If you are like me, you had a hard time watching and enjoying the postseason the last two years. That was because the Reds were painfully eliminated early in both seasons. This year, we obviously don’t have to worry about that. Our time of mourning for the 2014 season has come and gone. For those who are fans of baseball outside of the Reds, we can just sit back and enjoy this years postseason. Here is a quick preview of this years MLB Postseason, and predictions from the Redleg Nation crew.
AL Wild Card Game:Ã‚Â A’sÃ‚Â atÃ‚Â Royals
The first game of the 2014 MLB postseason should be a great one. You have the Royals making their first trip to the postseason since 1985! Just think about that, that is nearly double the wait that the Reds had between postseason appearances in 1995 and 2010. On the other hand, you have the successful small-market A’s. They were pretty much the consensus best team in baseball in the first half, but fell apart in the second half, and just barely secured the second wild card spot.
The pitching matchup in the game is terrific: John Lester (2.46 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 6.1 WAR) vs James Sheilds (3.21 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 3.7 WAR). These are the two pitchers that both the A’s and Royals had to sell their souls to get via trade.
But there are truly only two words that matter in this game: ADAM. DUNN. Our old pal, Big Donkey, will be playing in his first postseason game after playing in 2,001 career games. Dunn already said he will likely retire after the season, so this is it for him. Chad DotsonÃ‚Â wrote a great piece about Dunn here on RN last week, and how under-appreciated he was in Cincinnati.
NL Wild Card Game: Giants at Pirates
Edinson Volquez will be pitching in an elimination postseason game. Yes, you read that right. As you see below, none of us here at RN believe that Volquez and his 4.15 FIP will be able to get past Madison Bumgarner and the Giants.
I’m not trying to make anyone close their browser and bash their computer, but this a matchup of the two teams who eliminated the Reds the last two seasons. Yeah, that’s not cool. Can we root against both teams?
ALDS: Tigers vs Orioles
The Orioles are just one of those teams who defies logic. Their starting pitching isn’t great. Their lineup isn’t full of superstars. Yet, here they are hosting a division series.
It is hard to feel like a team who won 90 games underachieved, but the Tigers are just that. Still, it is going to be very difficult for the Orioles to get past Max Scherzer, David Price, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez.
ALDS: A’s/Royals vs Angels
Mike Trout will finally get a chance to play in a postseason. Mike Trout will FINALLY get a chance to play in the postseason!Ã‚Â If for some reason you have lived under a rock for the last three years, Mike Trout has accumulated a 28.4 WAR since 2012 (the next closest in the MLB since 2012 is Andrew McCutchen at 21.8).
The Angels starting pitching rotation is a bit shaky for a team with the best record in baseball in 2014, but Mike Trout. Mike Trout. Mike Trout.
NLDS: Cardinals vs Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw vs Adam Wainwright in Game 1 on Friday is exactly what postseason baseball is all about. This series is a rematch of the terrific 2013 NLCS, which the Cardinals won in 6 games. It is a bit of a shame that this series is only a 5-game series, but this is probably the one I am most excited about. And don’t worry Nation, none of our writers are picking that team from St. Louis.
NLDS: Giants/Pirates vs Nationals
On June 1st, the Nationals were 27-28, and 3.5 games back in the NL East. The Nationals finished the season with the best record in the NL (96-66), and won the NL East by 17 (!) games. The Nationals pitching rotation is absolutely stacked: Strasburg (2.94 FIP), Zimmerman (2.68 FIP), Gonzalez (3.03 FIP), Fister (3.93 FIP), and Roark (3.47 FIP). The Nationals will a have a tough decision on who to leave out of the rotation. The Nats will be very tough in the postseason.