Tuesday, September 30, 2014

MLB Playoffs Preview and Predictions

Postseason baseball is upon us, and even though my Yanks didn't make it for the second straight year, I expect a pretty exciting MLB playoffs. 

The one game Wild Card round starts tonight with the American League matchup:

Oakland A's @ Kansas City Royals

Followed by the National League Wild Card round tomorrow night:

San Francisco Giants @ Pittsburgh Pirates

The AL Divisional Series starts Thursday:

Detroit Tigers @ Baltimore Orioles

A's/Royals @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The NL Divisional Series starts Friday:

St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers

Giants/Pirates @ Washington Nationals

My Predictions
AL Wild Card Round
Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester (OAK) vs. James Shields (KC)

Prediction: This will be an incredible pitchers duel. One of the best postseason pitchers in recent memory vs. "Big Game James". Neither team has hit that great this season, especially since the trade deadline for the A's. I give the edge to the Royals in this one. That city has been deprived of postseason baseball for 29 years and I think Shields is up for the challenge of getting them into the Divisional Series. It'll be a great game tonight. Look for very little scoring. KC 2 OAK 1

NL Wild Card Round
Pitching Matchup: Madison Bumgarner (SF) vs. Edinson Volquez (PIT)

Prediction: Realized just now how good Edinson Volquez has been for the Pirates this year, but I still give the edge to the Bumgarner and the Giants. Bumgarner has been superb for San Fran all year and I think he can put the Pirates bats to sleep. I also think the Giants offense with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Co. is much more potent than the Pirates. SF 6 PIT 3

Potential Rotations:
Tigers                                                                                Orioles
Max Scherzer                                                                  Chris Tillman
David Price                                                                       Wei-Yin Chen
Justin Verlander                                                              Bud Norris
Rick Porcello                                                                    Kevin Gausman

Prediction: I think the Tigers have too much pitching. Both teams have two of the most potent offenses in the league, but the Tigers pitching staff has the postseason experience. I can't imagine Verlander struggling in the playoffs as much as he did in the regular season. The Orioles find ways to win games, but not in this series against one of the best pitching staffs in the league. Tigers in 4

Potential Rotations:
Royals                                                                           Angels
James Shields (pitching in WC round)                  Jered Weaver
Jeremy Guthrie                                                             CJ Wilson
Yordano Ventura                                                         Matt Shoemaker
Danny Duffy                                                                 Hector Santiago

Prediction: Angels will be too much for the Royals to handle. There's a reason LA is the best team in baseball. They hit and pitch really well. The game that Shields will pitch in will be close, but other than that I think the Angels will run away with this series. I like the sweep for LA in this one. Angels in 3

Potential Rotations
Cardinals                                                                           Dodgers
Adam Wainwright                                                         Clayton Kershaw
Lance Lynn                                                                       Zack Greinke
John Lackey                                                                      Dan Haren
Justin Masterson                                                            Roberto Hernandez

Prediction: This has the potential to be the best series of the entire playoffs. Two storied franchises with bona fide stud aces and very good line ups. I give the edge to the Cardinals. I think Adam Wainwright will out duel Kershaw and the Cardinals will cruise from there. Unless Kershaw and Greinke pitch every game for LA, I like the Cards. Cardinals in 4

Potential Rotations:
Giants                                                                                    Nationals
Madison Bumgarner (pitching in WC round)          Stephen Strasburg
Tim Hudson                                                                        Jordan Zimmermann
Ryan Volgelsong                                                               Gio Gonzalez
Jake Peavy                                                                           Doug Fister

Prediction: I think the Nationals will handle the Giants pretty easily. With Bumgarner pitching in the WC round, they won't get their ace until either Game 2 or 3 which will give the Nationals a chance to jump in front in the series and then run away with it. Nats offense and pitching will be too much. Nationals in 3

Prediction: This will be a really good series if it happens. Tigers probably have a better rotation but the Angels probably have a better line up. Both have really solid rosters all around though. I think the Angels are simply just a better team than the Tigers. They're the best team in baseball and I think they'll be able to show it in this series. Too much Mike Trout. Angels in 6

Prediction: Once again, probably another great series. However, I think the Nationals are too good for the Cards to handle over a 7 game series. Wainwright can't pitch every game and the Nats have a terrific rotation combined with a powerful line up. Too much Bryce Harper. Nationals in 6

World Series
Prediction: Not the boldest pick for the World Series matchup seeing as they're the two best teams in baseball, but oh well. I wanna see Mike Trout go up against Bryce Harper for the ring. I think Harper gets it. Both teams have great line ups, but I think the Nats have too much pitching once again. Definitely will be an awesome series as the top two phenoms in the game get pitted against one another. If this series happens, it will be one for the ages. Nationals in 7

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