Scout’s Eye: Previewing The MLB Playoffs

Time for my predictions for the 2017 baseball playoffs. 
There is no crystal ball and I will disavow any knowledge of said predictions if in fact any or all turn out to be wrong. Confident that my disclaimer absolves me of any wrong predictions, I will start with the National league. 
Arizona vs Colorado (NL WC)
Both are playing well and Rockies’ starter Tyler Anderson is hot as he’s posted an era of 1.19 with 18 strikeouts and only 3 walks over 22 innings in September. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are a powerhouse combination, but with Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and J.D. Martinez, who was acquired in August, (16 home runs in September) the D’Backs can match Colorado’s firepower. Add right hander and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke and left hander Robbie Ray to the mix with a total of 432 strikeouts between them, not to mention a solid bullpen of Fernando Rodney and Archie Bradley, then Arizona will send the Rockies to the ski slopes in October.

Chicago Cubs vs Washington (NLDS)

I see the Cubs still suffering from the hangover of last year’s miracle. 108 years? 108 stitches on a baseball? Extra innings with a rain delay? God had plans, but not this year. Washington has a formidable starting rotation in righty Max Scherzer, righty Stephen Strasburg and lefty Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs’ starters never missed a turn in their rotation last season, not so this season. Time to start a new losing streak in the windy city. Only question is possible injury to Scherzer.

Arizona vs. LA Dodgers (NLDS)

Now comes the “no brainer” as far as I can see. Ahh, you thought the Dodgers are a lock? Au contraire my friend. Remember “Sweet” Lou Piniella and the 2001 Mariners winning 116 games in 2001, only to fall short in the ALCS to the Yankees? Well, guess what? Hollywood loves to root for the underdog and this movie does not have a happy ending for these Dodgers. LA got started on an incredible winning streak after the hapless uninspired Mets came to visit in June and made everyone in baseball think the old bums from Brooklyn were the ‘27 Yankees. The Diamondbacks were the ones who swept them in August and that sent them into a streak where they dropped an incredible 16 of 17 games. Arizona will be on a roll in the post season and the Dodgers will be licking their wounds.

Arizona vs Washington (NLCS)

I’m not done yet. I also see the D’Backs upsetting Washington. I feel there is still something in that Nationals’ clubhouse that is not right. Just like the rest of the Capital, it is somewhat dysfunctional. Not as bad as our government and bombastic leader, but disjointed just the same. Welcome to the 2017 World Series, cactus lovers. Just don’t come dressed in those softball uniforms.

Minnesota vs NY Yankees (AL WC)

In the American League, the Yankees will be almost impossible to beat in Yankee Stadium. A Twins’ win is just not going to happen. The “baby bombers” will get their first taste of the post season and move on to face the Indians who will smack them in the nose with a newspaper (do they still sell newspapers anymore?) like dog owners, when they are training a puppy to stop chewing on the couch. These young pups though will grow up to be big dogs soon. Their time will come, just not this year.

Boston vs Houston (ALDS)

Funny how these two teams finished the season playing each other in a four game series, only to have to face off against each other in the ALDS. The match up here is a nightmare for both clubs as they try to advance to the ALCS. Houston dominated the first half of the season and then coasted into the post season with a strong, solid team. The boys from “Beantown” had a little tougher road as they had to fight to overtake the upstart Yankees and only punched their ticket on the penultimate day of the regular season. Starters Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, David Price and Rick Porcello, plus Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen sounds like it could be too much for the Astros, but they didn’t look scared or confused this past weekend. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Josh Reddick, Alex Bregman and George Springer key the offense, while Houston’s rotation of Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton are hungry for a ring and will be too much for the Bosox.

Houston vs Cleveland (ALCS) 

This should be an entertaining series. The match up of the Indians’ pitching staff featuring former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, along with Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer plus Andrew Miller and a solid bullpen going head-to-head with that potent Astros’ lineup. Sorry but “Houston we have a problem.” Cleveland returns to the fall classic to take care of some unfinished business. 
Arizona vs Cleveland (2017 WS)
The Indians were so close to ending their World Series losing streak (that has now stretched to 69 years) last year with only half of their staff available against the Cubs. They last won it all in 1948, the year I was born in October and just like the president, I hate being associated with a loser. Pitching always wins in a short series and Cleveland has it. The wild card Diamondbacks will go home with losers rings. First the Cavaliers, now the Indians. Could the Browns be next? Yea right!  Enjoy another well earned ring Terry Francona.
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