Thus far the MLB Playoffs have been all about the aces. Things should change today as you have 2 games, hard hitting, and David Price aside, lesser talent where pitching is concerned.
Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays: Happy To Be Here
When I think of the Texas Rangers , this is what I think as they blew past Houston, beating the Astros head to head in a somewhat weak division to take the American League West Division.
There's no aces on this team as Yovani Gallard (13-11, 3.40) gets the start, but then again, these are the type of teams that pull off upsets. In order to beat the best hitting team in the MLB in the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas will need to pull off the biggest upset of the playoffs as game number 1 will be played at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto possesses a fierce lineup as they basically stole .300 hitter and base stealer, Ben Revere, from the Philadelphia Phillies and it doesn't get easier from there as Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion are all waiting to tee off on Gallardo.
Donaldson has had an MVP-like season, Bautista has hit over 50 home runs in a season, and nobody hits a baseball harder, with the exception of Giancarlo Stanton, than Edwin Encarnacion.
They're all 35 home run hitters and in order for Texas to win this game, Gallardo will need to pitch like Keuchel and Arrieta did in the first two wild card games and that's not likely to happen. Even though Prince Fielder has had a great season, this should be the end of the road for Texas, but luckily for the Rangers, this isn't the Wild Card.
Toronto has a decisive pitching advantage in this game as David Price has been a stud everywhere he has went except for Detroit and he quickly got out of there.
This is a pitcher that will provide the maximum amount of pitches in a game and has been a great Blue Jay. For the season, he's 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA while averaging a strikeout per inning. He must win tonight to set the tone for Toronto as he's the best that they have. Look for Price to mow down this Texas lineup.
MLB Pick: Toronto Blue Jays -230 at 5Dimes
Houston Astros vs Kansas City Royals: Houston has Momentum Now
I've seen this happen many times before when the wild card winner comes into their next series and dominates as they carry all of the momentum.
Houston doesn't have Dallas Keuchel, but it will be interesting to see how guys like Carlos Gomez and Jose Altuve come into Kansas City. Kansas City is a team that I can't figure out. They've been dominant for the past two seasons, but if you look at their lineup and pitching roster, they're far from dominant. Johnny Cueto was supposed to be the ace of this squad and he's been a flatout disaster. I look at this series as even.
You know when a team starts a pitcher in Yordano Ventura in game 1, who possesses an ERA of over 4.00, this is anyone's series. Quite frankly, I think the Astros have the better team and I'm an Altuve guy. He does it all at just 5 foot 5. Aside from Altuve, you have Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez who both went deep at Yankee Stadium and that will surely build their confidence. Where Gomez is concerned, he was a big-time hitter in Milwaukeee and that home run could be his wake up call.
This is a player that sets the tone and nothing seems to phase him as he's been with this team when they were really bad. For the season, Altuve hit .313 with 15 HR, 66 RBI, 38 SB, and that's off of a bad start. He could take a poor pitching Royals team out of their game and get on base for guys such as Evan Gattis. The Astros blew a division lead in the regular season, but look for them to show the Royals that they're capable of scoring 6 to 10 runs in an inning. I don't know if it will happen this game, but with my MLB pick, I'm banking on the momentum that they carry into this game.
MLB Pick: Houston Astros +127 at The Greek