The 162 game season is over, the wash-outs and choke artists up in St. Louis have all moped off to their multi-million dollar mansions and VW Vans (looking at you Daniel Norris), and now we are down to the point where things really start to matter. Let’s face it though, when it comes to the playoffs it all comes down to pitching, and there is great pitching on both sides of the bracket this year.
According to ESPN, of the 10 teams in the playoffs this year, 8 of them finished the year in the top ten for ERA. The only teams who didn’t were Baltimore (19th) and Texas (22nd). However, Baltimore has one of the most dominant closers in the game in Zach Britton who was damn-near untouchable this year. Which means that the Orioles could possibly make it to the ALCS but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Now lets get into the bracket.
Since the Orioles and Blue Jays just started not 20 minutes ago I’m just gonna chalk that one up as a fat L, and lets face it, whoever wins this game tonight is probably going to get their teeth kicked in by all the power in the Ranger’s lineup, that is if their pitching can hold up.
San Fransisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner has always been good, but when it comes to the postseason he goes on to a whole different planet, now with Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to back him up, the Giants could very well make a run. The only thing holding them back is that their lineup lacks serious power. You know it could be a potential problem when their biggest home run threat this year was Brandon Belt. Granted, their ballpark is a total dead zone, the second night falls, the air becomes thicker and the wind coming off the bay gets to be bone chilling. This lack of pop could be made up by the team’s discipline at the plate, but if they get past Syndergaard and the Mets, the Cubs will offer an unbelievable challenge with their mixture of pitching and power. Maybe the even year magic could come back and the Giants just become untouchable, but I don’t think its in the cards for the Giants year.
New York Mets
If anyone their pitching staff could stay healthy, outside of Colon and Syndergaard, this article would have a completely different tone. However, thanks to Harvey, deGrom, Matz, and Wheeler being unable to figure out how to stay healthy over the course of a season, the Mets are probably gonna go down early in October. Their bullpen isn’t bad, Familia and Reed seem to have it together, but they are going to be useless unless the Mets starters go deep into the game.The Mets lineup can be potent at times, however Bumgarner does unusually well against right handed hitters and the Mets’ main power threats are hitting under .250 against him lifetime. I think it will be an early exit for the Mets this year, even if they do get past San Fran, I don’t think they stand a chance against the Cubs.
As much as it pains me to say it, and as much as I am so tired of hearing it, this may very well be the year for the damn Cubs. Their lineup finished this year third in runs produced and second in on-base percentage, oh and not to mention that their pitching staff is the best in the league boasting a staff ERA of 3.15, .36 points lower then the Nationals in 2nd place. The only thing that could lead to their demise is their youth. In today’s game youth is praised and cherished, and the Cubbies have a lot of it. Seven of their starting nine are under the age of 26 and almost none of them have very much playoff experience. Look to journeyman catcher, David Ross, 39, to play a major role in keeping this young team in line as this very well could be the first of many World Series runs for the not-so lowly Cubs. Somebody find a goat.
Los Angeles Dodgers
My boys may finally pull it off this year, however they drew an extremely tough matchup in the NLDS against the Nationals and their ridiculous pitching staff. Don’t count the boys in blue out though. Corey Seager is scary good, and who the hell knew Justin Turner could throw up 27 bombs, Adrian Gonzalez is a doubles machine and always seems to come in the clutch, and lets not forget; Clayton Kershaw. Yes, he hasn’t been the best in the postseason over his major league career, but I think this could be the year for Kersh to finally shut the haters down. Rich Hill is good for some reason I still don’t understand, and Kenta Maeda can be filthy at times. It all depends if the Dodgers show up and be the team that won the AL West, or the team that likes to blow six runs in the first three innings and play from behind like they did the last time they made the postseason. If anything lets just win it for Vin Scully’s last season. I think people can at least get behind that, and if you can’t then you’re not a true baseball fan, and by the way fuck you.
The Nationals could very well win this whole thing. Mad Max is probably going to win the NL Cy Young and the guy has a 98 mph fastball, a wipe-out slider, the ability to throw three pitches for a strike and two different colored eyes, not someone I want to face in game one. Tanner Roark is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, and will go game two. Game three is where things start to get shakey for the Nats. Gio Gonzalez has been anything but reliable the last three years. Even though he still has one of the best left-handed curveballs in the game, his decline has been anything but smooth. Their lineup should carry them and give their staff enough leeway to stay ahead of games. The only thing they have against them is that Jonathan Papelbon needs to retire or just disappear under mysterious circumstances, give the reins to Treinan or Melancon, someone who isn’t loathed by three cities on the Eastern seaboard. The Nats could run away with it this postseason, expect them to make a deep run unless the Dodgers can out pitch them.
In reality its all a crap-shoot, go Dodgers.