2 start in the Wild Card games, I righted the ship and went 3 for 4 with my picks in the Division Series, only missing on the Mets-Dodgers series which I did say would go 5 games and could go either way. So how am I feeling right now?

101415_tor_bats_batflip_medres_l3h1efwsI have a feeling I might use that gif a lot in the coming years.

We move now to the Championship Series round where the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays are set to face off in a best of seven series starting tonight with Edison Volquez facing Marco Estrada. The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs will start their series on Saturday with Matt Harvey squaring off against Jon Lester. All of these teams have overcome a lot of obstacles to get to this point and it will be exciting to see who moves on, especially since basically none were picked to win their divisions at the beginning of the year.

American League Championship Series

Royals vs Blue Jays

I’m keeping my picks the same through the rest of the playoffs for now. I still think the Jays have the best all around team in the playoffs sporting the best offense, an underrated pitching staff and bullpen and good defense. The Royals are a great team when they can string hits together, but I don’t see it happening over a seven game series with strikeout pitchers like David Price and Marcus Stroman ready to go. Things got chippy earlier in the season between these teams, so expect emotions to be high. I’m taking the Toronto Bat Flips in six.

National League Championship Series

Pirates Cubs vs Dodgers Mets

I knew that I liked the Wild Card winner to advance against the Cardinals, I just picked the wrong wild card. So it goes. The Cubs are one of the most exciting teams to watch this postseason, thanks to a slew of talented rookies and great managing from Joe Maddon. It will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of shortstop Addison Russell, and the flamethrowers in the Mets pitching staff. I’m still taking the Cubs in this series, but I think it will be highly entertaining and could easily go all seven games. I’m taking the Cubs in seven.

World Series

Pirates Cubs vs Blue Jays

Enjoy your baseball everyone!

Well that’s what I get for betting against the aces. I’m already 0 for 2 on my predictions so far thanks to the one game playoff, but I’m not upset about it. Those were some great games and dominant pitching performances. Both featured aces coming into a rival ballpark, quieting the crowd, and delivering dominant performances. They may have gotten a little help from the home plate umpires, but neither game was close enough for it to have made the difference between winning and losing.

Just a note that, despite picking them to win it all, I feel bad for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have gone into two straight postseasons as a dominant team and fallen victim to aces on historic runs. The one game playoff giveth and the one game playoff taketh away.

But on we go into the Division Series round with my revised predictions.

American League Division Series

Blue Jays vs Rangers

The Jays will take on Texas with David Price going up against Yovani Gallardo. Price and the Jays are my pick for this game and for the series as a whole as they come in with the best offense in the majors and a surprisingly good defense to back it up. Price and Stroman (#ACLGang) lead the pitching staff backed up by a bullpen that has improved as the year has gone on. The Jays are the team to beat, but don’t sleep on the Rangers. Gallardo and Hamels are more than capable of silencing a lineup, even one as strong as Toronto’s, and Adrian Beltre has put together a ridiculous second-half run, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest third basemen of all time. This will be a fun series, but I’m still taking the Jays in 4.

Yankees Astros vs Royals

The Astros were the first, but will not be the last of my wrong playoff calls this year, as they cruised to a win over the Yankees in New York. Keuchel was dominant, displaying the Cy Young-caliber control and deception he has been working with all year. The Royals come into this series a bit bruised, but not broken. Catcher Salvador Perez and Center Fielder Lorenzo Cain have both been dealing with some minor injuries, but the time off for the last few days should do wonders. Yordano Ventura starts things off against Collin Mchugh tonight in what should be a back and forth series with fairly equally matched teams. The Astros are a good young ballclub and I could easily swing and miss picking against them again, but I’m taking the Royals in 5.

National League Division Series

Pirates Cubs vs Cardinals

The NL Central rivals square off tomorrow in St. Louis with former Red Sox teammates Jon Lester and John Lackey squaring off. The Cubs are healthy heading into this series, but the Cardinals are not – with Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday both question marks coming into the series. Adam Wainwright has worked his way back to pitch, but will only be available out of the bullpen, and Carlos Martinez is out for the year with a shoulder injury. But the Cardinals have overcome injuries before with a next man up approach. This will be a series decided by young position players, with the Cubs and Cardinals each possessing an embarrassment of riches in that regard. I’ll take the Cubs in 4 over the aching Cardinals.

Dodgers vs Mets

The last matchup on the Division Series slate will see Clayton Kershaw go up against Jacob DeGromm. This will be a series decided by the pitching, as Zach Greinke will also face Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey will go in Game 3. This is going to be a fun series to watch, as the Dodgers are World Series or bust after three straight division championships and the Mets are trying to capitalize on their great season and contract years of their deadline acquisitions. This should be another series with great pitching matchups, meaning it will likely be settled by a few timely hits or some untimely defensive lapses. I’m going with the Dodgers in 5, but this could easily go either way.

The rest of my predictions are below and I’ll do another post leading up to the Championship Series games, and I’m sure updating my many incorrect predictions. Enjoy the games everyone!

American League Championship Series

Royals vs Blue Jays

National League Championship Series

Pirates Cubs vs Dodgers

World Series

Pirates Cubs vs Blue Jays

It has been an incredible season highlighted by historic pitching performances and ridiculous rookies. As usual, some of my preseason picks worked out, some did not. What follows will be a rundown of each of the playoff matchups and my picks for the winners, starting with the wild card round. My picks for the winners are in bold, but I’ll also include why that pick could be wrong – meaning what would happen to cause the series to swing the other way. Enjoy the playoffs everyone. Baseball is awesome.

American League Wild Card

Yankees vs Astros

The baseball playoffs kick off tonight with Dallas Keuchel leading the Astros on three days rest against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees. I’m taking New York despite Keuchel’s history of dominance against the Yankees. For the Yanks to win, they’ll need their right handed bats led by Alex Rodriguez to come up big and put a few balls in the air against Keuchel’s groundball-centric arsenal. For the Astros to win they’ll need Tanaka to falter in a big game situation and their 1-3 in the order of Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa to string some timely hits together.

National League Wild Card

Pirates vs Cubs

In what is probably the most fun matchup on paper for a wild card game in its brief history, Jake Arrieta leads the Chicago Cubs into Pittsburgh to take on Gerrit Cole and the Pirates. With this matchup you can pretty much flip a coin, but I’m taking the Pirates in what could ostensibly be an upset. Arrieta has been on an absolute tear for the last few months of the season, vaulting him into the conversation for the NL Cy Young with the Dodger Duo of Kershaw and Greinke, and it would be easy to make the prediction that that tear will continue into the postseason. But the Pirates are possibly the best team in the Majors, and with an ace of their own, a deep bench, and a fan base that has been waiting a calendar year for redemption in the one-game playoff, I’m taking the Pirates in this one. Expect a low-scoring, tense affair. This one is going to be fun to watch.

American League Division Series

Yankees vs Royals

Blue Jays vs Rangers

National League Division Series

Pirates vs Cardinals

Dodgers vs Mets

American League Championship Series

Royals vs Blue Jays

National League Championship Series

Pirates vs Dodgers

World Series

Pirates vs Blue Jays