The National League wildcard round between the D-Backs and the Rockies was a see-saw affair that featured thirty hits and nineteen runs combined. Arizona leapt out to a 6-0 lead in the third, only to have the Rockies plate four runs in the next inning to get back in the game. Arizona didn’t disappoint though, putting on an offensive show including four, count them, four triples, one of which was the first three-bagger ever by a relief pitcher in the history of MLB playoffs. In the end, the Diamondbacks advance to the NLDS to take on the Dodgers, who they have absolutely OWNED this year.
NLDS: Arizona D-Backs (93-69) vs. L.A. Dodgers (104-58):
At first glance, this looks like a David vs. Goliath matchup, with the Dodgers owning the best record in baseball, ace Clayton Kershaw and five consecutive NL West titles. Here’s the bad news for the number one overall seed. Arizona has absolutely zero fear of them. Arizona won the season series with L.A, 11-8, and did so in style, sweeping the last two series, both at home and in L.A. They also outscored the Dodgers by over twenty runs over the course of the season. Arizona’s offense, led by 1B Paul Goldschmidt’s 36 HRs, is unrelenting, and if they see any cracks in the Dodgers’ armor like they saw during L.A.’s 1-17 swoon toward the end of the season, they won’t hesitate to stomp all over the presumed favorites. Kershaw has yet to be as successful in the postseason as he is all year long, seemingly withering under the brightest lights, with his ERA ballooning over 4.5 and his win percentage barely over .333. The Dodgers will need him to be himself to win this series against the one team that they desperately wanted to avoid.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5, IF Kershaw wins game 1.
NLDS: Chicago Cubs (92-70) vs. Washington Nationals (97-65)
The Cubs were the feel-good story of the year last year as the shook of their curse and finally made it to the promised land, besting the Indians in seven games. The Cubs look similar to last year’s team, but they started slow this season and played a lot of catchup in the second half. The rotation is still solid, led by Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and the offense has been hot of late, generating the most runs in the majors since the All-Star break. The Nationals will counter with strong starting pitching of their own in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, who won’t be getting shut down with an innings count this year. It’s a good thing, too, as Strasburg is coming off his best season thus far and will give them their best chance to win. Bryce Harper leads an offense that will look to shake up Kyle Hendricks early in game one and make things difficult for Cubs skipper Joe Madden. I have a feeling that the Nationals are due for a breakout, and besting the champs is a great way to start.
Prediction: Nationals in 4
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.
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