Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets
I’m not going to start thinking this could be the year that one of the worst losing streaks in sports history will be over. But those Chicago Cubs looked pretty damn good against the St. Louis Cardinals. Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber have each hit over .500 and combined for 5 HR and 9 RBI this postseason. Dexter Fowler has been excellent in the leadoff spot and Anthony Rizzo hit a couple clutch home runs in the division series. Jake Arrieta wasn’t at his best, but in his one start against St. Louis he struck out nine and got the win. The rest of the Cubs rotation was shaky, but their bullpen did rather well at some big moments of the series. Chicago’s offense is carrying them right now, but they need Arrieta and Lester especially to set the tone for the staff.
Be careful what you wish for. That should be the motto for the 2015 New York Mets who have been scrutinized as afterthoughts in the National League. Not only did they do just enough to beat the Dodgers, but they did so by beating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in games 1 and 5 respectively. Curtis Granderson was on base constantly as the leadoff hitter and Daniel Murphy was the MVP on offense with his clutch hits throughout the division series. Yoenis Cespedes had a couple big home runs, but wasn’t as effective as Murphy. Jacob DeGrom won both of his starts and they happened to be against Kershaw and Greinke in games 1 and 5. Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard were solid in their starts and even Steven Matz had an effective outing in New York. If the Mets pull that off again, they’ll be hard to beat.
Mets in 6 games
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals
Aside from the insanity of the 7th inning in Game 5 against Texas, the Blue Jays made quite the comeback in that series. They were down 2-0 and yes they were expected to win at least one game in Texas, but the Rangers seemed to have folded long before Game 5 back in Toronto. The Blue Jays starting pitchers, Marco Estrada and R.A. Dickey played a huge part in getting them back in the series. They kept the Rangers bats quiet and aside from the usual boppers in the lineup, it was actually Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Colabello and Kevin Pillar who propelled the offense. David Price and Marcus Stroman are Toronto’s best starting pitchers and they need to be on point in the ALCS. Manager John Gibbons needs to do a better job of utilizing Price because his strategy nearly doomed them in the Division Series. If the rest of their lineup wakes up with Jose Bautista after his go-ahead three run home run in Game 5, then they could be playing further in October.
Kansas City ran into a team that was similar to their run last year. The Houston Astros had the Royals dead to rights in Game 4, but couldn’t get out of their own jam that they brought upon themselves. Errors by Houston and timely hits by Kansas City brought the series back to Kauffman Stadium for a series clinching celebration. With that early test, the Royals seem poised to easily get back to the World Series, but it isn’t shaping up to be against Toronto who has had some history this season with them. Yordano Ventura, Edison Volquez and Johnny Cueto form a solid trio in this series. They’ll have to be on their best game to keep the Blue Jays lineup in check. Kendrys Morales almost single handedly defeated the Astros with his . 263 AVG 3 HR 6 RBI stat line. Ben Zobrist and Alcides Escobar were excellent spark plugs that kept Kansas City in most of the division series. This series will help either team against the best team the National League has to offer.
Blue Jays in 7 games