MLB Postseason: Wild Card Series Preview

In a season unlike any other, one that went by so quickly, one that was stained with a pandemic and one that had a massive post-season expansion, the road to Arlington is finally upon us. Sixteen teams, all vying for the most unique World Championship in baseball history.

*** Note: As a die-hard Dodgers fan if we lose in this format I am making you all aware that I will spin-zone and say that a shortened season does not mean as much as a full 162 game season. If the Dodgers win the World Series then I will say that they have overcome the most adversity and navigated this new system and this is the greatest World Series title in the history of the sport.

Okay, with saying all that let’s get into the matchups, starting in the American League:

#1 Tampa Bay Rays vs #8 Toronto/Buffalo Blue Jays
Game 1 – Tuesday 5:00pm on TBS
Game 2 – Wednesday 4:00pm on TBS
Game 3* – Thursday TBD on TBS

You are looking at the future of the American League East, both of these teams were able to showcase just how good they can be. They are both loaded with young talent and as I predicted earlier, the Rays were a better all around ball club than the Yankees and they have the luxury of having one of the best young managers in all of baseball in Kevin Cash. The Blue Jays are going to be good for years to come and I think we are looking at a five year run where these two teams battle it out for the top dog tag in the AL East.

I think the Rays are going to make quick work of the Blue Jays in this series, they have the luxury of pitching Blake Snell in game one and in this first round playing a best of three series having Snell on the bump is a tremendous advantage. The city of Tampa Bay needs to keep this ball club in the area, the team is good, the city is beautiful, they need a new stadium and support from the locals, I would hate to see baseball leave the Tampa Bay/St. Pete/ Clearwater area.

Prediction: Rays in 2

#5 New York Yankees vs #4 Cleveland Indians
Game 1- Tuesday 7:00pm on ESPN
Game 2 – Wednesday 7:00pm on ESPN
Game 3* – Thursday TBD on ESPN
The once proud New York Yankees celebrated a playoff birth like they had won the World Series. The 27 time World Champions are a shell of the former Yankees squads who would celebrate playoff berths with hand shakes and not dog piles and dancing on the field. They looked horrible down the stretch and the big time money that was spent on Giancarlo Stanton looks to be one of the worst decisions in baseball history. Aaron Judge is always hurt and this team is not as great as everyone thought they would be. What the Yankees do have in game 1 is Gerrit Cole who was 7-3 this year with a sub 3 ERA and Cole has been pretty good thus far in his postseason career. The beautiful sub plot to the Cole story is that Shane Bieber the AL triple crown pitching leader is on the bump for the Indians and in addition to that, in game 2 the Indians will send Carrasco to the mound to square up with Tanaka. The Yankees in Cleveland in the postseason always seems like it is in the Tribe’s favor, I like the Indians in this series because I don’t see how the Yankees are going to score runs in the first couple games of this series. Indians will sweep.

Prediction: Indians in 2

#3 Minnesota Twins vs #6 Houston Astros
Game 1 – Tuesday 2:00pm on ABC
Game 2 – Wednesday 1:00PM on ESPN
Game 3* – Thursday TBD on ESPN

The Astros have been dragged through the mud since the end of last baseball season, the tainted and fake 2017 World Title that they have is now seen to be like a complete fraud. I think the Astros are going to be incredibly hungry and out to prove the haters wrong, I am the biggest of the haters. The Astros are going to be without Justin Verlander and they are sending Greinke to the mound to go up against former Dodger, Kenta Maeda in game 1. Maeda has been pretty good in his post-season career, mainly out of the bullpen, now he is viewed as the ace of the staff for the Twins and this is a big game for him to prove his worth. I have my skepticism about the Twins in the playoffs and I have zero faith in Pineda in game 3. The winner of game 1 will win this series and I have an odd feeling that playing in the post-season without fans might suit the Astros very nicely.

Prediction: Astros in 3

#2 Oakland Athletics vs #7 Chicago White Sox
Game 1 – Tuesday 3:00pm on ESPN
Game 2 – Wednesday 3:00pm on ESPN
Game 3* – Thursday TBD on ESPN

This is the most exciting series in the first round of the American League playoffs, I like both of these teams a lot. I think the Athletics are far more seasoned and have a wonderful manager in Bob Melvin. The A’s have put in their dues and I think they are destined to make some moves in the post-season this year. The White Sox were a team that I was all over at the beginning of the season, I predicted that they would go to the ALCS but as this season progressed I feel like they are just a little immature and they need to gain some post-season experience, I think this will be a very hard fought series and they have Tim Anderson, one of the best young players in the American League and the A’s have Matt Chapman and power from both sides of the plate.

Prediction: A’s in 3

Okay, with saying all that let’s get into the matchups in the National League Wild Card Series:

#1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs #8 Milwaukee Brewers
Game 1 -Wednesday 10:00pm on ESPN
Game 2 – Thursday TBD on ESPN
Game 3* – Friday TBD on ESPN

The Dodgers are far and away the best team in baseball and they will only be better next year, that is a scary thought. I have said it many times before, if the Dodgers win this opening three game bullshit series, they will be the 2020 World Series Champions. The lineup is loaded and finally we get to see Walker Buehler take the reins and get the ball over Kershaw in game one. The scariest thought of 2020 is if the Dodgers lose game 1 and we have to turn the ball over to Kershaw in a do or die situation in game 2, that is nightmare fuel. I have to be positive and I think Buehler shoves in game 1 and the Dodgers offense absolutely rakes. The Brewers won’t have Woodruff available in game 1 which is a huge bonus for the Dodgers.

Prediction: Dodgers in 2

#4 San Diego Padres vs #5 St. Louis Cardinals
Game 1 – Wednesday 5:00pm on ESPN 2
Game 2 – Thursday TBD on ESPN
Game 3* – Friday TBD on ESPN

I will admit that the even as a Dodgers fan, the Padres were the most exciting team in the National League. They hit home runs, they steal bases and they are playing with a boat load of swag and confidence. They are an insanely dangerous team to play, I don’t want any part of them in the NLDS if I am being honest. I would much rather play the St. Louis Cardinals but I think this series will be a little bit back and forth, the Padres are young and inexperienced in terms of post-season success and the Cardinals are coming off of an NLCS appearance in 2019 and they battled down the stretch to secure the 5 seed in the tournament. Neither team has announced will be their starting pitchers in game 1.

Prediction: Padres in 3

#3 Chicago Cubs vs #6 Miami Marlins
Game 1 – Wednesday 2:00pm on ABC
Game 2 – Thursday TBD on ESPN
Game 3* – Friday TBD on ESPN

I missed on both of these teams, I didn’t think either of these teams would be in the post-season but here we are. The Cubs have been quietly flying under the radar this season while the Marlins are the biggest post-season surprise in recent playoff memory. I am a big fan of the Marlins Manager, Don Mattingly and he has put in his dues and developed this Marlins team and steered the ship during the COVID outbreak to get this team to the playoffs. The Cubs are loaded with star power and depending on. how this off-season develops, this might be the last time we see Rizzo, Bryant and Baez all wearing Cubs uniforms together.

Prediction: Cubs in 3

#2 Atlanta Braves vs #7 Cincinnati Reds
Game 1 – Wednesday 12:00pm on ESPN
Game 2 – Thursday TBD on ESPN
Game 3* – Friday TBD on ESPN

This is my upset special of the post-season, everybody loves the Braves but the pitching combo of Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray for the Reds is going to be way too much for the Braves to handle.

Prediction: Reds in 3