AL Playoff Predictions
By: Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
Sorry, all had wifi issues when I wanted to get this in earlier. This is going to be an article outlining each AL matchup and who I think will prevail in each matchup and why. Stay tuned for the NL preview coming out tomorrow, most likely. As I am typing this, some games are starting and are already off to good starts. The AL is full of a bunch of exciting matchups between the Astros and Twins, A’s and White Sox, Jays and Rays, then Yanks and Indians. So without further ado, let’s get into what will be a mighty fun AL Wild Card round.
Twins Vs. Astros
Just like the Lightning in hockey in 2019, the Twins had a brilliant regular season. Unfortunately, they, like the Lightning, lost in round one and, even worse, have lost their last 16 playoff games. In 2020 I believe that will change because they made the additions needed to improve from last season. The only thing the Twins lacked last season was pitching of which they added in Maeda, another year of Dobnak, Hill who keeps motoring on, Berrios who is highly skilled, and so on. I am not saying like the Lightning they will win or even make the championship but the reason I use that comparison is I believe they will finally get over their Achilles heel. For the Twins, that heel is winning a playoff game and then a playoff series which I foresee them doing. They added pitching to already good hitting. Their only issue is having to pick up the slack for Donaldson who is out with a calf injury. Where the Astros due to Verlander injury now lack in the experience in the pitching department. That will affect them along with down years from stars that will ultimately cost the Astros a first-round win. We also have to keep in mind the Twins are 36-24 and one of the better AL teams this season. Where for this season at least the Astros squeaked in below .500 at 29-31 as one of the leagues more disappointing teams. There is a reason as listed above, for that and one we won’t get into but for those reasons too and the ways the Twins find ways to prevail I believe the win in three games.
A’s Vs White Sox
This is going to be a very fun series of one of the best in the entire league record-wise in the A’s vs a team that easily could have been higher than seed number seven in Chicago if they just didn’t fall off at the end. As I type this the White sox are winning game one after struggling to round out the season. However, even if they win game one I still am taking the Athletics in three games in a very fun hard-fought series. I thought as soon as I saw this series the Sox’s would get one game but then lose the other two due to the matchups. By that I mean the Athletics have Manaea who looked good in the second half, youngster Luzardo, and locked in Chris Bassitt this year. Where the Sox’s have Giolito and then Dallas Keuchel, who should be top five in the Cy Young. The problem for them is their third pitcher. A few weeks go I would have been smooth sailing with Cease, but he since has shown some pains and struggles all youngsters have. Then Rodon has just never worked out much unfortunately for a while now. So the Reason I believe even if they lose game one the A’s will win in three is because their pitching can more so go three deep where because of guys falling off that’s more in question on the Sox’s side.
Jays vs. Rays
This would be a great series to make a poem about playing off the names that blend so well together. Think about it the JayRay experience or so on haha. Anyway jokes aside back to baseball. I’m sure we all know which way this series is going. As much as I love rooting for the underdog I cannot here because I see the Rays having the best chance in the AL to represent them in the World Series. So to keep this one short and sweet I see the Rays winning this series but not in two, but still three games because I believe the Jays win with Ryu on the hill. What a run it has been for the Jays exceeding their expectations and expediting their rebuild. Good for them and congratulations on their successful season. I do believe it ends here though and the Rays continue tp impress and move into the ALDS after taking out those pesky hard fighting Jays.
Yankees vs. Indians
Another very fun close battling series full of a good mix of pitching and hitting. On Wednesday as a type this we have a potential all-time pitching matchup between the pitching triple crown winner, Bieber, and another elite pitcher in Cole on the other end. Just as they say in sports defense win championships. That holds true in baseball, but also extends to another department. That extra department is pitching. That is why I believe in three games the Indians will win this series because they have Bieber, Carrasco, who has some of the nastier stuff in baseball, and Plesac who has pitched ace caliber this year. Where beyond Cole the Yankees have Garcia who is still very good but very raw. They then have Happ who has been good but struggled in big games before and in the first half this year, so we will see. Happ is who Yanks will need to bank on beyond Cole if they want to win this series along with Tanaka. The problem is in the second half as Happ improved Tanaka regressed and that is going to hurt the Yankees. Beyond Cole, the Yankees lack consistent hurlers where the Indians have one of the most consistent pitching staffs through hand through in years. This series due do Indians pithing out thinking Yankees hitting will go to Cleveland in three games. This in my opinion is going to be the most entertaining series in the AL. You have Lindor in likely his final year against America’s team in the Yanks. Seems the Indians have the task of taking down the poster child of the MLB and I believe they will.