As the 2016 MLB season comes to a close this Sunday, the second season begins as the postseason begins next week. As of this writing, every division has been clinched, and the only unknown pieces are who the four wild card teams will be playing in the wild card game. Right now, the American League wild cards are two teams that are very familiar with each other in the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles.
On the other hand, your National League Wild Card teams as of this writing are the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. However, the St. Louis Cardinals are breathing down the necks of the Mets and the Giants as they are only a game behind the Giants for the second wild-card spot.
Let us first look at the American League side as it is not as complex as the National League side could potentially be. My prediction for the AL Wild Card game is the two teams currently in the Wild Card picture in the Blue Jays and the Orioles. While the Tigers still have a chance being that they are only two games back, I don’t think they will make a push in the final week of the season. So assuming my prediction is correct, and it does so happen to be the Blue Jays and the Orioles in the AL Wild Card game, who do you start and who wins the game. The dilemma facing both managers is who do they start for this game.
It should be noted that whoever they start in this game won’t be available to pitch in the divisional series in the early parts. I don’t figure the Orioles will go with Tillman, Gallardo, or Gausman in the game because then they wouldn’t be able to use them in the early part of the ALDS. However, I could see Bundy, Jimenez, or Miley possible get the start. But the key piece that the Orioles have is Zach Britton who is having a remarkable year as the closer. On the other side, you have a Blue Jays team that has a very lethal offensive team.
This offense is led by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson to name a few. But it is interesting to see who they may have started the game. My prediction is Stroman, Estrada or Liriano will probably get the start. My prediction for this game and the one to move on to the playoffs is the Baltimore Orioles. They have the pitching, offense, and bullpen that can make a run.
Unfortunately, the National League Wild Card picture is a bit more complex. Where you pretty much have the Orioles and the Blue Jays. Right now, you have the Giants and the Mets in the Wild Card picture. But the Giants lost tonight and are only a half-game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. Before I get into the wild card itself, I would like to explain how insane it could be get getting for the Cardinals, Giants, and Mets.
Let’s say on October 2nd, the Mets win over the Phillies and thus being put into a three- way tie for the two wild-card spots. Here is what would happen for the Mets to make it to the playoffs, first they would play the St. Louis on October 3rd. Let’s say somehow they lose. They still have a chance at playing in the playoffs as they would need to beat San Fransico the next day. If those two things happen, then they would play St. Louis again on October 5th for the Wild Card game. I do feel that the Wild Card the Mets will be in it and will probably go up against the Cardinals.
I don’t think the Giants will make it because out of the three teams. They have the toughest schedule. If the Mets and Cardinals happen to be the two NL Wild Card teams, I think that the Mets will still get the win. I feel that the Mets just have a better offense than the Cardinals. It will be interesting to see who they pick for as the starting pitchers.
The issue facing the Mets is since a majority of their pitchers are injured, who will step up and pitch in the Wild Card game for them. I could see it being Seth Lugo or Colon. I don’t see it being Noah because if he is healthy enough, I could see the Mets holding him for Game 1 in Chicago.
Overall, my predictions for the Wild Card picture are that the Orioles and Mets will both come out victorious. The National League side is more compelling to watch as you have three teams vying for two spots. In the end, buckle up and enjoy the ride as we enter the final week of the regular season and the start of the Postseason when anything can happen.