Tag Archives: MLB Playoffs

2017 Major League Baseball Playoff Projections

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American League

1. Boston Red Sox

2. Cleveland Indians

3. Texas Rangers

4. New York Yankees

5. Toronto Blue Jays

American League Wild Card Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees

Unlike when the Yankees made the Wild Card Game in 2015, there is a different buzz around this team now.

American League Divisional Series

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (Red Sox wins series 3-2)

This is only the fourth time that the Yankees and Red Sox will meet in the postseason, and like the previous three, this one will be worth the price of admission.

Texas Rangers vs. Cleveland Indians (Indians win series 3-1)

The Rangers have been one of the best teams in this era, but they’ve simply been unable to get over the hump.

American League Championship Series

Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox (Red Sox win series 4-2)

In a rematch from last year’s divisional round, the Red Sox will be able to reverse the tide and get back to the Fall Classic.

National League

1.Chicago Cubs

2. Washington Nationals

3. San Francisco Giants

4. New York Mets

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

National League Wild Card Game: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets

There’s no love lost between the Dodgers and Mets which should make for a very interesting and intense contest.

National League Divisional Series

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs (Cubs win series 3-1)

The Cubs have exercised their demons from the past and the Mets won’t be able to stop them.

San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals (Giants win series 3-2)

As talented as the Nationals are, they still can’t get over the hump in the playoffs.

National League Championship Series San Francisco Giants (Cubs win series 4-2)

Just like last year in the playoffs, the superiority of the Cubs will take over and allow them to get past the Giants.

2017 World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago Cubs (Cubs win 4-3)

In the Theo Epstein Classic, his new team in the Cubs will get the best of his old team.

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What To Watch For In The 2016 NLCS

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One way of the other, there will be a long World Series drought that will be coming to an end once the National League Championship Series concludes.

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What To Watch For In The 2016 ALCS

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Things are setting up to be an interesting American League Championship Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.

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Take That!!!!!!!!

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Last year’s American League Divisional Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers was an intense playoff series. After the Blue Jays dropped the first two games of the series at home, they would win the next two games on the road to force a decisive fifth game in Toronto. The game was an intense contest that would ultimately be decided in the bottom of the seventh inning when Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus committed three errors. This would open the door for a four-run inning for the Blue Jays which was capped off when outfielder Jose Bautista launched a three-run homer that brought the folks at the Rogers Centre to their feet. But Bautista’s home run would also bring the Rangers to their feet as they were offended by his initial gesture after hitting the homer.

Before proceeding around the bases, Bautista would stare at the Rangers dugout and then slam his bat down in their direction. This would see both benches clear before cooler heads prevailed. The Blue Jays would go on to win the game, and the series, but Bautista’s gesture would be something that was on the minds of the Rangers heading into 2016.

The Jays and Rangers each entered the 2016 Major League Baseball season as playoff contenders which put more importance on their meetings. After the Blue Jays took three out of four games from the Rangers in Toronto in early May, these two clubs would meet later on that month, but in Arlington.

There was peace between both teams until the eighth inning when of the series finale when Bautista was hit by a pitch from Rangers relief pitcher Matt Bush which was celebrated by the fans in Arlington. Later on in the inning, Bautista found himself trying break up a double play a second place. And when Bautista arrived at second base, he encountered Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor.

Odor let his fist do the talking as he still had last October on his mind. And although that Bautista wasn’t ready to throw down with Odor, this led to a bench-clearing altercation between both clubs.

In Texas, Odor was hailed a hero as fans adored him and a restaurant there even offered him free barbecue for life after he delivered some chin music to Bautista. But Major League Baseball wasn’t thrilled with Odor showing off his boxing skills as they suspended him for eight games. Odor would appeal and his suspension was reduced to seven games, but the Jays wouldn’t get another crack at the Rangers in the regular season.

Coming down the stretch of the regular season, the Rangers separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the American League West as they were seeking their second consecutive division title. Not only did the Rangers win the A.L. West, but they also beat out the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians for the best record on the Junior Circuit which meant home-field advantage in the playoffs.

The Blue Jays on the other hand found themselves in a grueling battle with the Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League East. But coming down the stretch it was the Red Sox who were able to distance themselves from the pack to win the division which left Toronto scrapping for a wild card berth.

In the season’s final weekend, the Blue Jays would secure a wild card berth and they were set to host the Orioles in the American League’s Wild Card Game. And just like the O’s and Jays did all year long, they would engage in an grueling battle that came down to the very end. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion would launch a three-run home run off of Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to send Toronto to the American League Division Series. And the team that would be waiting for the Jays in the ALDS, would be the Rangers.

