And so it begins. The MLB postseason got kicked off with a bang last night in Toronto, and the excitement continues tonight with Bumgarner and the Giants headed to Queens to take on the Mets.
As the calendar flips to October 2,430 games later, just 9 teams remain as the Toronto Blue Jays walked off on the Baltimore Orioles last night in a drama-filled contest that included some head-scratching non- moves from Oriole manager Buck Showalter.
The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are overwhelming favorites, but if we’ve learned one thing about baseball in October, it’s that anything can happen.
Every single pitch, every single at-bat and every single lineup decision made by each skipper will make or break a team’s chance to hoist the World Series Trophy.
It’s going to be a wild postseason, and here are my five bold predictions for what will happen on the diamond.
1. Madison Bumgarner Will Mow Down the Mets
Let’s face it. There’s no other pitcher in baseball you’d rather have on your team in a one-game elimination game than the ‘Mad Bum’ himself.
That said, when the lights turn on in Flushing for October baseball on Wednesday night, the Miracle Mets will quickly be laid to rest.
Sure the Mets overcame ridiculous odds to even make it this far with their depleted pitching staff and injury plagued lineup all year, but despite Noah Syndergaard‘s best efforts, Bumgarner will prove to be too much.
It might be a 1-0 win for San Francisco, but one run is all Madison Bumgarner will need on Wednesday night.
My prediction. A complete-game shutout for Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants.
2. The Indians Will Push the Red Sox to the Brink of Elimination
Yes, the Red Sox are huge favorites, but keep in mind they’re playing against the savvy Cleveland Indians led by former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona.
Wouldn’t it be something if the Sox get knocked out in Big Papi’s final season because Terry Francona simply outfoxed John Farrell up and down the diamond? Keep in mind that the Sox are missing Steven Wright (3.33 ERA, 137 ERA+) because of a Farrell managerial decision.
As bold of a prediction as that is, I think the Red Sox will eventually beat the Indians and move on to the ALCS, but it certainly won’t be easy.
Cleveland has taken some significant blows to their starting rotation as of late, but with the addition of Andrew Miller, it’s clear that the Indians bullpen is built for October and is sneakily one of the best in the game.
3. Clayton Kershaw Will Continue to Struggle in October
Clayton Kershaw is hands down the best pitcher in baseball, but not in October.
Unfortunately for Mr. Kershaw, I think the reputation of struggling under baseball’s brightest lights will continue to haunt him in 2016, and not only do I believe he’ll lose Game 1 against the always-tough Max Scherzer on the road in D.C., but I think he’ll be handed the ball again in Game 5 and struggle to keep the series alive for the Dodgers.
4. David Price Will Be Named ALCS MVP
Red Sox President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski brought David Price with him from the Tigers over to the Red Sox to be a big-game pitcher by offering him an crazy amount of money.
Not only do I believe the 31-year old southpaw will earn his hefty paycheck this October, but I think he’ll give the Red Sox quality start after quality start in route to another World Series appearance for the Boston Red Sox.
In the ALCS he’ll put up Andy Pettitte -esque playoff numbers and earn the ALCS MVP after pitching the Red Sox to another pennant and baseballs final series.
5. Two Historic Ballparks Will Host the 2016 World Series
Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. David Ortiz‘ final game.
Theo Epstein v. the guys who lost faith in him.
Jon Lester v. the guys who moved on from him.
Does the stage get any bigger?
I started off my post by saying the Red Sox and Cubs were extraordinary favorites, and I firmly believe that they will both grind through the playoffs and eventually meet for perhaps the most historic World Series of all time.
In the end I think the young and naive Chicago Cubs with nothing to lose will finally win their first World Series since 1908, eventually leaving David Ortiz and his perfect ending at the alter.
In the end you’ll see the diehard Chicago Cubs fans one-up the Cleveland Cavaliers fans as they line the streets of a Chicago for their first ticker tape parade in 108 years!