First let’s start with my Yanks. In early August they had an eight game lead in the Eastern Division and seemed certain to come in first. Lo and behold, Teixeira is hurt and never comes back, forty year old Arod slumped, Ellsbury and Gardner were hurt/useless and the Yanks ended up as the home team wild card. As the season was winding done I just knew the Yanks were going to face the Astros in the one game wildcard playoff. I also knew that meant they were going to oppose Dallas Keuchel, who dominated them both on the road and at home this season. I also knew they were going to lose, which they did 3-0 and looked old and tired doing so. Oh well, there is always next year.
The Astros moved on to face the Royals and are leading the series two games to one with Keuchel again coming through. Last year the Royals were the post season talk of the league, this year they will lose to the Astros as Altuve, Carter, etc. come up big. Altuve in particular is one amazing ballplayer. He led the league in hits and stolen bases, plays with unbelievable effort and hustle. He maybe tops out at 5’6″ but has the heart of a lion.
The second play in game was between the Cubs and the Pirates. Seemed unfair that a high nineties win team was going to go home after one game, but see ya’ Pirates, Arrieta is virtually unhittable right now (and a huge bargain at $3.6m) and merits the Cy Young award. The Cardinals and Cubs are tied at one game apiece with Arrietta on the bump for game three. I think he wins this game, Kris Bryant breaks out of his mini-slump and the Cubs win the series and move a step closer to their “impossible dream”. Just an additional word about Kris Bryant. The fabulous rookie has a gorgeous, almost effortless swing that sends ball after ball out of the park. You can have Bryce Harper, give me Bryant over the long term.
A very interesting series, heightened by the “Utley” drama, contains the Mets playing the Dodgers. As a Yankee fan, by definition I should hate the Mets, but I really like their team. De Grom, Syndergaard, Harvey and local Long Island product Steven Matz form an awesome staff. I love David Wright, all talent, grit and class and ex-Yank Granderson is also a first rate guy. De Grom was unhittable game one, Syndergaard tired late in game two and the series is currently tied at one game apiece. Of course the drama is rising as Matt Harvey, he of the recent “late coming to practice” disease pitches the swing game. I think he kicks ass and the Mets go on to win this series, with their anger at Utley for breaking their shortstop’s leg on a borderline illegal slide providing fuel to their fire.
Finally, perhaps the most interesting and unpredictable series has the mighty Blue Jays playing Texas. When the Rangers traded for Cole Hamels in July, to quote Sports Illustrated “Cole Hamels is going to the Rangers for a package of prospects in a trade designed to help Texas not this season, but for 2016 and beyond”. Well guess what, he’s helped them all the way to a 2-1 lead in the ALDS. After seeing Donaldson, Bautista, et.al. hit the crap out of the ball all season against the Yanks, it’s hard to bet against them in any series. However, I’m not enamored of game four pitcher R.A. Dickey, so against my better judgment, I’m picking the Rangers to win this series in a big upset.