Most people expected another epic five-game showdown between these two clubs, but it was the Blue Jays that set the tone in Game One as they chased Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels in a 10-1 throttling of Texas. After the Blue Jays win, they had taken home-field advantage away from the Rangers, and in the process had won three consecutive road playoff games against them. But Toronto wasn’t satisfied as they beat the Rangers 5-3 in Game 2 which meant that they were headed home just needing to secure one win in order to advance to the American League Championship Series for a second consecutive year.

The Blue Jays headed into bottom of the first inning trailing 1-0, but they would quickly respond as Encarnacion hit a two-run homer, and catcher Russell Martin followed it up as he hit a solo blast. The Jays would build a 5-2 lead before the Rangers would mount a comeback which was led by Odor.

Odor hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to cut the Texas deficit to one run as he didn’t have a problem playing the role of the villain in front of nearly 50,000 screaming fans in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. The Rangers would then take the lead in the sixth inning after a double by first baseman Mitch Moreland plated a pair of runs. But the Blue Jays would rally in the bottom of the frame when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki scored on a passed ball by catcher Jonathan Lucroy.  And just like the Wild Card Game against Baltimore, the Jays once again found themselves heading to extra innings in a game that would send them to the next round if they won.

Josh Donaldson

The game and the series would be decided in the bottom of the tenth when a 6-4-3 double play couldn’t be executed by the Rangers. Andrus’ feed to Odor who was covering second base was off which led to Odor making a bad throw to first base. Moreland couldn’t make the catch at first base as the ball got away from him which resulted in Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson scoring from second base to end the series.

Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor

It was poetic justice for the Blue Jays as their victory was the result of the two players in Odor and Andrus that were at the center of the fight this past summer had to eat crow. And although that the Jays threw hands with the Rangers, they got their revenge in the postseason as they ended Texas’ postseason for the second consecutive year in a row.

The Rangers-Blue Jays rivalry doesn’t have the juice around Major League Baseball as those of the Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals, or the Yankees-Red Sox, but over the last two years these two clubs have met when all of the chips have been pushed to the middle of the table.

Bautista might not have been willing to get it on with Odor that afternoon, but his teammates had his back this October as the Rangers pitching staff never had an answer for Encarnacion who batted .417, or the Toronto bullpen that shut down their lineup which had been one of the best in baseball.

Toronto has now won six consecutive playoff games against the Rangers, and as they are prepping to face the Indians in the American League Championship Series, the Rangers are once again pondering what could have been as they won’t pick up the baseballs again to February when the Cactus League rolls around. And as Bautista will still be looked at as a villain in North Texas, he won’t have a problem wearing the black hat if it leads to a World Series Title.

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2015 MLB Playoffs Projections

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American League

1. Los Angeles Angels

2. Detroit Tigers

3. Toronto Blue Jays

4. Seattle Mariners

5. Cleveland Indians

American League Wild Card Game

Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners

The Mariners missed the postseason by one game last year and they won’t be denied in 2015.

American League Divisional Series

Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels (Angels win series 3-2)

This will be a tight series throughout as two American League West rivals slug it out.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers (Blue Jays win series 3-2)

The Detroit Tigers will have the advantage in this series with starting pitching, but their bullpen will once again be their demise.

American League Championship Series

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels (Angels win series 4-2)

The American League Championship Series stage will simply be too big for the Toronto Blue Jays to deal with as the Los Angeles Angels advance to their first World Series appearance since winning the Fall Classic in 2002.

National League

1. Washington Nationals

2. St. Louis Cardinals

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

4. Miami Marlins

5. San Francisco Giants 

National League Wild Card Game

San Francisco Giants vs. Miami Marlins

Each time that the Miami Marlins have made the Major League Baseball Playoffs, they have met the San Francisco Giants. And each time that the Marlins have met the Giants, it has been Miami that has won. That trend will continue in 2015 as the Marlins are young and hungry.

National League Divisional Series

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals (Nationals win series 3-1)

Each time that the Miami Marlins have made the playoffs it has resulted in a World Series Championship. But this time around the Marlins will run into a Washington Nationals team that is looking to put postseason disappointments behind them.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Cardinals win series 3-1)

The Los Angeles Dodgers will still be unable to solve the postseason riddle that is the St. Louis Cardinals which could cost Dodgers manager Don Mattingly his job.

National League Championship Series

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals (Cardinals win series 4-2)

Just like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Washington Nationals will still be unable to figure out the St. Louis Cardinals in October.

