MLB Playoff News: Predicting the ALDS

By
Updated: October 6, 2016

The real postseason starts tomorrow, with the Toronto Blue Jays traveling to Texas to take on the Rangers and the Cleveland Indians hosting the Boston Red Sox. Both series are full of subplots and drama, lots of questions, and probably some pretty good baseball. These are two very close and evenly matched series, and both could go either way. That won’t stop me from making my predictions, though!

Rangers Vs. Blue Jays – The history between these two teams is well documented, and there figures to be plenty of tension. The Blue Jays knocked off the Orioles in the Buck Showalter Officially Blows It game, but enter the series with a few question marks. Star Closer Roberto Osuna left last night’s game with a sore shoulder, but said he should be fine and remains only questionable for game one, so expect to see him at some point.

Josh Donaldson has been hurt and struggling, but looked good in last night’s game. After Marcus Stroman pitched six solid innings last night, the Jays will turn to Marco Estrada for game one, followed by J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez, with Stroman most likely going in game four. The Rangers will counter with Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in games one and two, respectively, but after that they have huge question marks. While the Jays don’t have anyone with the track record of Cole Hamels or the potential talent of Darvish, they hold the edge in overall depth and skill in the rotation, while the Rangers have a better bullpen on paper.

While the Rangers have a deep and effective lineup, there aren’t many teams that can match what the Blue Jays can throw at you with their lineup. When you’re batting someone like Troy Tulowitzki sixth or seventh in your order, you’re stacked. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and Donaldson have all shown they can thrive under pressure, as well. The Blue Jays may have snuck in with the Wild Card, but I like them to win what should be a hard fought and tense series. Blue Jays in five.

Indians Vs. Red Sox – The last time these guys played, it was a classic, and there are some interesting subplots and stories involved here including Terry Francona and Mike Napoli returning to Boston and David Ortiz attempting to go out a champion.

One subplot that won’t get the full scope it deserves is the Indians’ shut-down pitching versus the Red Sox’ deep and dangerous lineup. Young stud pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco are unavailable for this series, Trevor Bauer has struggled down the stretch, and Corey Kluber is dealing with injuries of his own. The Red Sox will hand the ball to Rick Porcello in game one, followed by David Price, and his struggles are well documented. Both teams are full of question marks in the rotation, but the edge still has to go to the Indians.

How much of an edge that will be remains to be seen. In the bullpen, the decisive edge belongs to the Indians. Not many teams can boast a weapon like Andrew Miller, and Terry Francona might actually use his best reliever (couldn’t help it, Buck!) I

n fact, Francona has been creative in using his best reliever in the most high leverage situations, often for multiple innings, and with great depth around Miller, this is a strength we’ve seen teams ride to a World Series victory before. The Red Sox hold an equally decisive edge on offense, with a deep, young lineup.

There are question marks sometimes with young players and how they’ll respond on the big stage, but with a veteran core that includes Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia who have been there and done that, no drop-off should be expected. This should be a closely contested series, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bauer and Kluber bounced back and pitched great and the Indians rode their dominant bullpen and clutch hitting to a series victory – we’ve seen that formula work time and time again – but I give the slight edge overall to the Red Sox ability to put up runs when necessary. Red Sox in five.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login