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2021 MLB playoffs: Five bold predictions for postseason, including Wild Card Game walk-off and near no-hitter

The 2021 MLB common season is within the books. We did not get tiebreaker chaos within the AL wild-card race, which is a bummer, however we did get an thrilling ultimate month with a number of postseason spots on the road on the season’s ultimate day. Cannot ask rather more than that, are you able to?

The postseason begins Tuesday night time, with the AL Wild Card Sport at Fenway Park. Right here is the complete postseason bracket:

So though the 2 Wild Card Video games have been unsettled going into Sport 162, we nonetheless wound up with Yankees vs. Crimson Sox and Dodgers vs. Cardinals. It is just like the baseball gods know what the tv networks crave.

My preseason bold predictions weren’t great (I nailed that Shohei Ohtani prediction although) and my second-half bold predictions were worse, however my motto is when you get numerous daring predictions right, you were not daring sufficient. Or a minimum of that is what I inform myself to really feel higher. Anyway, let’s do some postseason daring predictions, we could? Let’s get to it.

1. There can be a Wild Card Sport walk-off

That is the ninth yr of the present postseason format and to this point we have had solely two Wild Card Sport walk-offs: Salvador Perez’s grounder down the road towards the Athletics in 2014, and Edwin Encarnación’s three-run homer towards the Orioles in 2016. The Encarnación homer got here when O’s supervisor Buck Showalter infamously left Zack Britton within the bullpen, unused.

For my cash, that 2014 sport between the A’s and Royals is the most effective Wild Card Sport we have seen. It was a forwards and backwards sport with a number of lead adjustments, late-inning heroics, stolen bases, dingers, nice protection, the works. The 2017 NL Wild Card Sport between the Diamondbacks and Rockies was comparable, although not fairly as thrilling. The 2014 AL sport is the gold normal.

Our first daring prediction this postseason requires the third ever Wild Card Sport walk-off. We all know the matchups — Yankees at Crimson Sox and Cardinals at Dodgers — and Cardinals at Dodgers feels extra chaos-y to me. We have seen sufficient Yankees-Crimson Sox video games to know these two groups are inclined to play (very) lengthy back-and-forth video games, although there’s typically a transparent victor.

Cardinals-Dodgers oozes bizarre. That is more likely to be the Wild Card Sport the place one thing surprising occurs, and a walk-off win qualifies as surprising. Because the Dodgers are the house staff, I’ve to express regret, Cardinals followers, however your staff can be on the mistaken finish of the walk-off. It is robust, however somebody has to lose.

This is the way it will play out: Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright pitch properly, and the sport is tied going into the ninth. St. Louis goes to nearer Giovanny Gallegos within the must-win sport, he provides up a bloop single to Mookie Betts and Betts then steals second (sure, towards Yadier Molina). Corey Seager walks, forcing Gallegos to pitch to Trea Turner, who doubles down the road to attain Betts to win the sport. It has been foretold.

(In case you are questioning, no, the additional innings tiebreaker rule isn’t in impact within the postseason. It is going to be common previous additional innings in October.)

2. Doval is that this postseason’s Ok-Rod

It has been almost twenty years since Francisco Rodríguez burst onto the scene as a September call-up with the 2002 Angels, and pitched so properly that he was a trusted high-leverage reliever en path to the membership’s World Sequence championship. We have seen others make comparable rises (David Price with the 2008 Rays, most notably), however none has fairly matched Ok-Rod.

This yr’s breakout postseason reliever can be Giants righty Camilo Doval. He was not a September debut like Ok-Rod (Doval was first referred to as up in Might, then went up and down a number of occasions earlier than sticking for good in September), although he has pitched his approach right into a distinguished late-inning position due to his electrical arm and funky supply.

Doval struck out 20 of the 52 batters he confronted in September. He allowed solely six singles, one double, and three walks in 14 1/3 scoreless innings, and even recorded three saves when Jake McGee was on the injured listing. McGee is again now and it stays to be seen how the Giants deploy their high relievers (Doval, McGee, Tyler Rogers) in October, although Doval can be within the combine.

It isn’t typically a reliever is the breakout star of the postseason, however Doval has all of the substances to do it this yr. His stuff is simply electrical, and he fills a high-profile position on the league’s winningest staff. Doval is much from a family identify at this level and that is comprehensible. He form of got here out of nowhere. However he is excellent, and October can be his popping out occasion.

3. There can be a close to no-hitter

Over 1,000 postseason video games have been performed in MLB postseason historical past, but there have solely been two postseason no-hitters: Don Larsen’s good sport in Sport 5 of the 1956 World Sequence, and the late Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in Sport 1 of the 2010 NLDS. No different pitcher has ever even taken a no-hitter within the ninth inning in October.

