By Seth McCaskill
Wild Card Game: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
The Wild Card game has become one of the most interesting parts of the MLB playoffs in recent years, as anything can happen regardless of regular-season record. The Yankees may seem like the favorite heading into this game, but with Ervin Santana on the mound, the Twins have just as much of a chance. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez lead the Yankees’ quick-strike offense, but the Twins cannot be counted out, as they have been able to find different ways to win over the past month.
ALDS 1: No. 1 Cleveland Indians vs. Wild Card winner
The Indians have opened the playoffs tied with Los Angeles as favorites to win the World Series, and for good reason. They did not cool off much after their AL record 22-game winning streak, and look as talented, if not more, as the team that came very close to ending the Cubs’ fairytale last postseason. With Corey Kluber and Francisco Lindor leading them, the Indians should be a force to be reckoned with all postseason.
ALDS 2: No. 2 Houston Astros vs. No. 3 Boston Red Sox
It seems the Astros have finally arrived, as their young core has led them to their best season since their World Series run in 2005. That team included two Hall-of-Famers in Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, and there is certainly some similar talent on this roster in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are led by their pitching, as they possibly have the best starter and reliever in the AL in Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. On an interesting note, this is the first time the Sox have won back-to-back division titles in 45 years, which is unusual to think about.
Wild Card Game: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
The lesser of the members of the three-headed monster that is the NL West, the Rockies and Diamondbacks are still not too shabby themselves. They have both enjoyed breakout seasons and are hoping to make some noise in the playoffs. A resurgent Zack Greinke and power-hitting monster J.D. Martinez have led the Diamondbacks, and NL batting title champ Charlie Blackmon has carried the weight for the Rockies. Although both teams look inferior to the rest of the pack on paper, they should not be overlooked.
NLDS 1: No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Wild Card winner
The Dodgers have had an unbelievable year but also have a tendency to falter in the postseason. It seems like they have consistently been in it for the past 10 years or so but can never make a deep run. This year could be different, as they are clearly the best all-around team in the playoffs, and feature Yu Darvish as their third starter. Cody Bellinger has set the Dodgers’ rookie home run record, and Yasiel Puig has also enjoyed a resurgent season. This year’s team should have the best chance to win a World Series of any in recent memory.
NLDS 2: No. 2 Washington Nationals vs. No. 3 Chicago Cubs
Considering what the Nationals were able to do without Bryce Harper, they should be a scary team with him. As with most of the teams in the playoffs, they boast a Cy Young caliber pitcher in Max Scherzer, while Steven Strasburg is also in the upper echelon. The Cubs have not been nearly as good as they were last year, but they still have basically the same team that won a World Series last season. They have also added pieces such as Jose Quintana and have been much improved since the break. This is a team that can make some serious noise if they can catch fire at the right time.