With four teams vying for only two spots in the playoffs, it’s winner take all time in the majors. Let’s take a look at the two matchups that will decide who moves on.
AL Wildcard: Tuesday Oct. 3rd, 8:00PM Eastern
Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
We kick off the MLB Postseason tonight in the Bronx, with the Twins and playoff veteran Ervin Santana hoping to unseat the Yankees. The Yankees swept a three game series from the Twins earlier in the year and hold the edge in the season series 4-2. Santana is showing his best form in years, coming in with a 16-8 record. He’ll look to keep hitters off balance and allow his defense led by walking highlight reel Byron Buxton to make plays. That is, if the Yankees allow that to happen. The Bronx Bombers lead all of the majors in homeruns, led by Rookie and HR Derby champ Aaron Judge. It’s an offense that can put up runs in bunches. Defensively, New York will counter with Luis Severino, the hard-throwing rookie from the Dominican Republic. This Yanks team pressed Boston all season long for the AL East crown and easily walked away with the first wildcard slot. With that potent offense and homefield advantage, if Severino is up to the pressure in his first playoff game, the Yankees should advance to battle the Indians in the next round.
NL Wildcard: Wednesday Oct. 4th, 8:00 Eastern
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
Tomorrow night’s NL Wildcard matchup is a divisional affair with familiar opponents, as both wildcards emerged from the National League’s wild, wild west. The Rockies will send ace Jon Gray (10-4) to the mound in his first playoff appearance to face the Diamondbacks while the D-Backs counter with an ace of their own, former Dodgers hurler Zack Greinke (17-7). While the D-backs hold the edge in the season series 11-8, Gray has been locked in of late, not allowing more than three runs in his last dozens + starts, while Arizona’s Greinke has lost his last two starts and given up an uncharacteristically high eight runs in one of those starts. Both teams rank near the top of the league in offensive production, so it’s going to be a matter of who blinks first. Greinke has been shaky lately, and despite his experience, hasn’t been a commanding postseason pitcher. If that happens, the Rockies are likely to move on to face the Dodgers.
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.