After a WILD wildcard round that saw the Yankees advance despite trailing 3-0 in the top of the first inning and rookie fire baller Luis Severino being given the hook after recording only one out, we’re set to settle into the best-of-five ALDS with the Yankees facing the scorching hot Indians and the Red Sox facing the Astros.
ALDS: Boston Red Sox (93-69) vs. Houston Astros (101-61):
The ALDS gets underway this afternoon in Houston with the Astros sending newly acquired ace Justin Verlander to the hill against a Red Sox team that needs to generate runs without hitting the long ball. Without David Ortiz in the lineup this year, they rank dead last in the AL in home runs. The Red Sox, who have over performed in extra-innings games (15-3) and against the NL (16-4) rely on good starting pitching, especially ace Chris Sale who takes the bump tonight, to keep games within reach. With David Price recovering from an elbow injury and pitching from the bullpen, the Sox might have the deepest set of relievers in the playoffs. The Astros are a hard hitting team with probably the best overall offense in the American League led by George Springer and his 34 homeruns this season. As a team, Houston doesn’t strike out very much and they hit the second most homeruns in the AL this season. They’ve been especially good in the last few weeks, going 21-8 over that stretch. This might get interesting if the Red Sox can keep games close, but I don’t see them being able to contain Houston’s juggernaut of an offense. I can see the Sox stealing a tight game at Fenway, but that’s probably it.
Prediction: Astros in 4 games
ALDS: New York Yankees (91-71) vs. Cleveland Indians (102-60)
We all know the Yankees and rookie phenom Aaron Judge can mash the ball, leading the AL in homeruns this year. We also know that their bullpen is loaded with fire ballers that can lock games down starting in the seventh inning to get to Aroldis Chapman. What we don’t know is whether the starting rotation can get them there. Facing a Cleveland Indians team that closed the season out with a preposterous 42-8 run (including 22 straight) and boasts the best starting ERA in the AL led by Corey Kluber, the Yankees have an uphill battle in front of them. Rookie NYY ace Luis Severino was battered in the wildcard round and took an early exit. They’ll need him to have his mid-season form to stand a chance against this Indians club, who scored the third most runs in the American League this season, led by DH Edwin Encarnacion’s 38 homers. If the Indians play the way they have over the last two months, it’s probably lights out in the Bronx.
Prediction: Indians in 3 games
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.