The regular season is over, the playoff teams have weeded themselves out of the muck of ordinary citizens into the upper echelon of the MLB. They now only wait to be crushed by the outside forces of the playoffs and face either the misery of loss or the ecstasy of a championship. In the next few weeks teams and fans will face every emotion and who better to prepare your fragile soul for the journey than the films of renowned director/baseball fan, Werner Herzog?
Toronto Blue Jays vs Texas Rangers
The Blue Jays didn’t exactly wander into town and claim they were kidnapped, but this is the first time they’ve been in the postseason in a very long time. And while the Rangers have been popping into the post-season with greater regularity, the injury bug has decimated the team and made a group of surprise starters into possible contenders. How will they integrate into the high stakes world of the playoffs?
The Blue Jays stocked up on all available weapons in order to make an instant rush for the World Series, but the Rangers have managed to stick around all dang season and even did a late steal of the American League West from the fan-favorite Houston Astros. Maybe the real Rangers team is pretending to be Kasper Hauser in order to gain an advantage? That’s the kind of twist we should expect.
Blue Jays in 5
Houston Astros vs Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals were the 2014 American League champions and spent all of this season looking like they hadn’t lost a step. Cruising to a 95-67 record, maintaining most of their lineup from last year and grabbing Johnny Cueto at the trade deadline to be a deadly top of the rotation pitcher. And the Houston Astros, who spent the end of the summer/beginning of fall struggling mightily, losing their divisional advantage and clinging onto the Wild Card by a thread. They did, however, embarrass the Yankees in the Wild Card game. Maybe they’ve righted the ship?
That said, the Astros have to be careful not to slip into Timothy Treadwell territory and get too comfortable around the Royals, because they’re the big old nasty, mean bear of the American League right now. Houston should tread accordingly.
Kansas City in a sweep
New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers
The Mets were one of the best feel-good stories of the season. They weren’t supposed to be this good, the wins were supposed to tail off, the injuries were supposed to catch up with them and the trade deadline wasn’t supposed to be fruitful in the reward of Yoenis Cespedes. But all of that happened, improbably, the Mets scorched the NL East (helped in part by the Washington Nationals imploding, but even still..) and reached 90 wins. The Los Angeles Dodgers however, are always supposed to be this good, with their bank rattling payroll, their pitching is so cruel it should be outlawed and they’re still sitting Yasiel Puig!
The Mets rise will tug at your heart and you will want them to get the ship up the mountain, all the while the Dodgers are the opera in the amazon. They have the funds to get there and the clear determination to get far into the playoffs every season. Can the Mets will themselves over the precipice? Or will the Dodgers sit there like Brian Fitzgerald, a mad gleam in their eye, knowing they’ve already climbed over it?
In a squeaker, the Mets get by in 5
Chicago Cubs Vs. Saint Louis Cardinals
The Chicago Cubs ran up 97 wins this year behind a sweeping youth movement lead by Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, yet barely squeaked into the Wild Card because of the insanely tough NL Central division. They’re the upstarts by a long shot, even though they have pitching favorites in Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, but Joe Maddon is leading the rebellion against the oppressive system in which the Cubs reside.
That system? The Saint Louis Cardinals. Say what you will about the preening, smug nature of their fans, the Cardinals are stacked and have ruled the division for a long time. They’re comfortable in the post-season and are still expecting to get catcher Yadier Molina back, which should add comfort to their already pretty pitching staff. But just maybe, if the Cubs can seem to overpower the system that is holding them back, they can take root in their own future.
It’s a toss up, but I’m going Cubs in 4