MLB Postseason Preview


Yankees fans should be excited to see first baseman Greg Bird return to the lineup alongside their other young studs.

By Jack Woodard, Staff Writer

The moment fans have been waiting for is finally here, the 162 game MLB season has ended, and it’s playoff time.  Playoff baseball is one of the most nerve-wracking, edge of your seat kind of sporting events there are and this article will get you ready for October baseball and analyze what each team will need to do in order to win the World Series.

Starting out in the AL, the Twins open up the action with the Yankees on Tuesday, October 3, in the 1 game Wild Card round.  The winner of that game will face the Indians in the Divisional round.  The Twins snagged the second Wild Card spot with an 85-77 record on the season.  The big news for this game is that 3rd baseman Miguel Sano will not be healthy enough by game time.  The Twins will need to remain steady at the 3rd base, with Eduardo Escobar getting the start.  Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios can be a solid 1 and 2 pitching combination if they get to the next round, of course, Santana needs to get a win against the Yankees first.  The Twins have experience on their roster in Bartolo Colon, Joe Mauer, Jason Castro, and Brian Dozier, who are all 30 years of age or older.  They will need to keep the younger guy’s nerves in check if they want to go all the way.  The Twins will also need to rely on their bullpen to close out games if they want to get to the World Series.  Overall, this may be a team capable of making a run, but beating the Yankees and then the Indians is no easy task.

The other Wild Card team in the AL is the New York Yankees, with a record of 91-71.  There is no denying that the Yankees batting power can carry them through the postseason, but can their young guys stay composed and deliver on the big stage.  It is the first time Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, two of their biggest bats, have been to the playoffs.  The pressure will be on and their nerves will kick in, but can they respond?  They will need to to win the one-game Wild card against the Twins.  The Yankees pitching is another spot that can make or break this team.  Tanaka, Severino, Sabathia, Gray, and Garcia will all need to deliver for their team to make a run.  Aroldis Chapman knows what postseason baseball is all about, as he won the World Series last year with the Cubs.  If the Yankees are swinging with power and the pitchers are in their groove, other teams seriously need to watch out.  

The Red Sox will bring their confidence into the playoffs as they finished with a 93-69 record and just edged the Yankees out by 2 games to win the division.  Chris Sale will lead his team into game 1 against the Astros in the Divisional Round.  With a solid bullpen and one of the best outfields in the league, the Red Sox mean business.  Their middle infield is no slouch either with Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia guarding the infield.  With the speed of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts in the outfield, it will be very hard to land balls out there.  Let’s not forget about the rookie Andrew Benintendi over in left field.  If the Red Sox can get 6 or 7 innings out of their starters consistently and give the bullpen leads in the 8th and 9th innings, there is no telling what this team is capable of.

The Astros will want to prove they mean business as they square off against the Red Sox.  With their outstanding pitchers and infield, it’s no wonder that many predict this team to go all the way.  When Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel are hot, it is nearly impossible to get hits, especially with Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve in the infield.  And striking out Altuve, good luck, he finished the season with a league-best .346 average at the plate.  He also has great speed on the basepath.   With home-field advantage in their first series, it will be tough for the Red Sox to get a win in the first two games.  The hype around the Astros is very real and everyone else in the playoffs needs to watch out.

The final team in the AL is the number 1 seed Cleveland Indians.  The Indians come into the playoffs smelling blood with a record of 102-60.  They will also look to avenge their loss in the World Series last year.  They could have a tough matchup against the Yankees or Twins, but this team is not to be messed with.  The Indians can also get the bats going with Jose Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor and Jay Bruce all swinging for the fences.  The Indians know the hype surrounding them and will not succumb to the pressure, having been in this situation last year.  This team is very dangerous and not only has a good chance at getting back to the World Series, but also has a good chance of winning it.

Moving on over to the NL, the Rockies have the second Wild card and finished the season with an 87-75 record.  The Rockies have a solid team in the field with Charlie Blackmon in centerfield and Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu in the infield.  They also are a very capable team at the plate as pitchers will not want to mess with Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado.  This team is flying under the radar, and certainly is very talented, but it is going to come down to their pitching.  Can the starters and the bullpen give quality games?  They are going to have to if Colorado wants to make a run.  This team is flying under the radar and should not be taken lightly.

The other Wild Card team is the Diamondbacks, who finished with a 93-69 record.  With Zack Greinke on the mound for the Wild Card game, the Diamondbacks know they have a good chance of winning.  Greinke can find his team a win even if they only put up 2 or 3 runs.  Paul Goldschmidt has been one of the best players in the league this year with a .297 batting average and 36 home runs.  A home run could be the difference for his team in the Wild Card game.  Greinke is also backed by David Peralta, Jake Lamb, and JD Martinez.  The Diamondbacks need their hitting to come in clutch if they want to win and give the Dodgers a run for their money.  

The reigning World Series champions, the Cubs, will look to repeat this year and many think we are in for another Cubs vs. Indians World Series.  The curse has been broken and the Cubs have some weight off of their chests, but fans want more.  They finished with a 92-70 record, winning the division.  With almost all of their players returning the Cubs have great fielding and hitting.  Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant can all get the bats going and Javier Baez, Jason Heyward, and Addison Russell provide solid fielding.  The pitchers are also great too with Lester, Arrieta, and Lackey as the first 3 in the rotation.  This Cubs team has a legitimate chance to go all the way again.

Taking on the Cubs will be the Nationals, who have never won a World Series and seem to have bad luck in the playoffs.  The Nats finished with a record of 97-65 and ran away with the NL East.  Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez are all experienced pitchers and have the ability to win games.  With the bats of Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper, the Nationals always have a shot at hitting one out.  Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman can also get in on the hitting action.  The Nationals may not have the most talent in the field, but they can hold their own.  Can this year’s team finally finish off a successful season with a World Series Ring?  Only time will tell, but they definitely have the potential.

The final team in the playoffs is the Dodgers who finished the season 104-58.  The Dodgers have had a rollercoaster year starting out slow and then rattling out a 43-7 record in 50 games, the best record in that amount in 105 years.  The Dodgers sat at 91-36 when they went on a 1-16 skid.  They ended up closing the year with the number 1 seed in the NL.  Which Dodgers will show up in the playoffs?  Fans can only hope the 43-7 L.A. team shows up.  Yasiel Puig, Curtis Granderson, the rookie phenom Cody Bellinger, and Clayton Kershaw can carry this team to the World Series.  The Dodgers need to stay consistent in the playoffs if they want to win it all.  

With all these good teams in, fans can only guess who is going to win it all this year.  “I think the Astros are going to go all the way, they have solid hitting and fielding players on their roster.  I do think the Yankees could surprise some teams as a Wild Card team because they have young talent and a lot of players heating up at the right time,” said sophomore Justin Reicher.  

This October should be fun and with baseball, we never know what teams are capable of pulling it out when it matters most.