Two dominating pitching performances wrapped up both 2015 Wild Card games in tight little bows, setting the tone for a postseason which will be primarily about the men on the mound.
American League Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel tossed six innings of three-hit ball in the Houston Astros‘ 3-0 shutout over the New York Yankees, while National League Cy Young candidate Jake Arrieta suffocated the Pittsburgh Pirates with 11K’s over nine, putting the ‘Stros and Cubbies into Round 2 (the Division Series).
Houston now has 19-game winner Collin McHugh set for Game 1 against the Kansas City Royals (who have the weakest staff of the remaining playoff teams). Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs have another two pitchers with under-4.00 ERAs (Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks) prepped as they get ready for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have five starters with double-digit wins – all of whom have ERAs of 3.38 or less!
But, the pitching match up of the early postseason is unquestionably that of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ staff against the New York Mets‘. The Dodgers will have the two best hurlers in all of baseball today – Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke – pittted against the Mets’ young-gun trifecta of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey.
Buckle up for some nail-biters.
Let’s take a look at today’s list, then.
The one-game Wild Card Round has been around for four years now – and checking out the results, one thing stands out immediately. Home-field advantage doesn’t exist. Six of the eight games so far have been won by the away team.
No team has yet to win more than one Wild Card game and only one team has even appeared in more than one. The Pirates have made the NL’s WCG as the home team the past three seasons. Hey Bucs, it’s time to win the division.
One more very notable note: You think the Wild Card teams have no shot at winning the World Series? Not true. Just remember 2014, when both WC winners made it to the Fall Classic, and the San Francisco Giants won it all in seven.Follow @VinGetz
|2015||Houston Astros||3||NEW YORK YANKEES||0||TBD|
|2014||KANSAS CITY ROYALS||9||Oakland A’s||8||12 inn.||Lost World Series 4-3 (San Francisco Giants)|
|2013||Tampa Bay Rays||4||CLEVELAND INDIANS||0||Lost ALDS 3-1 (Boston Red Sox)|
|2012||Baltimore Orioles||5||TEXAS RANGERS||1||Lost ALDS 3-2 (New York Yankees)|
|2015||Chicago Cubs||4||PITTSBURGH PIRATES||0||TBD|
|2014||San Francisco Giants||8||PITTSBURGH PIRATES||0||Won World Series 4-3 (Kansas City Royals)|
|2013||PITTSBURGH PIRATES||6||Cincinnati Reds||2||Lost NLDS 3-2 (St. Louis Cardinals)|
|2012||St. Louis Cardinals||6||ATLANTA BRAVES||3||Lost NLCS 4-3 (San Francisco Giants)|
For the first time, a rookie tops the list. Chicago Cubs‘ phenom and National League Rookie of the Year favorite, third-baseman Kris Bryant (.275, 26 HR, 99 RBI…and 31 doubles), is No. 1 (well, No. 17, really, but you get it).
Bryant is also one of four third-basemen on the list, the most represented position.
Then, the West Coast takes over. The next four jerseys are owned by San Francisco Giants‘ battery Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, Los Angeles Dodgers‘ perennial Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Angels‘ possible MVP back-to-backer Mike Trout.
The Giants have the most players in the top 20, and they’re all in the top 10 by the way – three (Hunter Pence is the other) – along with, guess who? Nope, not the New York Yankees. It’s that other team in Gotham, the NL East surprise champion New York Mets (Matt Harvey, David Wright and Jacob deGrom). In fact, the Yankees have no top 20 reps this time around.
Other than rookies Bryant and Houston Astros‘ shortstop Carlos Correa, Harvey (third season) and deGrom (second tour) have the fewest years of MLB service. Almost half (nine) of the 20 top-selling jerseys are worn by players with five years in the Bigs or fewer.
Correa (Puerto Rico) is one of five internationally-born players with the top selling gear, along with the always-appearing David Ortiz (Dominican Republic); two-time World Series champion, St. Louis Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico) and his once champion teammate and three-time MVP, Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic); and 2010 Cy Young winner and Seattle Mariner lifer so far, Felix Hernandez (Venezuela).Follow @VinGetz
|1.||Kris Bryant||Chicago Cubs||3B||Rookie||Las Vegas, NV|
|2.||Madison Bumgarner||San Francisco Giants||LHP||7th||Hickory, NC|
|3.||Buster Posey||San Francisco Giants||C||7th||Leesburg, GA|
|4.||Clayton Kershaw||Los Angeles Dodgers||LHP||8th||Dallas, TX|
|5.||Mike Trout||Los Angeles Angels||CF||5th||Vineland, NJ|
|6.||Bryce Harper||Washington Nationals||LF, RF||4th||Las Vegas, NV|
|7.||Hunter Pence||San Francisco Giants||RF||9th||Fort Worth, TX|
|8.||Anthony Rizzo||Chicago Cubs||1B||5th||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|9.||Matt Harvey||New York Mets||RHP||3rd||New London, CT|
|10.||Andrew McCutchen||Pittsburgh Pirates||CF||7th||Fort Meade, FL|
|11.||David Wright||New York Mets||3B||12th||Norfolk, VA|
|12.||Josh Donaldson||Toronto Blue Jays||3B||5th||Pensacola, FL|
|13.||Todd Frazier||Cincinnati Reds||3B, 1B||5th||Point Pleasant, NJ|
|14.||David Ortiz||Boston Red Sox||DH||19th||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
|15.||Yadier Molina||St. Louis Cardinals||C||12th||Bayamon, Puerto Rico|
|16.||Carlos Correa||Houston Astros||SS||Rookie||Ponce, Puerto Rico|
|17.||Jacob deGrom||New York Mets||RHP||2nd||DeLand, FL|
|18.||Dustin Pedroia||Boston Red Sox||2B||10th||Woodland, CA|
|19.||Felix Hernandez||Seattle Mariners||RHP||11th||Valencia, Venezuela|
|20.||Albert Pujols||Los Angeles Angels||DH, 1B||15th||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
|TEAM||3-0 WINNING STREAK TO START THE SEASON||ACTIVE IN 2015 (*)|
|7.||Green Bay Packers||*|
|8.||New England Patriots||*|
|9.||New York Jets||*|