After a grueling 162 game schedule, the Major League Baseball regular season has finally come to a close. While some teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians will continue into to the postseason as heavy favorites, due to their regular season success, some teams such as the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants had seasons that they would quickly like to forget.
Five years ago, the MLB added an extra round of the playoffs with two teams now earning a wild card spot from each league instead of the usual one from each league. The two teams then play each other in a one game playoff to become the number four seeded team for their given league. The wild card round starts tonight and here is what the games look like:
American League Wild Card Game – Minnesota Twins VS. New York Yankees
Prediction – Twins win 7-2
When making a prediction in a one game playoff, the first place to look is the pitching matchup. In this case, the Twins will be starting veteran right-handed pitcher Erving Santana, while the Yankees will counter with a young hard throwing righty Luis Severino according to ESPN.com. The Minnesota Twins have the one thing that the New York Yankees do not have, a pitcher who has postseason experience. Santana has made four postseason starts in his career and carries a 2-2 record into this start. Look for Santana to attack the strike zone, while forcing the aggressive Yankee hitters to chase his pitches.
For New York, Severino has never pitched more than 71 innings in his three MLB seasons before this year where he has tossed 193.1 innings. Yes, Severino has been dominant on the mound this year for the Yankees, but with his inning count so high it would not be surprising to see Severino leaving his pitches up in the strikezone for the Twins to hit.
National League Wild Card Game – Colorado Rockies VS. Arizona Diamondbacks
Prediction – Diamondbacks win 4-2
This game should be a pitcher’s duel with two very good pitchers taking the mound. Yes, both offenses are very high powered, but in a postseason game of this magnitude fans will likely see a lower scoring game due to hitters pressing more than usual.
Diamondbacks ace pitcher Zack Greinke takes the mound bringing in a 17-7 season record while Rockies ace pitcher Jon Gray enters play with a 10-6 season record. Look for Gray to struggle against the Diamondback lefty batters such as Jake Lamb and David Peralta who typically feast on right-handed pitchers like Gray.
This game will likely be close, but if Greinke can shut down Colorado’s big hitters such as Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez, the Diamondbacks will be making an appearance in this season’s NLDS.
(All stats taken from baseballreference.com)