The Bench Wire 2015 MLB Wildcard Preview

Now that the MLB Pre-Season is over, we can finally get to REAL baseball. October Baseball. Because you can’t tell me that EVERY player gives 100% of their effort in EVERY one of their 80 billion games. This is why God created the baseball postseason; to give baseball a reason to exist in our lives. Have you ever met someone who legitimately said “Hey, let’s go to Buffs and watch the Rangers – Rays game.” No. Because those people are either sports writers or people who nobody hangs out with anyway. A part of it does come from the fact that, again a) there’s a shit ton of games played and b) there’s a shit ton of mediocre to terrible teams peppered around every where that makes the games un-watchable at times.

But not in October. October is for the best teams in the world; you know how hard it is to GET into the playoffs in baseball? These are the teams that NEED to be watched. Put aside all those cheesy commercials on ESPN or TBS talking about “The Hunt For Red October,” (oh god..) and know that this is the not just the best month to fall in love with baseball, but the best month..fucking period.

On to the preview:

AL Wildcard
Houston Astros at New York Yankees
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Starting Pitchers: Dallas Keuchel (20–8, 2.48 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (12–7, 3.51 ERA)

This match-up stars a couple of teams that struggled to keep their division leads down the stretch. This game is really Houston’s to lose as AL-Cy Young favorite Keuchel has helped revitalize an organization that was only a few years out of losing 111 games. Even worse for the Yankees, Keuchel has mowed down lefties all year, and the Yankees have six of them in their line-up. The only thing the Yankees can potentially take advantage of is that Keuchel will be pitching on only three days rest, as the Astros tried to save their season late to even make it to the wildcard.

The Yankees are coming into this game hobbled and really won’t have much of a post-season if they even get passed Houston. An important stat to watch out for: the Astros are 2nd in the league in homeruns, and Tanaka has been suspect to giving up homeruns at Yankees Stadium. If Tanaka gets rocked early, it’s over.

Winner: Houston Astros

NL Wildcard
Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Starting Pitches: Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (19-8, 2.60 ERA)

Get this, both the Cubs and the Pirates won 97 and 98 games respectively, and after Wednesday night, one of these teams will be looking at one-and-done for their post-season. This matchup begins and ends with Arrieta, by far the best pitcher post-All-Star break. To be more specific, his ERA is the lowest post-break ever (0.75 ERA). In this stretch, he’s gone 12-1 and only given up 3 home runs while HITTING 3 home runs. He’s the best pitcher in baseball right now and a shoe-in for the NL Cy Young.

But with all the attention Arrieta is getting, the Pirates have a young star of their own taking the mound. Cole is 7-1 all time against the Cubs, 2-1 this year in 4 starts with a 2.14 ERA.

I can talk about how Starling Marte has been on quite a hitting streak as of late, but none of it matters when you have a pitcher as locked in as Arrieta.

Winner: Chicago Cubs

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