Dan's Dugout: Fearless Forecast for Baseball Playoffs • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Fearless Forecast for Baseball Playoffs

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The only sure thing about predicting playoff outcomes is that there is no sure thing.

Consider the two wild-card games.

On the surface, the Yankees should be heavy favorites to beat the Twins so badly that the AL Central club might have to lick its wounds all the way back to Minnesota.

NaLeagueBy the same token, the Diamondbacks dominated the Rockies during regular-season play in the National League West and are sending out a former Cy Young Award winner to face the Colorado Rockies, a team with an inexperienced starter and a penchant for less potent play outside of Coors Field.

But let’s look at these games, and those beyond, a little more closely.

The first game, scheduled for Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, matches Luis Severino, the best New York pitcher over the second half, against a Minnesota offense that scored more runs than any American League team over the same stretch.

While it’s true that Aaron Judge led the AL in home runs and runs batted in, his penchant for striking

Rookie of the Year favorite Aaron Judge had 52 home runs in 2017 Credit: Cesar Diaz/Latino Sports

Rookie of the Year favorite Aaron Judge had 52 home runs in 2017
Credit: Cesar Diaz

out is more pronounced than his ability to hit the ball high and hard into the stratosphere.

At the same time, however, the Yankee lineup is loaded with lefthanded sluggers whose eyes open wide when they gaze at that short porch in right field.

Not to mention the fact that Minnesota starter Ervin Santana, a righthander, criticized those dimensions in Tuesday’s New York Post.

Joe Mauer, a three-time batting champ, is the only man remaining from the Minnesota team that last reached the playoffs in 2010.

In the National League pairing, slated for Wednesday in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks will lean on the long arm of Zack Greinke, who went 17-7, in an attempt to short-circuit Colorado sluggers Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, both leading candidates for NL MVP.

The Rockies thrive in Denver’s thin air, which helps the ball travel, but Arizona has the second-highest altitude in the majors. That makes Chase One Ballpark a shooting gallery too.

J.D. Martinez could tilt the NL wild-card to Arizona

J.D. Martinez could tilt the NL wild-card to Arizona

Just ask J.D. Martinez, the 30-year-old slugger whose 29 homers over the final two months included four in a game. He could turn the Rockies’ starter into Fifty Shades of (Jon) Gray early in the game.

That being said, here is one set of fearless predictions:

Wild-Cards

AL: Yankees over Twins

NL: Diamondbacks over Rockies

Comment: Home-field advantage matters

Division Series

AL: Indians over Yankees in four; Astros over Red Sox in four

NL: Dodgers Over Diamondbacks in four; Nationals over Cubs in five

Comment: Superior starting pitcher prevails in all four series

Championship Series

AL: Indians over Astros in seven

NL: Dodgers over Nationals in six

Clayton Kershaw is crafting a Cooperstown career

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is crafting a Cooperstown career

Comment: Nats have never won a pennant

World Series

Dodgers over Indians in seven

Comment: Cleveland still without world title since 1948

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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