We have concluded both Wild Card contests and with that, the race to the World Series is on. The Division Series kicks off with a doubleheader of American League action on Thursday with the National League side commencing on Friday. Who will advance to their respective league's Championship Series? Here are my predictions.
Are the Astros this year's Royals? Be that team that makes the playoffs after a long playoff drought, cranks out a win in the Wild Card game and then pull the upset against the top seed in the league? I don't see it. The Royals are a really good team, they are not like the Angels of last season that had inconsistent pitching, and Houston will not be able to throw out Dallas Keuchel every night. Royals, 3
The Blue Jays having homefield advantage in this series is a big deal and for good reason considering they won 65% of their games at home this season. Toronto's offense has been so strong all season long and I'm not really buying this Texas pitching staff as they ranked 23rd in ERA, 26th in WHIP and 29th in K/9. Blue Jays, 3
Somehow, these two great rivals have never faced in the playoffs (actually it is not that hard to imagine but let's play along). The Cubs have the momentum, if you believe in it, and it is easier to forget that while the Cardinals won 100 games this season, the Cubs won 97. You know that the Cubs are going to win the Jake Arrieta game but while Jon Lester is a great playoff pitcher, John Lackey is a pretty good one as well and he has pitched pretty well this year. With the slightly deeper pitcher staff, I like the Cardinals. Cardinals, 5
Do we make too much of the pitching when we make these predictions come playoff time? Probably, but I'm still going to mention it because it's important in this series. Zach Greinke has been glorious this season and Clayton Kershaw is still really damn good but beyond those two, you're getting nothing from that rotation. With how deep the Mets' rotation is, and they do have the slightly better offense (and no, I have no idea how), so they get a slight edge. Mets, 5