Truly, you are the good sports for putting up with how many articles it takes to get to the point. I could have briefly discussed everything in one lengthy tome, but I spread it out over three days! Anyway, here’s how I think the end of the 2017 Major League Baseball season will play out:
NL Wild Card: Pittsburgh at Los Angeles
For three years (2013-2015) the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the wild-card game. That was their gift for getting better. Here, I’m thinking they make it to the same point, but have to travel all the way to California. As has been the case in seven of the ten WC games so far, I’m calling it for the visitor though. The Bucs will put in Gerrit Cole against Clayton Kershaw, and because it’s only the one game, Kershaw will yip once again. I’m not sure what will get him over the hump, but it won’t be this year. It’s also more of a shame because it will be more of a pitcher’s duel, Kershaw only giving up three runs while Cole gives up one. David Freese will play the hero once again, this time for the black and gold, nabbing a two-run homer in later innings. Pittsburgh 3-0.
NLDS: New York at San Francisco
Here’s a re-match of last year’s NL Wild Card game, where Noah Syndergaard performed admirably before the bullpen broke down, allowing in the even-year hitters. As a reward for being amazin’ again in 2017, the Metropolitans must also travel to California, hopeful they can do better in five than they had in one. Luckily, they’re healthy, and late-season addition Todd Frazier will push the team over the edge with a game (and base) stealing performance in game four. Madison Bumgarner will hold the fort down in game one, but Cueto will be overpowered and the rest of the rotation will fall apart on the way back to the Big Apple. Mets in 4.
NLDS: Pittsburgh at Chicago
So you’ve made it to the second stage of the playoffs. What would you like, Pittsburgh? How about a match-up against the defending champion Chicago Cubs? You know, the ones with bats like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo? It’s almost unfair to let teams face the Cubs this season. They’re going on a tear, and will flatten the Pirates swift and decisively. This, of course, is if they stay uninjured*. Cubs in 3.
*-Schwarber was injured all season last year and they still broke a century old curse. Watch out for the Cubs, they’re unstoppable.
NLCS: New York at Chicago
What has rapidly become a boring and predictable match-up in the National League is easily my favorite. For my entire life I’ve watched the Mets scramble to regain what they haven’t had since 1986. As for the Cubs, they were very Cub-like until last year. So it would be phenomenal to see these two juggernauts (as strange as that is now) face off in October. How magnificent will these matchups be: Arrieta vs. Syndergaard, Lester vs. Harvey, Lackey vs. DeGrom and even Anderson vs. Wheeler? It’s what the people want, it’s what the people should get. Anyway, who wins it? I personally think the Cubs are unstoppable, but for the sake of being contrary, and since I truly believe the difficulty of repeating will get the best of the Cubs for a number of reasons – injury, happenstance, better pitching at the right time – whatever it may be, the Mets will win if this is the matchup. It’ll just go the distance. Mets in 7. MVP – Noah Syndergaard
AL Wild Card: Toronto at Kansas City
I was close to picking Houston to make it, and the AL is less set than the NL as to who’s going to be good. So I flipped a proverbial three-sided coin and this is the pair I resulted in. So they’ll probably through Danny Duffy at Marco Estrada and see what happens, while hoping they can contain the bats brewing from north of the border. While Kansas City will be better, that strange visitor clause continues at Toronto makes it out of the wild card on a home run from Kendrys Morales. Toronto 4-2.
ALDS: Seattle at Boston
Boston is definitely a better team, but Seattle will hold their own against this Goliath. I may have overdone it with my predictions for the M’s, like Cano’s prevalence, or James Paxton’s ERA, but they’ll still push Boston to the edge. In the end, though, Price will show why he was worth it, and Sale will definitely prove that ditching all the prospects for the future was a sure thing. Pablo Sandoval will also bat in an incredible 10 runs for him and his teammates. Boston in 5.
ALDS: Toronto at Cleveland
In a re-match of last year’s ALCS, the Indians handily outmatched the Blue Jays, and this year will be no different. Toronto will have limped into the playoffs, and despite knocking of the Royals, they’ll not be able to withstand the bats of Carlos Santana, James Ramirez, Tyler Naquin and their old buddy, Edwin Encarnacion. That particular individual will take advantage of his old team and see them for four home runs spread over four games. It will help that Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco turn in some splendid performances as well. Cleveland in 4.
ALCS: Cleveland at Boston
Boy this would be fun – I’ve seen a handful of series between these two in the postseason – Cleveland took two division series in the mid-90s and the Red Sox won one themselves in ’99 and the ALCS in ’07. Last season they had a swift exit right off the bat to the Tribe, as they themselves stumbled into the playoffs. This year will also be a bit different, as the Red Sox have a secret weapon on their side: Andrew Benintendi. The rookie phenom will personally be the difference, knocking off Cleveland’s star pitchers, while Chris Sale will keep Encarnacion and company in check. The series won’t be short, but it won’t be tough for Boston. Boston in 5. MVP – Andrew Benintendi
World Series: New York Mets at Boston Red Sox
When I jokingly asked my dad who I should pick to win, he said it should be a re-match of 1986. Sure enough, the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox are our two favorite teams and he’s still sore that the Mets knocked the Red Sox off then. On the other hand, he’s glad the Red Sox didn’t beat his beloved Mets. So 1986 was tough. Also, the truth of the matter is that both teams are truly going to be solid contenders, so this is quite likely, and I know a lot of other experts cite this as a real possibility.
As for the actual games? Two of the hardest rotations to match up will find us getting dream clashes from Noah Syndergaard, Chris Sale, Jacob DeGrom, Robert Porcello, Matt Harvey, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Zack Wheeler, Drew Pomeranz, Stephen Matz and Steven Wright. If that doesn’t excite you, maybe watching the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Jackie Bradley, Jay Bruce, Mookie Betts, Curtis Granderson, Xander Bogaerts, Lucas Duda or Dustin Pedroia (and pick-up Todd Frazier) mashing baseballs over the Green Monster at Fenway or those Shake Shack stands at Citi Field. Whatever the case is in this finale, be sure there will be plenty of awesome storylines, the least of which will culminate in Bill Buckner throwing out the first pitch, redeeming himself.
As for who wins, it’s the Boston Red Sox in seven. That much is obvious. MVP? Let’s say Mookie Betts.