The American League truly brings the bats as they have two teams who hit over 300 home runs going against one another and two pitching rich sides clashing as well as the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees will face off against each other while the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays square off. This has the makings of a great first round and all these teams can absolutely win the pennant. Let’s take a look at each matchup.
Tampa Bay Rays vs Houston Astros
This will be the first time the Rays and the Astros meet in the playoffs, but despite the Astros being a dominant side, the Rays should be a worthy opponent. The pitching matchup well for both teams and while the Astros have a very good offense, the Rays can also put up some runs when least expected. On paper, this shouldn’t be close, but this could be one of the better series in playoff history.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays absolutely dominated the Athletics on Wednesday in the AL Wild Card Game to advance to the Division Series. Their opponent is a tough one, but the Rays have surprised everyone this year and could possibly pull off an upset. Their pitching staff should match up very well and while their offense isn’t as fierce as Houston’s, it’s still pretty consistent. Watch out for what they might do.
The Astros are the favorites to win the pennant this year and for good reasons as they have essentially what is the perfect team. They have a very strong offense, excellent defense, a shut down bullpen, and a very stout starting rotation. The rotation has such great pitchers as Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke, but their offense packs quite a punch especially with such bats as Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman are on the team. These guys are scary good.
Notes: Tampa Bay won the season series 4-3.
James Rowe: Astros. They are too good to write off as their pitching is so good and their hitting is incredible. Sure, the Rays are a worthy challenger, but they aren’t going to be able to hold up against a very good Houston team.
Minnesota Twins vs New York Yankees
The Twins and Yankees meet up once again in the playoffs as New York has won every single time they’ve met up and Minnesota will try to change that narrative. Both teams can slug it as they each hit well over 300 home runs and there is going to be lots of offense in this series. It will all come down to which pitching staff will limit each other’s damage.
The Twins can absolutely crush the ball as they hit 307 home runs as a collective group. They are going to hit a lot of home runs in this postseason too, so the Yankees are going to want to limit the damage as much as possible. The Twins offense has such great power hitters in Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Mitch Garver. Their bullpen is very good, but the question will be their rotation. Despite having a very good Jose Berrios and solid Jake Odorizzi, the rotation is shaky at best. They will look to exorcise their playoff demons against the Yankees as every time they have faced off against New York in the postseason, the Bronx Bombers have won.
New York Yankees
The Yankees on paper going into the season looked like the favorites to win the World Series, but then injuries amounted so much that there was even a full 25-man roster on their injured list. While that seemed like it should have hurt them, the Yankees continued to win and showed how deep they were as they won over 100 games. New York also hit over 300 home runs as they can slug the ball. What their most underrated parts of their team is the pitching as the bullpen is stout and the rotation is solid. The offense has such sluggers as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez as well as the great hitter of DJ LeMahieu. The pitching is so great as James Paxton and Luis Severino lead their rotation and Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman lead a shutdown bullpen. The Yankees could go deep and even win the World Series.
Notes: Yankees won the season series 4-2
James: Yankees. Sure, so much offense will happen in this series, but I’m not convinced that the Twins are a playoff caliber side as they played in a very weak division and the pitching is suspect. Oh, and the Yankees have so much freaking talent.