Today's the day! The postseason opens up tonight with the first of two key Wild Card games, each looking like great games to start everything off on the right foot.
I'll keep everything pretty simple, so here are my predictions for the 2016 MLB Postseason:
AL Wild Card Game
Power and more power. Unlike the NLWC game, this one could be a slugfest if the pitchers don't execute. Even though the Orioles have the league's best power hitter (Mark Trumbo), the Blue Jays have a couple of those. To Baltimore's disadvantage, their playing against the entire country of Canada... in Toronto. Home-field advantage should prove superior and the Blue Jays will advance to the ALDS to play the Rangers for the second straight year.
NL Wild Card Game
Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard. That should be a good one. You'd think that the Giants would win this by default just by having Bumgarner on the mound in the postseason, but unless he goes the entire game, the Mets should have a good shot at winning this. San Francisco does not have a good bullpen, period. The Mets just have to keep the game close and work Bumgarner, and they should be fine. Either way, this game is going to be a pitching duel.
Rangers and the Blue Jays... that's going to be really fun. They've surely provided a good amount of theatrics when they've faced off against each other and I could totally see this going a full seven games. The Rangers have home-field advantage in the series and that could prove huge in the series. Rangers in 5.
The Indians are sort-of short-handed in the playoffs, as members of their pitching staff have gone down with injuries. The Red Sox are the more "healthy" team and have the momentum going their way. It would be great if both ALDS series went five games.
The Mets are not getting past the Cubs in the postseason, no one in the National League is (spoiler?). The Cubs have a solid starting rotation and the Mets have Noah Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon. The Mets have lost six of their better players over the course of the season, as Chicago has kept together their core. Cubs could possibly sweep this one.
If you're a fan of history, then you can easily understand why I'm not second guessing my pick of the Dodgers over the Nationals in the NLDS. Washington sports just never makes it past the quarterfinals in the postseason, whether it's the Wizards, Capitals or Nationals, it just does not happen. Also, Daniel Murphy has been injured for the last part of September, and without your best hitter at 100%, it would be tough to win in the playoffs.
The Rangers held the edge in their season series against the Red Sox, taking four out of six games. However, the Red Sox were a completely different team in late June and early July. They've become a more cohesive unit and this ALCS could be one of the more memorable ones in the past couple years. I'm taking the Red Sox, though. There's just so much magic surrounding Big Papi and Boston.
There is nothing stopping the Cubs from returning to their first World Series since the stone ages, except themselves. They have a better rounded team than the Dodgers. Their lineup, their rotation, their bench and their bullpen are all better the Los Angeles's. Yeah, the Dodgers have Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Chase Utley, but the Cubs have Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and more. Cubs won't sweep the Dodgers, but they'll win the series.
Will the curse be broken? Doubt it. The Red Sox have been playing with a certain fire and have been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the past month and look destined to continue their greatness in the playoffs. This would be the last playoff series that the great David Ortiz would ever play in and what better way to send him off then with his fourth ring. The Cubs will just have to wait another year.null