“Post Season-Best Season in Baseball”
Bring on October…some random thoughts about the teams in the playoffs.
DODGERS….They can hit some, they surely get great pitching, but are they overwhelming favorite to get to the World Series? Not really. Clayton Kershaw is no longer Clayton Kershaw. His delivery has been altered to protect his oft-injured back, his velocity is down. The kid pitcher Walker Beuhler looks like a star in the making. The other young arm, Ross Stripling had a good first half, but not so after coming off the DL. There is Kenley Jansen, but you wonder if they have the right arms to get to Kenley Jansen? They need good starts from Hyun Jin-Riu and the wildcard in their whole postseason might be how many times they use, and how they use Kenta Maeda. Waiting in the wings will be Rich Hill and Alex Wood. The can hit, and what is scary, anybody in the lineup can get hot, pop home runs, and drive them to victory.
MILWAUKEE…What a building job, capped off by the acquisition of Christian Yelich in that Miami Marlines firesale deal. They have bats everywhere around Yelich, from Lorenzo Cain, to Jesus Aguilar, to Taylor Shaw, to the aging Ryan Braun. The big quesiton, aside from 15-game winner Jhoulys Chacin’s marvelous season, are there any other starters who you trust? Or maybe it doesn’t matter, because the bats will take care of the rest.
ROCKIES….Bud Black’s clubhouse is made up of firebrand personalities, and thanks to Nolan Arenado, Charley Blackmon, Trevor Story, this team has bashed its way into postseason. Kyle Freeland has become a Cy Young Award starter, but you’d feel more comfortable if stud prospect Jon Gray were more trustworthy late in the season. The bullpen is deep and superb-it should be, they paid lots of money for them.
ATLANTA…Freddie Freeman and the fellows got there, posteaseaon, alot faster than anyone thought. Nick Markakis became an unsung hero in the season, and Ronald Acuna leads a hit parade of young bats. But they don’t have alot of experienced arms aside from Julio Teheran, so the post season might be short.
RED SOX…A bunch of mashers, home run hitters everywhere, big hits from lots of people, this record setting 107-win season has been special. And they have enough pitching even with issues with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz. But Craig Kimbrel has 42-saves and dominates. Will not be easy to win at Fenway, not easy to get Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, Andrew Benetendi and those mad bombers out either. They’ll be knocking balls off the Green Monster.
YANKEES…1-quality starting pitcher in Luis Severino, but thin after that in the rotation. Probably off set by the cadre of guys out of the bullpen, and then there are the hitters. Hitters everywhere, from Giancarlo Stanton to Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and more. Only glitch might be on defense, especially struggling catcher Gary Sanchez, his errors and passed balls. But then again, bats, lots of bats.
HOUSTON…They were dinged up lots this season, but they are healthy now, hitting, and striking out people. Name a star, Correa, Altuve, Springer, and they have role players to compliment all that. And that rotation, like they needed additional people to support Justin Verlander-Dallas Keuchel and Charley Morton, but Garret Cole is as good as anyone. Losing Charley Morton is a blow to the back end of the rotation, but Lance McCullers is back healthy. Chance to repeat, for sure. Lost in all the conversation are the seasons Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman have had.
INDIANS…Lots of things to like in the Francisco Lindor-Jose Ramirez-Edwin Encarnarcion lineup. Unsung hero, the healthy season of Michael Brantley in the outfield. The key will be the quality of starts they would get from Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, and the health of Trevor Bauer and Andrew Miller. Still very good, though not getting much recognition deep in October.
CUBS…Heartbreaking end to the season, but they are surely not the same team as the last couple of years. The bullpen got nicked up, Kris Bryant was hurt, a substandard year by a few others. Thought the acquistion of Cole Hamels would push them deep into October, but the loss of Brandon Morrow was a real setback.
A’s….Fun to wath this group of ‘Bash Brothers’, Krhis Davis and company. Stephen Piscotty was a great acqusition. Jed Lowrie was rock solid. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson grew up on the job and the 97-win season was not a fluke. But I never felt they had enough arms, and then deciding to do a ‘bullpen day’ in the wildcard game with the Yankees blew my mind. Disturbing too, no one came to A’s games despite the special team and season Billy Beane put together. They had crowds of 16,000 the final week of the season, in the heat of a pennant race.
Bring it on.