2015 Wild Card
Astros 6 Yankees 1
The Yankees have a big problem as Houston comes to Yankee Stadium for the American League Wild Card Game. The Astros have ace Dallas Keuchel on the mound, the likely winner of the Cy Young in the American League. Keuchel is the AL’s only 20 game winner and left handed. In two starts against the Bronx Bombers, Keuchel was masterful against the Yankees in 2015, winning two starts and allowing no runs in 16 innings, including a 4-0 shutout win in the Bronx in June. The Yankees have struggled against Lefties all season, especially since they lost Mark Teixeira on August 18th. The Yankees played poorly down the stretch and likely would have failed to miss the playoffs if the season lasted another week. In addition Masahiro Tanaka who is getting the start for New York is a big question mark after being troubled with a sore hamstring in September. Every angle comes out poorly for the Yankees who look tired and old while the Astros look young and fresh. Maybe they will get an edge if it’s a tie game late, but right now I don’t think the Yankees can do that. Scoring one run against Keuchel could be a tall order, and unless the Astros bullpen falters this game could be over quickly.
Pirates 2 Cubs 1 (11)
Just how good was the National League Central Division this year? The tree best teams in all of baseball all reside within. Two of those teams the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs will play Wednesday for the right to move on and face the division winning St. Louis Cardinals. In the end three games separated the three teams, with the Cardinals winning an even 100 games, while the Pirates won 98 and the Cubs 97. The Pirates have the advantage by playing the game at PNC Park, but to win they must find a way to beat Jake Arrieta, who has a sub-microscopic ERA of 0.41 since August 1st. The Pirates have their own ace pitching with Gerrit Cole taking the ball. Cole had his own solid year, winning 19 games with an ERA of 2.60. If Pittsburgh is to have a chance to win this game, Gerrit Cole must match Jake Arrieta zero for zero. Cole went 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts against Chicago during the regular season, while Arrieta tossed a one hitter in a start against the Pirates ten days ago in Wrigley Field. Runs will certainly be at a premium at PNC Park with two aces pitching well this game will be decided by the bullpen. That is where the Pirates have a considerably edge. This game will need more than nine innings and the Pirates will scratch out a run in the 11th.