As the regular season continues to wind down, the Wild Card matchups are becoming more and more solidified. In both the AL and NL, the first Wild Card spots have been practically set in stone, while the second spots are still up for grabs with only a few games left remaining on the schedule.
In the AL race, the Yankees have clinched postseason berth while trailing the Red Sox in the divisional race by 3 games. Last night, the Minnesota Twins became the first team in the history of baseball to make the postseason after losing 100+ games the previous year. Just a few months ago, the Twins were handed the 1st overall pick in the draft. Now, they will be playing October baseball.
Over in the NL, the Diamondbacks have clinched the first Wild Card spot, while the Rockies are ahead of Brewers by 3 games. Just this past weekend, the Brewers had only trailed the Rocks by 1.5 games, but then the scorching-hot Cubs came to town, taking 3 out of 4 games in an extremely competitive series. The Rockies were able to capitalize against the Padres, padding their lead with 1.5 games.
There are only a handful of meaningful September baseball games still to be played, as both races look to be wrapping up. Here are my Wild Card match-ups and game predictions.
Here are my Wild Card match-ups and game predictions:
Embed from Getty Images
American League Wild Card Game:
Minnesota Twins vs. New York YankeesEmbed from Getty Images
With a predicted match-up of Luis Severino squaring off against Ervin Santana, this game could be interesting for a number of reasons.
One point to be made is that 5 of the active Yankee players have hit at least one home run off of the Twins’ 34-year-old right-hander this season. On the other hand, the Twins have a total of 13 at-bats off of Severino this year, collecting 5 hits and 3 runs. Needless to say, neither predicted arm has had much success against the opposing batters.
But, it all comes down to who is playing better baseball when the time comes. The Yankee bats have found life again, in large part due to Aaron Judge. Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious have also been swinging the lumber well as of late, as the Yanks have slugged 13 home runs in their last 7 games.
Prediction: Luis Severino baffles the Miguel Sano-less Twins in “The Bronx Zoo”, as the Yankees hit 3 home runs.
Final Score: Yankees: 7 Twins: 2
National League Wild Card Game:
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona DiamondbacksEmbed from Getty Images
Two of the MLB’s most under-the-radar teams will face off this postseason in the NL Wild Card game. Each team holds two NL MVP candidates with solid supporting casts.
For the Rockies, Tyler Chatwood seems to be their best option. In 142 total at-bats, the dangerous Diamondbacks have only posted a .239 batting average against Chatwood. Every other starting pitcher in the Rockies’ rotation (including their ace, Jon Gray) has a BAA over .280 versus Arizona.
Arizona’s ace and predicted starter, Zack Greinke, has a .272 BAA versus the Rockies this season. The last time these two teams squared off, Greinke pitched well, going 7 innings and giving up 2 ER on 5 hits.
This game will come down to whose superstars perform. Both J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt have one stint in the postseason. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon have never played a playoff game. Carlos Gonzalez has been there though, and boy did he prove his worth. In the 2009 NLDS, he batted .588 with an on-base percentage of .632. This September, he has posted a .371 batting average with 5 home runs and 15 RBI. Needless to say, CarGo has hit his stride and is poised for another productive postseason.
These division rivals will be rearing to go once October rolls around, and this game is set up to be a classic with many young and exciting players in each dugout. If you had to watch only one game this postseason, this should be it.
Prediction: CarGo and Arenado go deep while LeMahieu collects 3 hits. Martinez hits a home run and “Goldy” goes 3-4. Colorado goes into Arizona and stuns Greinke and the Diamondbacks. It will be a lovely “Rocktober” this time around!
Final Score: Rockies: 6 Diamondbacks: 4
James “Jeep” DiCioccio