My pre-postseason picks:
ALDS: Royals over Yankees in 5
Postseason to this point (10/16/15)
ALDS: Royals over Astros 3-2
ALCS: Royals - Blue Jays
NLCS: Cubs - Mets
Division Series Recaps:
The first division series to conclude was the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals in four games and it was the only series where I correctly picked not only the winner but also the number of games. The Cardinals took game one behind an absolute gem by John Lackey but were thoroughly overpowered in the following three games. Highlighted by a game three where Arrieta finally showed some vulnerability allowing 4 runs across 5.2 innings pitched but also struck out 9. But these 4 runs were nothing as the Cubs went on to hit a major league postseason record six home runs, one by each of the first six batters in the Cubs lineup. The following day the Cubs finished it off behind a stellar all hands on deck bullpen effort after starter Jason Hammel was pulled in the fourth inning after walking Jhonny Peralta to leadoff the inning. This was the first time in the history of Wrigley Field that the Cubs had clinched a postseason series at home and it made them the first team to advance.
In game two of the Dodgers-Mets series Chase Utley 'slid' into second to break up the double play and in the process broke shortstop Rubén Tejada's leg. This has sparked a debate that is still going on regarding player safety and what is considered a dirty slide and this one play has overshadowed the rest of the series. In my opinion while it was a poor attempt at a slide, if you can even call it a slide, it is not a dirty play and within the rules. Utley's intent was to break-up the double play not to injure Tejada and Major League Baseball has shown in the past that they will allow these types of plays. A month ago Utley had a worse slide against the Padres and no one even talked about it, Chris Coglan broke Jung-ho Kang's leg and the next day the only people still talking about it were Pirates' fans. But that brings us to the last game of the division series. Also a game five this one between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. Two nights after Clayton Kershaw threw the Dodgers a gem to keep them in the series and give them a chance to win it at home Zack Greinke was good allowing 3 runs across 6.2 innings with 9 strikeouts but was not quite good enough to defeat Jacob deGrom and the Mets. After struggling in the first deGrom grinded through the next five innings without allowing another run despite having some control problems and not having his best stuff before handing the ball off to Noah Syndergaard who threw an inning after warming up four times. Syndergaard then handed it off to Jeurys Familia who threw the last two innings without allowing a baserunner to conclude a 3-2 Mets win. This sent the Dodgers home and sent the Mets back home to host the Cubs on Saturday night.