We now have our lineup for the National League Championship Series and the American League Championship Series after Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers again put a Game 5 ALDS dagger into the hearts of the Oakland Athletics. I was a little torn on that pick yesterday but I should not have been. There was never a doubt about the outcome. The A's simply had no shot against Verlander and their expectation that Sonny Gray could keep up with him was a pipe dream.
So now, the Tigers and Red Sox will decide which team goes to the World Series and the Cardinals and Dodgers try to figure out the same thing for the National League. Both Series should be very interesting. I will keep picking every day, but I expect the Dodgers and Red Sox to win their respective series and go to the big show.
Having two left-handed starters will make a difference against a Cardinal team that struggled against southpaws all season. And the Red Sox just seem like a juggernaut that cannot be stopped. But predictions are meaningless. They have to play the games and while a seven game series is more apt to produce the correct winner than a five game series, anything can still happen.
So here we go. It starts tonight with the NLCS. The pick for Game 1:
- The Cardinals over the Dodgers: This is a really tough pick. Zack Greinke has beaten the Cardinals four out of the last five times he has faced them. And he has beat them three times in a row. But those efforts were really spread out over a three year period. He only faced them once this year and once last year. And yes, he beat them both times. But that is too small a sample size. I think Greinke will pitched decently. I see a six inning outing with two runs allowed. But the real key to this game is how well Joe Kelly pitches. Here is a pitcher the Cardinals have not even wanted in their rotation for the last two seasons but he ended up there both times due to injuries and others' failures. He is a good pitcher who is really tough when he is on. But he can have his rough outings too. I think he will be fine at home. My problem with this game and with this series is wondering when and if all these young Cardinal pitchers are going to crack. To me, the Cardinals have the slightly better lineup and it all comes down to which pitcher does a better job. Edge to the home team.
Post season: 14-7