The St. Louis Cardinals, as shown in the previous slide, would not have seen postseason play had they played in the American League and had they finished with the same record as they did in the NL.
The St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t have played in the AL Wild Card game but their one-time potential manager, Terry Francona with the Cleveland Indians will kick things off in the first round of the AL postseason in the ALDS.
The Indians will face the winner of the AL Wild Card game. If my prediction stands true, the Indians will face the New York Yankees.
The Indians finished the 2017 season with a record of 101-60 for first place in the AL-Central. Francona- the real leader of men- lead his team to an above-100-win season and to the postseason for the second year in a row.
By the way, this all occurred while the St. Louis Cardinals are excluded from the postseason for the second season in a row under Mike Matheny who the front office selected over Francona.
In head-to-head competitions, the Indians won five games while the Yankees won two.
In this best-of-five competition, the Indians are likely to send Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer to the mound for the first three games. Countering them, the Yankees will likely send Severino/Gray (whoever did not pitch in the WC game), Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery/CC Sabathia.
I feel these rotations favor the Indians. Likewise, I feel the even-handed lineup of the Indians (with power hitters like Edwin Encarnacion and productive hitters like Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis) will out-perform the power hitting lineup of the Yankees. Therefore, I predict that the Indians will advance to the ALCS.
In the other ALDS competition, the Boston Red Sox face the Houston Astros.
The Red Sox finished the 2017 season with a record of 93-68 which was good enough to finish in first place in the AL-East.
The Astros finished the 2017 season with a record of 100-61 which was good enough to finish in first place in the AL-West.
If there is one set of competition that should draw the attention of any baseball fan, this portion of the ALDS is it. In head-to-head competitions this season, the Red Sox and Astros are neck-and-neck with each squad taking three wins. A dead heat. This should play out beautifully then in the ALDS.
I look for the Red Sox to send Chris Sale, David Price, and Drew Pomeranz to the mound to face-off against Jose Altuve, Brian McCann, and George Springer. On the other side, I look for the Astros to send Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and perhaps Brad Peacock (for ERA reasons alone) to the mound to face Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia.
As much as I would like the Astros to win this one, I just don’t see it happening against the power arms in the Red Sox rotation. Therefore, I predict that the Red Sox will advance to the Indians in the ALCS.