MLB Postseason Predictions
Matt Robinson | Contributor
*Predictions made on Oct. 4
October means the end of another disappointing Padres season for San Diegans, but baseball fans can still rejoice because playoff baseball is finally here.
At this point in the season, the argument over advanced statistics versus the eye test is irrelevant. The chance for a prospect to breakout is long gone. All that matters now is which team can perform in the clutch and step up to the occasion. clutch
That’s what makes October baseball so great. Any one team’s offense can heat up, or a single pitcher can carry an organization to the end. Throw team salaries and regular season records out the window because truly anything can happen.
A year dominated by the Central division will come to an explosive conclusion in the playoffs. It starts as the Cubs and Pirates are set to play the winner take all NL Wild Card game on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
The probable pitching matchup of Jake Arrieta (CHC) against Gerrit Cole (PIT) on the mound has me all sorts of excited. Two of the top pitchers in the NL battling against each other in a one game playoff should be mandatory to watch for any sports fan.
As for the outcome, it’s a tossup, but in my mind it would be hard to bet against a pitcher at the height of his powers as Arrieta is. He posted a 0.75 earned run average (ERA) in his 15 starts after the All-Star Break.
For a casual fan, that stat might not jump out as much as it should. A 0.75 ERA marks the lowest second half ERA in the entire history of Major League Baseball. That is the kind of stat that gives me confidence in the Cubs, no matter how terrible of a playoff history they have.
The winner of that game continues on to play another divisional rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, in a best-of-five series. Being perennial contenders, the Cardinals are always a tough out in October and this year should be no different. Expect a fierce battle between whoever survives the Wild Card game and the dominant, yet somehow under the radar, Cardinals.
This Central division has been competitive and entertaining throughout the year, and it can only get better from here on out. That level of competition is why I think whoever comes out of this Divisional round will represent the National League in the World Series.
On the top of the bracket, the New York Mets, the surprise team of the year, will face off against the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers. Struggling is putting it lightly. The Dodgers have limped across the finish line against a weak schedule, and even suffered two different four game losing streaks during the month of September.
A personal disdain and a lineup with glaring holes has me skeptical about the Dodgers, but a hot duo of Kershaw and Greinke could easily equal two wins to start the series.
Top tier pitching and a reinvigorated lineup with the midseason addition of Yoenis Cespedes, driving in 44 runs in his 56 games in a NYM uniform, makes the Mets a dangerous team. It is the most complete team the Mets have fielded in recent memory and they are looking to capitalize.
With all that said, my National League Championship Series prediction is Cubs over Mets in six games. I am banking on the young, powerful bats of Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber and the rest of the Cubs to come alive and entertain us into October. If only my prediction meant something and was able to heal the sorrows of suffering Cubs fans.
It took until the last day of the season to lock in the AL bracket, one that probably no one could have guessed entering the 2015 season.
The AL West gave us a little warm up to postseason drama, but, in the end, the Houston Astros kept themselves from choking away the final playoff spot. They will face off against another struggling team in the New York Yankees in the Wild Card game on Tuesday.
In my mind it doesn’t matter who prevails in that game because the Kansas City Royals will be waiting, primed to redeem themselves after last year’s World Series heartbreak.
There is not enough pitching on either the Astros or Yankees to beat the Royals in a five game series. Both teams have showed their power this year, ranking second and fourth respectively in the MLB in home runs, but I don’t think it is enough to hide the holes in each pitching rotation.
The experience and consistent bats of the Royals should be enough to get them past the first round.
The Toronto Blue Jays have taken America’s pastime up north this year, boasting the best home record in the AL. Ever since ripping off 14 wins in 15 games in the middle of the summer, the Blue Jays haven’t looked back.
Aided by the key midseason additions of David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Toronto is a popular pick to take home their first World Series since 1993.
The Rangers, a team that was looking to rebuild in the beginning of the year, fought their way into the playoffs. Unfortunately for Texas fans, they are overpowered at almost every position in a matchup against Toronto.
The AL appears to be on a crash course for a Royals versus Blue Jays championship series. I’m on the Blue Jays bandwagon and have them advancing to the World Series over the Royals in a quick five games.
The Blue Jays versus the Cubs in a World Series? I think that’s something every fan without a rooting interest should be hoping to materialize. The energy around a potential historic Cubs postseason run combined with a passionate Canadian fan base with an entire country behind them would provide quite the postseason experience for baseball fans.
Well, whatever it ends up being, playoff baseball never fails to entertain. Sit back, and enjoy October. At the very least it will help you forget about another dismal Padres season.