Yesterday's playoff games went pretty much how I expected them to go. Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright were the aces they were billed to be and the other teams could not stay with them with their own pitchers. There was not a whole lot of drama involved.
Today could be different. There are four games being played, which is about as good as playoff baseball gets. None of the games are as clear-cut as yesterday. It will be fascinating to see what happens.
Friday's playoff picks:
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: This game will make or break the Pirates. If they go down by two games, it will be impossible (in my opinion) to come back. If they can win the game, anything can happen. Lance Lynn would not be starting this game if it wasn't for his last four starts of the season when he regained his mojo. He had a real bad stretch including two poor games against the Pirates before that. So the Pirates have beat him up pretty good. Gerrit Cole was great down the stretch too, but the problem for me in that run was that he did not face one single tough offense in his last ten starts. That will not be the case today. I have to go with the home team here and the better offense. The Cardinals just know how to do this.
- The Red Sox over the Rays: This game is really intriguing. Matt Moore goes for the Rays and he pitched against the Red Sox twice this season and dominated them like few other pitchers have been able to do. He went 2-0 against them with an ERA of 1.84. He was particularly brilliant in Fenway where he is today. So why pick against him? Jon Lester is 7-1 in day games. It is his best split. He is not as good against the Rays as Moore has been against the Red Sox. The Rays are on a roll and have been playing steadily. The Red Sox have sat around for a while. This will be interesting. I am going with what I perceive to be the better team at home.
- The Dodgers over the Braves: I pretty much know what Mike Minor is going to do. He will do what he always does. He has not given up more than four runs in his last ten starts. So Minor will hold the Dodgers to four runs or less for six or seven innings. The big question is what will Zack Greinke do? I have this lack of trust in Greinke. But looking back over his last ten games, he has been brilliant. Minor is a fly ball pitcher which plays well in Dodgers Stadium. Greinke has to be the pick because of his season and pitching in a spacious park.
- The Tigers over the Athletics: I have trouble buying into either of these teams. They can look as awful as they look good. But it is hard to forget how the Tigers flipped on a switch of sorts in the playoffs last year and just blanked everybody. Max Scherzer can do that to the A's. As far as the A's are concerned, they send Bartolo Colon to the mound. How can you doubt old Bartolo? I have all season and look what he has done? He is not a fluke. But in the back of my mind is that start he has every once in a while where he gives up like four homers. So this game comes down to which pitcher can have a bad day and Colon seems more capable of that than Scherzer.
Post season: 4-1