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
Pirates Cubs vs Blue Jays