What should we expect in the American League Postseason?
With the postseason starting next week, the American League postseason picture is still up in the air. Both the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays have clinched their divisions, and are fighting for the overall top seed in the American League. However, three spots have yet to be determined, at least in seed. The west has yet to have a winner, not to mention the New York Yankees are going to be one of the Wild Cards. New York will play next Tuesday, however the location of the game is TBD. With three teams in the west fighting for two spots, it is possible for a Game 163 on Monday.
Overall, a Wild Card game in New York would be fun to watch. Especially if the Houston Astros ended up as their opponent, considering the fact that it would be their first game as an American League Postseason participant. The other options for that game are the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels, both of whom faced the Yanke, es in the postseason in the last decade. The Astros have a slight edge as of right now (over the Angels-1 game lead), but it would not be shocked to see a one game playoff on Monday.
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Assuming Texas wins the A.L. West, one of the Royals or Blue Jays would be their opponent. For a postseason series, it would not be surprising to see more offense than usual. The Royals offense is built for October, as it doesn’t strike out often plus it is solid 1-9. Meanwhile, the Jays offense is among the best since the Cleveland Indians were trotting out star-studded lineups in the 1990’s. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers pull off the upset, as the middle of their order does have Prince Fielder among others in it.
One issue with all of these teams (minus Houston) is the lack of starting pitching depth. Toronto does not have a great starting staff (outside of Price), nor does Kansas City. Texas and the Yankees are not loaded with front-line starters either, however all of these teams have some pitchers that are more along the lines of #2 and #3 starters.
Overall, I would expect a lot of runs scored from this group of teams. That is due to starting pitching in the American League Playoffs being weaker than usual, not to mention Toronto’s loaded offense. Don’t be surprised to see big comebacks and offensive explosions from any of the five teams. The National League figures to be more pitching dominant, however the American League is going to produce the offensive excitement in October. There is always a player or moment that fans remember every postseason. While we wait for that moment to occur, it is always worth the wait and the memory.