Tag: AL Wild Card

MLB: AL Wild Card Preview; New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees: 8:10 P.M. 

Just like the NL, the AL Wild Card game features two new playoff teams who missed out last year. It is fair to say that both teams have exceeding expectations coming into the year. Both teams have a few young stars who broke out this year and helped lead their respective teams to this game. The winner of this game will play the top-seeded Cleveland Indians. The Yankees have dominated the Twins over the last several seasons, but again, anything can happen in one game!

Judge, Sanchez, Yankees Bullpen take charge 

The New York Yankees had mild expectations coming into the season, expected to be competitive and challenge for a playoff spot. New York got off to a hot start and never AL Wild Card Gamelooked back, ultimately holding a top spot in the AL the entire year. A big reason for this was the breakout of MVP candidate Aaron Judge. I don’t care what people say, no one saw this coming, not to this extent. Judge set a record for home runs by a rookie, and he also hits the ball as hard as anyone in the league. Another young star for the Yankees is Gary Sanchez, who has proven that last year was no fluke by following it up with a tremendous offensive performance this year. His defensive skills are often questioned, but it is something that should be able to be fixed. The Yankees biggest strength is probably their bullpen, with arms such as Chapman, Betances, Robertson, Green, Kahnle, and Warren. The depth of this bullpen makes it crucial for the opponent to score runs early in the game before having to face this bullpen. Getting the start will be Luis Severino, who took a big step this year and established himself as the ace of this staff. Severino posted 14 wins along with a 2.98 ERA. On paper, the Yankees will be favored in this matchup.

Dozier, Santana, Mauer lead the way 

AL Wild CardThe Minnesota Twins are back after losing 103 games a season ago, what a turnaround. This is truly a team no one saw coming this year, at least not this big of a turnaround. In the mix all year, after Cleveland went on their historic streak, Minnesota had no option but to set their sights on the wild card with the division out of reach. Sure enough, after a season of their own ups and downs, the Twins hung on to the second wild-card spot. The Twins are led by their leadoff man, veteran Brian Dozier. Dozier has been a consistent player with this team for years now, Dozier brings some pop in that leadoff role. Talking about veterans, how about Joe Mauer playing like it’s 2009. An overall solid year for him, hitting .305. The Twins have been given a spark by some of their younger players. Miguel Sano hit 28 home runs this year despite battling some injuries. Minnesota also has Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton who stepped up big time for the team this year holding down the outfield, and they are very exciting to watch. Moving to the mound, I’m still wondering what year it is because Ervin Santana also thinks that it is 2009. The veteran ace of the staff won 16 games and posted a 3.28 ERA, leading the way for the team. Santana will get the ball in this one game playoff.

The Pick….

Not many people are giving Minnesota a chance in this one, but I think that is because most people aren’t really familiar with this team. They’ll battle just like they’ve done all year. The Yankees will be favored in this game, and it is much deserved. It’ll be crucial for the Twins to scratch a few runs off Severino because the Yankee bullpen will be ready to go. I’m going to go with New York over Minnesota 4-3.  

Sports News: MLB Wild Card Race, NHL Signings & Danis Zaripov, Spit balls of the week!

It’s that time of the week, school is starting soon, NFL season is officially here, the MLB wild card race is heating and the NHL is now a month away. It is Spitballs of the week time! Catch up on the latest news surrounding the NHL and MLB. Some of my own takes and some stuff to watch out for in the coming months!

MLB: The AL Wild Card race is probably the more interesting of the two, the Yankees have now dropped six of their last 10, the Twins are one game out and the Indians are on a nine-game winning streak. There’s not much to look into here the Yankees are slowly losing grips of the Wild Card, Baltimore is only a game and half back and the Yankees continue to be inconsistent. Also, the Yankees face off against the Orioles two more times before the year ends and the Twins one more time(Watch OUT!). The Orioles are 8-2 in their last ten and face off against Toronto, Cleveland, Yankees, Toronto for the next upcoming series. The Twins have been able to hold their own and see some success in big moments, the Twins play Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Toronto in the next upcoming series. As for the Twins, they have an “easier” half of the schedule compared to the other wild card teams.

The NL, of course, the Nationals and Dodgers have control over their divisions, the Cubs will more than likely win the NL Central and as far as Wild Card goes the Diamondbacks and Rockies will be the two teams in those last two spots. The Rockies have been on/off lately but the Cardinals and Brewers do not scare me too much for the Rockies sake. The Diamondbacks are 9-1 in their last ten and play San Diego, Dodgers, and the Rockies in the upcoming series. The Brewers are 1.5 games back from the Rockies and after Washington, they face off against the Reds, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins, scheduling may favor Milwaukee, here do not sleep on them!

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Oh, Clayton Kershaw is back, after returning from the DL after a month, he shut down the Padres for 6 innings allowing no runs, 7 strikeouts and two hits. That’ll be fun come playoff time to face off against the Dodgers pitching rotation and bullpen. Nothing new Kershaw and the Dodgers just continue to dominate MLB teams and the league as a whole right now. The Dodgers have 92 wins with still a month of baseball to be played. 

Justin Verlander was sent to Houston recently, many thought Verlander was going to stay and Houston messed up by not going out to get a pitcher at the deadline. Well, those critics can be silenced now, as Houston now has a former Cy Young winner and a pitcher with 16 starts in the postseason and 380 in the regular season. Can’t hurt as the Astros were deemed for not making a move, acquiring Verlander is a big addition the Astros rotation.

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NHL: The KHL forward who was suspended from the KHL for doping is making his way over to the NHL now and a few teams have expressed interest in him. Danis Zaripov is a 36-year-old forward from the KHL, he’s played nine seasons in the KHL and has produced, 453 points and 199 goals. Two teams that have publicly expressed interest in Zaripov is Pittsburgh and the Rangers. It’s said that Malkin expressed interest in playing on the same line with Zaripov, a guy who just won the Russian most valuable player award will more than likely get another Russian forward to join him unless the Rangers offer Zaripov more money.

The Blue Jackets have locked up forward Alexander Wennberg for 6-years at $4.9 mil a year. The 22-year-old forward has shown major strides of progression in the Blue Jackets organization now, and anytime a player goes from 40 to 59 points in one season, it deserves a little looking into. Wennberg is a big, strong forward who will be a top three player on the Blue Jackets for years to come. The six years is absolutely crucial to Columbus because now he’s locked in and will be a huge drawing asset for other players looking to come to Columbus in the future.

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Thomas Vanek is back on another team for another season! The 33-year-old forward has signed a 1-year deal for $2 million with Vancouver. Vanek has played on six NHL teams and five different ones in the past four seasons. Vancouver will be Vanek’s seventh NHL club and sixth team in five seasons. Vanek scored 48 points and 16 goals with the Red Wings/Panthers last season. Vanek has struggled to stay healthy and remain consistent in line ups but at $2 million for a team like Vancouver will not hurt at all. Vanek can now play along with the Sedin brothers who may help resurge the talented goal scorers ability and get him some confidence back. Vanek is capable of being a 50-60 point player when he’s healthy, barring injuries and Vanek plays a full season, paired with the Sedin brothers would not hurt the once 40 goal scorers year.

Spitballs: Yankees, Twins take last two wild card spots, Dodgers win 115 games and probably the world series(I don’t care, they’re too good), Red Sox’s bunt again to annoy Yankee pitchers, Zaripov goes to Pittsburgh, Vanek scores 30 goals next season, Wennberg tallies 65 points next season.

Be on the look out later today for some introduction to the NFL season article!!

 

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