By: Tyler Dugan
Oooooohhhhff. For a lot of people, that opening weekend of March Madness is their favorite sports week of the year, and rightfully so. That Thursday-Friday is absolutely electric. For me, there is nothing I love more than the first slate of the MLB playoffs. This Friday there will be 4 playoff games kicking. Just the anticipation of four great pitching match-ups and electric crowds is killing me, I’m ready for that. So how will it turn out?
We start with the Wild Card games:
Twins vs. Yankees
Who are the Minnesota Twins? Probably the least known team in the playoffs. Allow me introduce them. Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer, Miguel Sano and Bryan Buxton. These boys can flat out swing it. Since August 8th, they’ve been the most powerful offense in all of baseball. They are the real deal. They will start Ervin Santana who is a flat baller with a 3.28 ERA and 16-8 record.
The Yanks obviously came out of the gates hot. Aaron Judge may win the MVP, 50 plus home runs as a rookie is insanity. They can hit up and down the lineup. They will start Luis Severino, who has been one of the top pitchers in the league this year. A truly interesting match-up. If it was a series I would take the Yankees with ease, just because they have deeper starting pitching. I’m still going to pick the Yankees, just because they have that nasty bullpen. If Severino can get them 6 good innings. This game is over. Bentances and Chapman will hammer that home. If the Twins have any hope, they have to score early. My biggest worry for the Yankees is Gary Sanchez behind the dish. The worst defensive catcher in the league hands down. If it’s a tight game, every single pitch matters. Can’t have a slip up back there. Still, the Yanks in the house of doom win this 4-1, to advance and play Cleveland.
Rockies vs. Diamondbacks
Another extremely interesting Wild Card game. Division rivals. The Rockies have a top 5 lineup in the league. Blackmon, Arenado, Cargo. Three big time hitters, Arenado is probably going to win the MVP. The D-backs have been just as good. JD Martinez has been absolutely insane since being traded. Goldschmidt, Lamb. Sluggers. This is another just goofy match-up, the whole division rival thing makes it more of a toss up. When that is the case I tend to pick the team that is starting the better pitcher, that is Zack Greinke.
He is a top pitcher in the game, I choose him at home to dominate this game. Snakes win 5-3 advance to play the Dodgers. On the the series.
Cubs vs. Nationals
One of the great series we will see. The Nats are extremely good, and just got healthy at the right time. Bryce is back. Werth is back. They may have the best lineup in the game, and they have the best starting pitching in the NL. Gio, Strasburg, and Scherzer have been so damn good all year. Their bullpen was rocky to start. The addition of Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle changed that.
They have been very good since the trade from the A’s. On the other hand, the defending World Champs have had a weird, weird year. They’ve had their struggles. Their pitching has been an utter disaster. Lester, Lackey and Arrieta did not have a good year. They also traded for Jose Quintana who hasn’t been great.
They are still extremely dangerous, you just have to think they are a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. It’s almost impossible to count them out. But I’m going to. The Nats have been more trustworthy all year. Gio, Strasburg, Scherzer. I take them. Harper, Murphy, Zimmerman, Turner, Werth, Rendon, Wieters. They are the better team. I think they show it. Nats in 4.
D-Backs vs. Dodgers
The Dodgers had been really dominant all year…until September. We just saw their struggles. They have not been playing good baseball. They still, overall, have the better team. Kershaw and Darvish are better on paper, but the playoffs have been a different animal for them.
They both have known playoff struggles. Every single ounce of me wants to take the D-Backs in this series. I just have a weird feeling. Greinke, Corbin, Walker, are pretty damn good. I’m taking the Dodgers in 5 though, but it is my least favorite pick, I think the D-Backs are real.
Dodgers vs. Nats (NLCS)
This brings up the two best teams all year long in the NL. I love the Nationals in this series. Give me Scherzer over Kershaw all day long.
I honestly think this is a fairly quick series. I just think they are the better team and Dusty rides his juju. He gets back to the World Series. No need for the analysis, I think Washington is the better team, I think they win this thing in five and get sent to the World Series. On to the AL.
Red Sox vs. Astros
Big time franchises in a big time series. I wish this series could somehow be 7 games. Kuechel, Verlander, Sale, Price, Porcello. Cy Youngs all over the place. Benitendi, Betts, Bradley Jr, Correa, Altuve and Springer. Young studs all over the place. This is a match made in heaven that is bound to go five. A complete an utter toss up. Kick your feet up and watch because this will be an absolute classic. I’m going to take the Red Sox. I’m taking the Red Sox for one simple reason. Bullpen. The Astros’ bullpen has been shaky all year long. They just don’t have the go to guy in the back end. At the very least, the Sox have the best closer in the game to go on. Give me Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox win in 5 because they can close out games. Will be a great series.
Yankees vs. Indians
All this time, and we finally have gotten to the best team in the game. The Cleveland Indians have maybe the most complete baseball team I have ever seen. They have the AL Cy Young winner, the best lineup in baseball, a top bullpen in baseball and the best coach in baseball.
The most complete baseball team I have ever seen. Literally zero holes. I think they are just too much for the Yankees. The enticing thought of a Yankees Red Sox ALCS would be awesome, buuuuuttttt Indians win this in 3 because they are an absolute freight train ready to come back and actually win the World Series.
Red Sox vs. Indians (ALCS)
A rematch of last year’s series. This is what everyone was licking their chops for. I just can’t pick against the Indians. The most interesting nugget you will see is that Chris Sale struggles against the Indians in his career.
Even when he was in Chicago he struggled. The Indians own real estate inside of Chris Sales head, and I think they continue to own him. That becomes a blow to the Sox. Sale can’t overcome his woes vs Cleveland, and they win in 5 to head back to the World Series.
That brings us to a Nationals vs. Indians World Series. How can you not just love every damn ounce of this. I think these are the two best teams in the game, and they’re on a collision course to get there.
We get a coveted 7 game World Series. Murphy, Harper, Zimmerman, Scherzer, Strasburg, Kluber, Carrasco, Lindor, Bruce and Ramirez. Stars everywhere. Superstars all over the damn place. I think the Indians win this in 7 because of Andrew Miller.
Terry Baseball and his 18 wads of gum manage the game to perfection, he has the ultimate weapon in Andrew Miller, even coming off of injury, he’s still dominant. He’s left handed, which hurts the Nats. He’s the reason for the Indians winning the World Series. Jay Bruce wins the WS MVP because I love him, and he will wipe his ass in front of all of his Cincinnati haters who never appreciated him. He hits a huge home run in gave 7.
Buckle up folks. October is here. It all starts tomorrow.