Guide to the MLB Wild Card Round
Updated: Sep 29
And just like that it's already time for postseason baseball, it feels like the season only started a couple weeks ago. After a roller coaster of a season where we saw three teams have COVID-19 outbreaks (all of which made the playoffs), we are now at the playoffs. Here are the teams partaking in the expanded postseason.
Wild Card Series Previews
Dodgers V Brewers
How the Brewers made the playoffs? I honestly have no clue. This is easily one of the most boring teams I have ever seen. Their starting pitching isn’t horrible led by Corbin Burnes and Brian Woodruff, but this lineup is brutal. Yelich has been terrible all year. Braun has been solid and Huira has put together a good year as well, but everyone else is very average or straight up bad. The bullpen is solid, led by one of the best closers in the game, Josh Hader, but they don’t stand a chance versus the World Series favorite Dodgers. The Dodgers lineup is led by former AL MVP Mookie Betts along with the likes of Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and AJ Pollock. Their starting rotation is probably top five in the league sporting a rotation including Clayton Kershaw, Walker Beuler and rookie phenom Dustin May. Given those three will be who the Brewers will face, expect a quick 2-0 sweep sending the Brewers out of the postseason where they never belonged in the first place.
Padres V Cardinals
Coined with the nickname “Slam Diego” midway through the year, the Padres come into the postseason for the first time since 2006 sporting a record of 37-23, the second best in the NL. Their lineup has been a nightmare for opposing pitchers, led by Fernando Tatis who has 17 home runs and Manny Machado who holds a .304 batting average along with Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Jurickson Profar who are all hitting over .275. Their starting pitching is above average with guys like Zach Davies and Chris Paddack leading the rotation, but their bullpen is the opposite. They just don’t get any criticism since they put up so many runs on offense. As for the Cardinals, this is another team I just simply find boring. Their lineup is not built for a postseason run as their pitching carried them all year led by Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright. Since those two guys are so good, I can see the Cardinals taking one game, but Slam Diego should have no issues advancing to the next round.
Cubs V Marlins
Sadly, this is where I see the Marlins lose their first ever playoff series, they have a rotation and bullpen that could win them a game but their lineup lacks so much power it is hard for me to see them putting up more than three runs when going up against guys like Yu Darvish and even Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs bullpen still isn’t very good but they improved greatly as the season progressed and their lineup is pretty stacked as it includes Anthony Rizzo, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber who all have at least 11 home runs. Even though I see the Fish getting sent home, this was still a great season for them as no one had them going to the playoffs. This team has an incredibly bright future and will make some playoff runs in the years to come.
Braves V Reds
So far, I have gone all chalk, picking the higher seeded team to advance in all these series. This is where that ends as I have the seventh seeded Reds taking down the second seeded Atlanta Braves. This Reds rotation is deadly and probably the last team you want to face in a three game series. Led by Trevor Bauer who boasts a 1.88 ERA and former CY Young contenders Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. In game one we get to see Bauer take on Max Fried, the Braves can easily take this one as Fried is on the same level as Bauer, but after game one the Reds have a huge advantage when it comes to pitching. Yes, the Reds bullpen is bad but so is the Braves. The Braves lineup is scary. Led by Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson who all put together very nice seasons. The Reds offense has been very inconsistent but they are loaded with power as they have four players with more than ten homers, and that does not include Mike Moustakas who has dealt with a few injuries this year but has been solid when he's actually playing. I see the Reds getting past the Braves and the Cubs as they have really hit their stride late in the season and are finally giving their great rotation some run support.
Rays V Blue Jays
Two Al East teams that outdid their expectations meet in the 1 v 8 series. The Rays have a solid lineup, nothing special. But what makes this team so scary is their pitching. No one wants to see Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton in a three game series along with a bullpen that has six pitchers with an ERA less than 3.00 and more than 10 appearances. How scary their pitching is will show when the Rays sweep their division rival. Nothing against the Blue Jays, they had a great season and have a great future ahead of them with this young squad, but this is a horrid matchup for them. A very young team going up against a starting rotation and bullpen full of flamethrowers will not end well for them. Expect the Rays to breeze through this round.
Indians V Yankees
After yet another injury riddled season, the Yankees find themselves as the five seed going up against the fourth seeded Indians in what should be a great series. Fully healthy, this Yankees team is the best team in baseball, plain and simple. Led by DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, this team is no joke, however there are many question marks surrounding them. Will Giancarlo Stanton finally step up? Will Gary Sanchez finally reach some sort of consistency? Who would pitch in game three? If Stanton and Sanchez step up, it's championship or bust for the bombers and if not, they can be sent home in the first round. I believe they will step up and win the World Series. The Indians are very good led by MVP candidate Shane Bieber and a bullpen comparable to the Rays. Their offense has been very inconsistent but the talent is there with guys like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Carlos Santana. Game one of this series is going to be an absolute banger as Shane Bieber takes on Gerritt Cole, this one can go either way but say the Indians win game one, I think the Yankees have the advantage in the next two.
Twins V Astros
Ah yes, the ASStros, the six seed with a losing record because they play in a joke of a division. I mean, just compare their “stars” stats this year to their “stats” last year and you will realize how much of a joke this franchise is. They should be ashamed to take the field in the postseason and their stay won’t be too long as the Twins should get the job done fairly easily. Most of the Astros pitchers are righties which is perfect for the Twins as they seem to struggle against lefties greatly. Other than Zack Greinke who doesn’t even want to be on the team, the stros don’t have any other great pitchers since Verlander is out with Tommy John surgery. As for the Twins, their lineup is stacked with great hitters like Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco and the exciting Byron Buxton. Buxton and Donaldson did get hurt in their latest series against the Reds but reports show nothing serious and hopefully they will be able to go against the Astros. Their rotation is very good as well led by Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios. Seeya Astros.
Athletics V White Sox
In the 2 v 7 matchup we have the Athletics taking on the White Sox who were one of baseball's biggest surprise teams this season. I’m going with the underdogs in this one. I view the A’s as a worse version of the Indians, a team with a really good bullpen and big hitters that carry the lineup. In game one, you got Giolito facing Jesus Luzardo, two very good pitchers but I believe Giolito has a slight edge. Comparing their lineups side by side, the White Sox are the far superior team. Sure the A’s bullpen is better than the White Sox’s but not by much. Garrett Crochet and Cody Heuer are two of the most underrated flame throwers in the league along with Alex Colome, I don’t see the A’s scoring much. Then in game two it's going to be Keuchel vs Manaea. Manaea is probably the better pitcher but once again the White Sox will have the advantage as no one hits lefties better than them as they boast a team batting average of .285 and Tim Anderson hits .446 versus lefties. Give me the White Sox upsetting the Athletics.