It’s October! The long MLB is finally over and most of the playoff match ups are locked up, except for two spots. In the American League it’s last year’s most explosive team, the Toronto Blue Jays going against this year’s biggest surprise, the Baltimore Orioles. Now for the National League it will be last years NL champs, the New York Mets versus the even-numbered year terror, San Francisco Giants. Each match up is a one game series, where the winner of Baltimore-Toronto faces off against the Texas Rangers and the winner of New York-San Francisco gets to challenge the Chicago Cubs.
Now it’s prediction time, which let’s be honest, is the most difficult to predict of all of the major sports. In the AL match up the Orioles travel to Toronto against their AL East rival Blue Jays. It’ll be Chris Tillman on the mound for the O’s and Marcus Stroman for the Jays. Now these teams are very familiar with each other with the Blue Jays winning 10 of their 19 match ups this season, what is quiet shocking is that these teams absolutely crush the opposing pitcher. With the Blue Jays hitting 19 homers and having a .933 OPS against Tillman in 312 at-bats and the Orioles hitting 5 home runs and sporting a .842 OPS against Stroman. I just can’t stress how good these offenses are, I can’t even say which one would be better, they both should show up it’s just a matter of how they’ll play with the bright lights on them.
Let’s talk about the pitching. In my opinion, I would have went with Liriano against the Orioles since they only have a combined .692 OPS against lefties and he looked sharp in his only start against them, going six innings, striking out 10 and walking only one batter. For Baltimore Tillman was probably their best option, since Gausman isn’t great against the Blue Jays either. The Jays just don’t seem the same this season, I can’t put my finger on it but their September wasn’t that memorable offensively and if this game is close towards the end their bullpen is nowhere near as good as Baltimore, which is lead by the historically good Zach Britton. I just think Stroman was the wrong choice when you have Happ, Estrada and Liriano, this choice might bite the Jays in the end here.
God I hope this one becomes a slug-fest, should be plenty of offense for those who say the game can be boring tell them this one is a must-see. Anyway give me the better bullpen, slightly better offense and better manager. The Orioles are dancing with the Rangers, much to my disappointment as I really want another Blue Jays vs Rangers series.
Prediction: Orioles 8 – Blue Jays 6
In the National League the pitching is definitely going to be much sharper and dominant than the American League. With the post-season machine Madison Bumgarner for the Giants against one of the brightest young pitchers in Noah Syndergaard for the Mets. This one just screams pitchers duel with weaker offenses going at it, the Giants only have a meager .464 OPS vs Thor and we all know Mad Bum comes to play in October, with a ridiculous .60 ERA. If anything is going to happen offensively it’ll come from an early mistake or late in the game if the bullpens come in.Cespedes is the only Mets regular-time hitter with some success, and he’s just a modest .300 with one RBI against Bumgarner in 10 at-bats. The secret weapon against Mad Bum is going to be Rene Rivera who’s 2 for 3 against him with a home run and 5 RBIs, small sample-size but that’s the matchup at the bottom of the order to look for here.
This game can be pretty interesting if it is close late, the Giants have an atrocious pen that was historically bad in save-situations, while the Mets definitely have a respectable pen but we’ve seen Familia look really shaky in high-leverage situations. If Bumgarner can’t go the distance there’s a good chance the Mets can get themselves a run or two late and that’s how they can pull off a win at home. I just don’t know what the Mets can do offensively with all of their injuries and Collins always seems to do something questionable, even whenhis team seemingly pulls through despite that. This one is also a tough call but I can’t deny Mad Bum this time of the year, I’m going with the Giants and the best postseason pitcher and possibly best postseason manager of all-time, if Bochy can get his bullpen finally working probably good but if Bumgarner goes the distance he won’t even need to look their way.
Prediction: Giants 3 – Mets 2
Also, kind of awkward that the Mets took the Giants logo when the Giants moved to San Francisco.
So I picked the two orange and black teams in October, coincidence? Let’s find out and now let’s watch Tillman and Stroman be a pitchers duel and Madbum and Thor get lit up like Christmas trees, baseball is impossible to predict this time of year and I love it.