MLB Bi-Weekly Review: Wild Card Preview, Playoff Matchups

The baseball season came to a close over the weekend which means the real fun is about to begin for baseball fans. We head into this year’s postseason with what looks to be one of the most competitive groups of teams in several years where every team has the talent to make a run at the World Series trophy.

The AL wild-card kicks off on Tuesday with the Yankees traveling to Boston to face the Red Sox in a winner take all matchup to see who advances on to face the Rays. The NL Wildcard is scheduled for Wednesday with the red-hot Cardinals traveling to LA to face the Dodgers.

Yankees vs. Red Sox Preview

Red Sox

The Red Sox have a tough road in front of them but have the bats to make some noise

The Yankees looked to be dead in the water a couple of weeks ago but finished the season strong going 7-3 in their last 10 to squeeze into the wild card game. The Red Sox have been sitting in second place in the AL East for almost the entire year and their lineup is heating up at the right time.

On the Mound

  • Yankees: Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.23 ERA)
  • Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi (11-9, 3.79 ERA)

The Yankees signed Cole to a 9 year $324 year deal for moments like this and there will be plenty of pressure on him to pitch well in the Wild Card game.  Cole has struggled over his last 7 games going 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA and will face a Red Sox lineup whose top four hitters combined for 122 home runs.

Eovaldi has not been as consistent as Cole, but he has some big game playoff experience and was dominant in the Red Sox 2018 World Series championship run and sports a 1.61 ERA in 22 playoff innings.

Lineups

The Yankees have two of the games best hitters in Giancarlo Stanton (35 HR) and Aaron Judge (39 HR), but the rest of the lineup has been inconsistent throughout the season and top to bottom the Red Sox have a more dangerous lineup that should be able to manufacture some runs against Cole and try and get to the Yankees bullpen.

Prediction

The Yankees have Cole on the mound and are at home in what seems like would be the ideal setup for the Yankees to move on, but I think the Red Sox are going to find a way to win this game and the Yankees’ inconsistency will rear its ugly head with the playoff pressure on. I like the Red Sox to win a low-scoring game something like 4-2.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals head into the playoffs riding a ton of momentum

The Cardinals come into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in baseball history after their 17 game win streak that secured their spot in the playoffs. Their reward will be facing the game’s best pitcher on the road in Max Scherzer, while they send the experienced Adam Wainwright to the hill.

On the Mound:

  • Dodgers: Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46 ERA)
  • Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (17-7, 3.05 ERA)

Wainwright has had a remarkable age 40 seasons for the Cardinal by using his breaking stuff and moving fastball to keep hitters off-balance this year. Wainwright was a key piece of the Cardinals playoff and World Series runs last decade and should be fired up for another opportunity on the biggest stage.

Prediction

It’s hard to go against the Dodgers at home with Sherzer on the hill in a winner take all series. Scherzer has been dominant since his trade to the Dodgers at the trade deadline and has one of the best combinations of pitches in baseball history that can shut down the best lineups in baseball on any given night.

If Scherzer is in on early on against the Cardinals it could be a long day for the Cardinals hitters and their only hope may rest on Wainwright throwing a gem against the powerful Dodgers lineup. I like the Dodgers to come away with something like a 3-1 win.

Next Round Matchups:

MLB-Logo

The Division Series kicks off later this week

American League

  • White Sox vs. Astros
  • Yankees/Red Sox vs. Rays

The Astros should have the advantage over the Sox starting off at home but this should be a very competitive series that could go 5 games. The Rays will face a familiar foe in the Red Sox or Yankees and will have their Pitching staff rested and ready to go at home.

National League

  • Dodgers/Cardinals vs. Giants
  • Braves vs. Brewers

The Giants probably wished they could trade places with the Brewers as they are likely to face the World Series favorite Dodgers. I like the Brewers pitching staff to make quick work of the Braves hitters and could see the Brew Crew sweeping this series.

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