Playoff baseball is here! While I’d much rather be stressed out waiting for the Cleveland Indians to play, a part of me always enjoys being able to relax and watch the MLB postseason. To start things off we have the American League Wild Card featuring the Houston Astros, led by Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel, and the New York Yankees with Masahiro Tanaka.
Keuchel, while obviously the better starter among the two pitchers, is going on only three days’ rest. With the Astros playoff hopes not solidified until the final day of the regular season, Houston called upon Keuchel to pitch on October 2 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Astros offense was lead by the trio of Jose Altuve, George Springer, and rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, who were worth a combined 11.3 WAR over the course of 2015.
This will be the first playoff appearance for the Astros since 2005 when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
On the Yankees side of the Wild Card, this is their first playoff appearance since they were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the 2013 ALCS. The usual combination of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Texeira anchored the Yankee offense throughout 2015, with the two of them hitting a combined 64 home runs.
If Tanaka can hold a lead into the eighth inning, the Yankees should be in good position with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller handling the back-end of New York’s stellar bullpen. If not, the Yankees reportedly have Luis Severino and Ivan Nova "on standby," should the Yankees starter struggle early.
- Francisco Lindor’s biggest hurdle for the Rookie of the Year is Carlos Correa, who is playing in the game today. While postseason play should not come into account when it comes to regular season awards, there is no hiding the fact that a strong postseason from Correa could sway a BBWAA vote or two.
- Third baseman Luis Valbuena spent three years with the Cleveland Indians from 2009 to 2011. He hit 13 home runs during his time in Cleveland, but he somehow hit 25 home runs for the Astros this season alone. If there is any indication this was a magical year for the ‘Stros, it’s this.
- Didi Gregarious, who lead the Yankees with 3.1 WAR in 2015, was part of the three-team trade that landed Trevor Bauer on the Indians prior to the 2013 season.
- Had the Tribe went on an insane run to end 2015, they would be playing in this game instead of the Astros.