2015 World Series

Los Angeles Angels vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Cardinals win series 4-1)

The St. Louis Cardinals won the 2011 World Series as first baseman Albert Pujols and third baseman David Freese had a big hand in it. Now Freese and Pujols are members of the Los Angeles Angels, but these current Cardinals have re-tooled and they will win their 12th World Series Championship in franchise history.

 

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Parity Is The King Of MLB

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http://www.sports-logos-screensavers.com/user/MLB_Logo.jpgMajor League Baseball has been looking for excitement and they are getting it. In 1994, the wild card was introduced as MLB went to a three-division format in both the National and American Leagues. In 2012, MLB dipped into the well once again as they added a second wild card team which resulted in a one-game, winner-take-all, play-in game. In just three years the Wild Card Game has produced tremendous fandom in MLB. The wild card coupled with the luxury tax and revenue sharing has produced parity in Major League Baseball which has been great for the game. The extra playoff spots have also added more excitement down the stretch in the regular season as more teams have a legitimate shot at the postseason where in years past they would have just been playing out the schedule. The wild cards also put more emphasis on teams striving to win their division in order to avoid playing in the one-game playoff.

Since 2005 only the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Miami Marlins have not qualified for the postseason. This week the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles are set to square off in the American League Championship Series. The Royals have not reached the World Series since 1985 while the O’s haven’t been to the Fall Classic since 1983 which means that the drought for one of these clubs as far as not winning the AL Pennant will come to an end real soon.

Revenue sharing and the luxury tax have been great in MLB as they have virtually eliminated dynasties from the sport. Gone are the days of teams such as the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics winning three consecutive World Series Titles which is what MLB commissioner Bud Selig was hoping for when these changes were implemented. Major League Baseball has not seen a World Series Champion repeat since the Yanks in 2000 and the closest thing to that in recent history has been the San Francisco Giants who won the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2012. Of the 10 teams that made the playoffs this year, it will be tough for the majority of them to make it back to October baseball in 2015 which continues to produce intrigue in the game.

The Orioles are flying high right now, but they must decide if they are going to re-sign shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz this winter. It will be a tough decision for Orioles general manager Dan Duquette due to the fact that the contracts of outfielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters will be coming up soon as well. The Orioles team payroll of $108 million this season was 15th overall in MLB, but will Duquette go crazy in spending?

The Detroit Tigers were just eliminated from the postseason by the Orioles yesterday and they have been creative in maneuvering through the swamp that is big contracts. Last off-season Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder is due to still earn $144 million on his current deal as his contract is set to expire in 2021 and the Tigers are only on the hook to pay $30 million of it while Kinsler’s contract runs through 2018 and he is only owed $53 million. By trading Fielder, the Tigers were able to develop some payroll flexibility that will come into play this winter as they are hopeful to retain the services of starting pitcher Max Scherzer who is expected to get a big payday. The Tigers and Dombrowski will focus on bringing back Scherzer this winter, but they must also think about starting pitcher David Price who is set to become a free agent in 2016.

The A’s backed into the playoffs and in the process their general manager Billy Beane gave up one his best players in outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to acquire starting pitcher Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox. Lester was only a rental for the A’s as he is a free agent and his price tag this winter will be too much for Beane to afford in the small market of Oakland.

After a 20-year postseason drought, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made the playoffs in the last two years. Catcher Russell Wilson was a big part of that for the Pirates, but he is a free agent and with a lack of quality back stops on the market in MLB he will receive plenty of attention which will make it tough for Pittsburgh to maintain his services.

Most Major League Baseball teams tend to shy away from going over the luxury tax threshold, but that does not matter to the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers who will open the vault to obtain any player via trade or on the open market as they consistently pay the luxury tax.

But teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have been able to roll with the punches as far as parity. The Cards have one of the best minor league systems in baseball which is evident by their 11 trips to the postseason since 2000. Under general manager John Mozeliak, the Cards have a ton of interchangeable parts that they consistently replace in order to keep the machine going which is also evident by their two World Series Championship teams since 2006. The Giants have won two World Series Titles since 2010 and with the exception of catcher Buster Posey, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, along with starting pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner, they have done with a different cast of characters for each title under general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy.

Over 20 MLB clubs are sitting at home watching the remainder of the postseason and by the end of the month only one team will be left standing. But for those teams that didn’t make the postseason this year, they know that everything is not lost as at least a few of them will be able to take that next step to the postseason in 2015.

Sources: Baseball-reference.com, Sportrac.com

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