The MLB postseason is upon us, kicking off tonight with the AL Wild Card, followed tomorrow by the NL. With so much at stake we examine the matchups and give our MLB picks of the day.
Houston Astros at New York Yankees: Yankees Have Limped Into the Playoffs
After a surprising season and making the playoffs, the New York Yankees had plenty of chances to earn the home field advantage in the wild card game and simply couldn't win, being swept by the Baltimore Orioles as the offense totally disappeared. Now, they must face a pitcher in Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.46) who has owned them this season.
Along with that, Keuchel is 1st in the American League in wins, 1st in innings pitched, 1st in WHIP,3 rd in complete games, 2nd in ERA, and 5th in strikeouts.
Houston is a slight favorite in this game, but as I always say, good pitching wins games, and Keuchel has been dominant. We know that Masahiro Tanaka will give a solid effort and keep the Yankees in the game, but this game comes down to, "Can the Yankees scratch out a few runs?' Even if Tanaka were to give up just a couple of runs, the New York offense has been awful.
Crawling Down the Stretch
Just look at some of these batting averages. Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .257, Brett Gardner,.259, Alex Rodriguez,.250, Chase Headley, .259, and Stephen Drew, 201. Carlos Beltran who started the season off like he was done, led the Yankees in hitting in hitting at .276.
Post Season Legend
I think this is a great season for Beltran, who is known for being a stud in the post-season. Beltran was once a member of the Houston Astros and put up one of the best playoffs of all-time. Beltran is also a player that should just miss the Baseball Hall of Fame, but if he found the same magic in his bat that he did a decade ago in the post season, he would get Hall of Fame consideration. I expect Beltran to lead New York as he has ice water running through his veins in the post-season.
Because of a lack of power, I think Altuve is the most underrated player in the game. Tanaka can't let Aluve get on base if this is a close game or he can be the difference.
For the season, Altuve has 15 HR, 66 RBI, .313 BA, and 38 SB. He's put up about the same numbers for a second consecutive season and in my opinion, is the best hitter in this game.
With all of the negatives about the Yankees, they found a way to get home field as Houston didn't deliver on the last day of the season and the Yankee crowd will boost the moral of the team. This is a dead even game as the odds indicate and Keuchel has had poor efforts before. New York also has an elite bullpen. Look for the Yankees to surprise the betting world and score some runs and advance to the next round.
MLB Pick: New York Yankees +104 at 5Dimes
Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Dominance of Jake Arrieta
This is all that we have to mention. The Pirates have had several opportunities in the Wild Card before and possess some tough hitters such as Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, but Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77) has put on a pitching clinic in the 2nd half of the season and will win the NL CY Young Award. Good pitching wins games and with the assistance of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, Arrieta should keep on dominating as he's shown know signs of slowing down.
How Good Is He?
Arrieta has won his last 11 decisions and last 14 out of 15 decisions. In this 11-0 stretch, he's allowed 4 earned runs in 88 1/3 innings pitched. No disrespect to the Pirates, who have one of the best players in the majors over the past half decade in Andrew McCutchen, but they will be lucky to score off of Arrieta.
MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs -137 at Pinnacle