The American League and National League one game Wild Card games are complete which means the divisional round is here! Last night, the Tampa Bay Rays handled the Oakland Athletics rather easily winning 5-1. However; the spotlight was on the NL Wild Card game between the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. Milwaukee looked like it had this game all but wrapped up. Leading 3-1 going into the bottom of the 8th, and after Drew Pomeranz looked like a Cy Young pitcher, the unthinkable happened. Brewers reliever Josh Hader struggled to find the plate all inning. As a matter of fact, less than 50% of his pitches were strikes. But what happened next, was mayhem.
Trent Grisham thought this was going to be a routine single hit his way. That was until the ball hit the grass with just enough spin. With the bases loaded and a misplayed ball, that was all the Nationals needed to clear the bases and eventually win the game. But with the drama all done, we now have our 2019 MLB divisional round match-ups.
American League Divisional Round (All Times Eastern)
(3) Minnesota Twins vs (2) New York Yankees – Game one Thursday 2 7pm (MLBN)
(4) Tampa Bay Rays vs (1) Houston Astros – Game one Friday @ 2pm (FS1)
National League Divisional Round (All Times Eastern)
(3) St. Louis Cardinals vs (2) Atlanta Braves – Game one Thursday @ 5pm (TBS)
(4) Washington Nationals vs (1) Los Angeles Dodgers – Game one Thursday @ 8:30pm (TBS)
Since I’ve done SO well with these all season, why not continue it? The young, up-start Twins against the veteran lead New York Yankees. The Twins just can’t seem to get over the Yankees in postseason play. ’03, ’04 ’09, ’10, and ’17 are the most recent match-ups in the postseason with the Yankees victorious in all of those series. Although, 2017 really wasn’t a series because it was the Wild Card game, but still was a postseason match-up. As much as I’d love to see the Twins pull this one out, it’s hard to argue against history. Yankees have home field and history on their side. Yankees in 4.
Tampa Bay actually has a winning record against the Astros this year going 4-3. Houston does have home field throughout the entire playoffs but the Rays don’t seem to care about playing on the road. Kevin Cash, who should be manager of the year, will certainly have his team ready to go. But I have to give the edge to Houston simply because of that pitching. Houston in 4.
St. Louis against Atlanta may be the most intriguing match-up and quite possibly the closest. St. Louis on the road against Atlanta as two classic teams clash. St. Louis won a division that had the Brewers and Cubs riding close behind all season while the Braves easily won the east. The Braves are under .500 in their last 10 (4-6) while the Cardinals are above .500 (6-4). However; the Cards have lost four of five coming in. But the Braves just got swept, I’ve got St. Louis in 5.
Finally, the Nationals against the Dodgers. The Nationals have a nack for choking in big games and were well on their way to do that the other night until a costly play in right field gave them the win. The Dodgers are destined to finally get over the hump and finally win in October at the end. Dodgers in 3.
Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)