The final pitcher to take a no-hitter into the eighth inning in a postseason sport was Aníbal Sánchez in Sport 1 of the 2019 NLCS. He misplaced the no-hit bid with two outs within the eighth. Earlier than Sánchez, the final pitcher to take a postseason no-hit bid into the eighth inning was Michael Wacha in Sport 4 of the 2013 NLDS. He fell 5 outs in need of historical past.

We’re not going to foretell a postseason no-hitter for this daring prediction, that is a bit too daring, so as an alternative we’ll say a staff takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning in some unspecified time in the future this October. Be aware I stated “staff” somewhat than “pitcher.” We’re predicting a mixed no-hit bid, which is tacky, however leashes are brief within the postseason and managers use their bullpen aggressively.

Rays skipper Kevin Money is the supervisor most certainly to tug a pitcher from a postseason no-hitter, however I will as an alternative say Brewers skipper Craig Counsell does it. Corbin Burnes threw 100 pitches solely six occasions within the common season and was famously pulled from a no-hitter after eight innings. I boldly predict it occurs once more within the NLDS, and this time the no-hitter is misplaced within the ninth.

4. MLB will set one other postseason house run document

Yearly, like clockwork, it’s stated you’ll be able to’t depend on house runs within the postseason, as a result of the pitching is simply too good and you’ll’t hit house runs towards good pitchers. Then, each postseason, it is Dwelling Run Derby in October. Good pitchers quit house runs on a regular basis! What they normally do not quit are lengthy rallies on a number of base hits and walks. Homers are the lifeblood of October.

Final yr was, by far, probably the most house run completely happy postseason on document. Groups averaged 1.50 homers per sport final postseason, which is bonkers. It was an uncommon yr with the pandemic and expanded postseason area and all that, however they have been postseason video games, and the ball flew out of the park at a document tempo. Some numbers:

2016

1.16

4.48

1.01

3.70

2017

1.26

4.65

1.28

4.29

2018

1.15

4.45

1.08

4.00

2019

1.39

4.83

1.28

4.03

2020

1.28

4.65

1.50

4.40

Run scoring tends to drop considerably within the postseason. The house run fee although? Not a lot. In a number of instances the house run fee truly went up though run scoring went down, which means homers tackle added significance in October. They could be your solely method to rating in some instances. In case you get a pitch to hit, you higher actually hit it.

For this daring prediction, I will say MLB will set a brand new document postseason house run fee this yr, eclipsing final yr’s 1.50 per staff per sport fee. That sounds astronomical, and it’s, however that is what makes it daring, proper? Groups averaged 1.22 homers per sport through the common season. Why cannot it bounce to, say, 1.52 per sport in October? It almost did final yr.

The nice unknown is the baseball itself. There were indications the ball was different in the postseason in 2019 than it was during the regular season, and who’s to say it will not change once more? It’s loopy that the efficiency of the baseball, the one most essential piece of kit within the sport, varies a lot from yr to yr (and even month to month), however that is the world we reside in. Perhaps we’ll get a juiced ball this postseason and the ball will actually fly. Much more than final postseason.

5. There can be a postseason commerce

October trades are uncommon, however they do occur. As soon as the common season ends, groups are eligible to make trades once more, although most enterprise waits for the winter months. October trades are normally very minor. A fringe 40-man roster man for money amongst two non-postseason groups. One thing alongside these strains.

The final notable massive leaguer traded in October was righty Kyle Barraclough. He spent 4 productive years within the Marlins bullpen earlier than being despatched to the Nationals for worldwide bonus cash on Oct. 10, 2018. That was an off-day between the LDS and LCS. The final player-for-player October commerce involving notable massive leaguers went down on Oct. 20, 2012. The deal:

Yep, a three-team commerce in the course of the postseason. Bell went to 3 straight All-Star Video games from 2009-11 and Younger had an All-Star Sport choice to his credit score as properly. They weren’t nobodies. That commerce was made on an off-day between Video games 5 and 6 of the NLCS (the ALCS was already over). MLB can be very upset with any groups that make a commerce on a postseason gameday and steal headlines.

Our ultimate daring prediction requires an October commerce. An precise player-for-player commerce involving a giant leaguer of word. Let’s get extra particular: I will say the Orioles commerce lefty reliever Tanner Scott to the Angels for a prospect on an off-day between the LDS and LCS. That is a really “Barraclough for worldwide bonus cash” commerce, no? An October commerce, coming quickly.



https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/information/2021-mlb-playoffs-five-bold-predictions-for-postseason-including-wild-card-game-walk-off-and-near-no-hitter/ | 2021 MLB playoffs: 5 daring predictions for postseason, together with Wild Card Sport walk-off and close to no-hitter

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