Tampa Bay/Tyler Glasnow (6-1 /1.78) at Houston/Justin Verlander (21-6/2.58)
Minnesota Twins/Jose Berrios (14-8/3.58) at New York/James Paxton (15-6/3.82)
Let me preface this by saying I really like this Rays team. What they’ve done after trimming their payroll by 16 million in the off-season is impressive. Tampa has a dynamic young line up, some nice starters, and a great bullpen. That said, they have no chance in this series.
I’ll lay these two facts on you and you need not know anything else. 1. Astros starters lead baseball in strikeouts. 2. The Astros have struck out fewer times than any other club. They do everything right. Unlike a lot of teams, they don’t sell out for dingers. They do however hit the ball hard, take their walks, and run well. If they launch a few bombs along the way that’s fine.
Verlander and Garrett Cole both give up home runs, but they don’t walk anyone. In game three they hit you with Zack Greinke and then back to Verlander again if they haven’t already swept you away.
I’ll take Houston in a three game sweep.
All season the Twins and Yankees traded spots in a record setting home runs season. In the end the Twins won that battle 307 to 306. I can hardly argue that this series won’t be a battle of the long ball.
Game one will go a long way to tell us who’s going to win this series. Paxton struggled for a good chunk of the season, but really got it all together down the stretch. Of concern for New York however is that Big Maple left his final start of the year at Texas after just an inning with what was called nerve irritation. This Twins line up is brutal on left handed pitchers. There’s power up and down the order, and in Yankee stadium we all know how that can go.
No secrets about the Bombers either. Again…. 307 to 306… . Berrios is a good pitcher, but he’s not a great pitcher. That holds true especially on the road. Berrios gives up enough fly ball contact for us to see real peril for him tonight.
Of all the series, this one could be nuts scoring wise. The Yanks are finally able to field the roster they envisioned. That said we don’t know how healthy Edwin Encanarcion and Giancarlo Stanton really are. Both benches have been good this year too. In the end this series will come down to two great bullpens and which one does the better job.
I’ll take the Yankees in five, but I don’t feel that confident. This one could go either way.