We have arrived at my favorite month of the year, October Baseball…or for my fans around the country, the now defunct OAKtober (Athletics), Choptober (Braves) from a year ago, a seemingly soon to be over, Buctober (Pirates).
For those who watched Game 1 of the postseason, the Royals staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in recent memory. I can speak for hardcore and casual baseball fans alike when I say that this is shaping up to be an incredible month of baseball, and we should all be on the edge of our seats throughout the beautiful, crisp, apple-picking filled month of October.
Poetic nonsense aside, time to get down to the nitty-gritty: My typically horribly wrong, bet against anything I say, read this to mock me later picks.
First, I’ll start by saying that I had the A’s winning in the Wild Card game, and as I write this, my NL Wild Card pick, the Pirates, is down 4-0 after a maddening Grand Slam. To put it bluntly, the Wild Card Game is in its third year of existence and I am on the verge of reaching the impressive win-loss record of 0-6.
Wild Card Games aside, my other picks in the past have not been so horrible…..but hey, how hard is it to do better than 0-6?
I’ll limp through my AL picks, then crawl through my NL Picks, and then I might as well not even get into the World Series, but why not?
ALDS 1 = Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Kansas City Royals
It’s a nice story having the Royals back in the postseason this year, but the Cinderella story mixed with the Rocky Balboa comeback comes to a crashing halt in the ALDS.
Starting Rotation – Angels: Unsung hero of this season and further this series will be the underappreciated Matt Shoemaker. Aside from Big Game James Shields, no Royals starter impresses me much this postseason. Ventura will be great, but not this postseason.
Bullpen – Royals: No other team in baseball can roll out the power arms the Royals can and this was on full display against Oakland
Offense – Angels: LAA wins this category against just about anyone in the playoffs. It’s tough to top Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and the rest of Halo mashers.
Neither team has starting pitching built to dominate, which means this series will be about offense and as moronic as this sounds, scoring more runs than the other team. I’m not saying it’s going to be 10-8 games, but there will be more scoring than the other series. A slugfest series is bad news for anyone facing the Angels. Angels win the series 3-1
ALDS 2 = Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers
This is the Divisional Series matchup that no one will talk about, but those watching will find it entertaining and engaging. This is the classic power pitching vs. power hitting matchup, who will prevail?
Starting Rotation – Tigers: No team in baseball can roll out the past three AL Cy Young winners, and I don’t care how they pitched last month, last week, or yesterday: Scherzer, Price, and Verlander are an unmatched trio that could all top an average rotation.
Bullpen – Orioles: This is one of the top bullpens in the game with a lights out closer in Zach Britton and righty, lefty combinations that Buck Showalter will most certainly utilize highly effectively. The Tigers bullpen is always ready to blow a lead.
Offense – Draw: The Tigers offense, led by Miggy and V-Mart is tough to pick against, but the slugging Orioles will look to continue their homerun hitting ways in the series.
It will be a struggle for Baltimore’s power bats to find much success against the Tigers pitching. If you enjoy watching dominant starting pitching, broken up by the occasional homerun to keep the game tight, this series is for you. Tigers win the series 3-2
NLDS 1 = Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants
This matchup will pit the NL’s most balanced team against the even-year shockers from the Bay Area. The Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and now possibly 2014? I doubt it.
Starting Rotation – Nationals: There is only one NL team that can even be mentioned in the same sentence for best NL rotation. Is that team the Giants? Nope. Strasburg, Zimmermann (their true ace), the ever-consistent Doug Fister, and the lefty Gio Gonzalez form the most formidable “core four” of horses in these playoffs.
Bullpen – Draw: These two teams finished the regular season with the #4 and #5 bullpens ERAs. Both teams are stocked with capable relievers, with questions on the backend. Santiago Casilla is no Brian Wilson or Sergio Romo, and a Drew Storen just took over the closer role last month.
Offense – Nationals: A well balanced lineup with power, speed, and contact hitters sprinkled throughout. This is an offense that can score at any time and does not provide the opposing pitchers with any breaks, aside from the 9 hole.
As much magic as the Giants seem to have this time of year, and as brilliant as Bruce Bochy seems to be in October, the balance of this Nationals team will be too much to handle. This weak Giants offense will have plenty of struggles against the Nationals superior pitching. Nationals win the series 3-1
NLDS 2 = Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Coming into the season, these two had to be the favorites to win the National League with the flash of LA and the “always seem to be there” Cardinals. The Cardinals won last year, but this year…a different story.
Starting Rotation – Dodgers: Really one two words are necessary to explain this one: Clayton Kershaw. Aside from the guy who will probably retire the best pitcher of all time, LA also has another former Cy Young Winner in Zach Greinke. The Wainwright/Kershaw matchup should be one for the ages and may end 1-0 with both tossing complete games.
Bullpen – St. Louis is another hard throwing bullpen that can lock down a game come the late innings. But, LA is no slouch when it comes to back end pitching, as they finished with a better bullpen ERA than St. Louis. If either team has a lead into the 9th, you can consider it over with Rosenthal closing for St. Louis and Jansen closing for LA.
Offense – Dodgers: This Cardinals lineup has just lacked the usual “punch” we are accustomed to watching this time of year from the St. Louis club. This Dodgers offense is the kind that can carry a team through the playoffs, and they are hot at just the right time, leading the league in runs since Sept. 1st.
This will be the more talked about, media driven series as you have the massive market of LA battling a perennial contender in St. Louis. Mike Matheny clearly knows how to win as the St. Louis manager, and although I am not sold on Don Mattingly leading his squad to success, he has the more talented team with much bigger stars. Dodgers win the series 3-2.
In a brief look at the rest of the playoffs:
ALCS – Angels vs. Tigers = Tigers win series 4-3 on the left arm of David Price
NLCS – Nationals vs. Dodgers = Nationals win series 4-3 with Jordan Zimmermann leading the way
World Series – Tigers vs. Nationals = Nationals win World Series 4-2 in a low scoring, high intensity battle
Hope you enjoyed my honest take on how the playoffs will shake out this October. Feel free to leave your agreements, criticisms, and boos once all my picks prove false…
@Were_Not_Sorry <- You know you wanna follow us!