Yankees Win the Wild Card + ALDS Previews
The first playoff game of the 2017 postseason is officially over. The New York Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-4 on Tuesday night, in one of the craziest wild card games in recent memory. This game was crazy right from the start. I thought that Luis Severino would dominate the Minnesota Twins, and hold them scoreless while he was pitching. I was totally, 100% wrong, he threw a total of 29 pitches, and got one out in the first inning before being pulled. He gave up three runs on four hits while walking one, and all three of those runs came on two home runs. Brian Dozier led off the game with a home run, and Eddie Rosario quickly followed up with a two-run shot three batters later. The Yankees did not give in after a rough first inning, one Severino was out of the game, Chad Green game in and threw two innings while allowing one run and striking out four. After Chad Green got the Yankees out of the top of the first, the Yankees tied the game on a three-run home run by Didi Gregorius.
After the Yankees tied the game, Chad Green threw a scoreless half inning, and the Yankees fed off the momentum of a scoreless inning and untied the game on a solo shot from Brett Gardner. He hit a no-doubter the second deck in right field, and he pimped his shot, and that is how you know postseason baseball is truly back. The Twins would go on to tie the game in the top of the third, but after that, they were done. They were held scoreless the rest of the night, and the Yankees took the lead back in the bottom of the third on a single by Greg Bird, and they pulled away in the 4th with a two run home run by Aaron Judge.
This game was incredibly interesting because both starting pitchers lasted a combined 2.1 innings, and neither pitcher struck out an opposing hitter. The Yankees bullpen was absolutely incredible, and I am a complete prisoner of the moment, and think that they have the tools to hang in against the Indians and potentially win that series. The bullpen has so many pitchers that can be dominant, it reminds me of the 2015 Royals, where if the starting pitcher can last 5 innings, the bullpen can take over and shorten the game. I think that in this wild card game, the best performance was from David Robertson, who pitched a career high 3.1 innings and didn’t allow a run, while striking out five.
This breakdown would not be complete without at least referencing the incredible catch made by Byron Buxton at the wall which hurt his back and ended up forcing him to leave the game. The catch was absolutely spectacular and might be the best defensive play we see all postseason.
ALDS Preview: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians
This is going to be a fun series. The Cleveland Indians are absolutely loaded and coming off one of the most torrid stretches in MLB history that saw them win 22 games in a row. They finished the year with 102 wins, which was the second most in the Major Leagues. The Indians pitching staff is anchored by Cy Young hopeful Corey Kluber, and also includes players like Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco. The team had a combined ERA of 3.30, and their offense is absolutely loaded. The lineup features players like Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Jay Bruce.
My only real problem with the Indians is that I worry the team peaked too early, and the momentum the Wild Card game created for the winning team often carries them to some early success in the next series. The Indians may be loaded with talent, but so are the Yankees, who led the MLB in home runs, as well as having one of the most dominant bullpens in the league.
This is honestly the most challenging series for me to predict, because if I use logic, then I think the Indians will win in 4 games, but if I listen to my gut, I think the Yankees will win in five games. I think that game one will be a major tell as to whether or not the Yankees will win the series. If the Yankees can steal game one in Cleveland against Trevor Bauer, then I honestly think that they will win the Series. Luis Severino only threw 29 pitches in the Wild Card game, so he is still relatively fresh and should have the jitters out of his system, which could prove very useful against the Indians.
I am going to go with my gut and pick the New York Yankees to win the Series in five games to advance to the ALCS. The Yankees were second in the league in run differential to the Indians, and I think the momentum from the Wild Card game will put them in a good position to beat the Indians.
ALDS Preview: Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
This series is easier for me to predict, as I have the Houston Astros winning the World Series this year. I just think that the starting pitching of the Red Sox is not good enough to contend with the juggernaut that is the Houston Astros. Chris Sale has never pitched in the postseason, so I have my doubts about how he will perform under the bright lights of October.
The Astros had a combined .282 batting average as a team, compared to the Red Sox who had a batting average of .258. The Astros also hit 238 home runs compared to the Sox who hit 168. The Astros are in a better position offensively to take advantage of mistakes made by opposing pitching. The Astros are also sending out pitchers like Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, which is one of the premier duos in the American League. Since being traded to Houston, Justin Verlander has started five games, won five games, and allowed only four runs in 34 innings while striking out 43 batters. The Astros have more talent, both on the pitching staff and in the lineup, which make them a force to be reckoned with in the Postseason, and while the Red Sox are a good team, they just aren’t as talented from top to bottom as the Astros.
I think the Houston Astros will win the ALDS in four games, and will go on to win the World Series.