The Wild Card games are over – they were both fantastic games – and we are ready for the “real” playoffs to begin. The four Division Series start today – well, the American League starts today, with the NL beginning on Friday.
As always, there are a handful of former Tacoma Rainiers players in the MLB playoffs. We’ll start with a look at who those guys are.
San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs
When the Giants beat the Mets last night, it cost us the chance to see several former Rainiers in the playoffs. San Francisco didn’t have any former Rainiers on its roster for the Wild Card Game last night. The Mets had infielders Asdrubal Cabrera and Ty Kelly, and catcher Rene Rivera.
The Cubs don’t have any ex-Rainiers players, but they do have two products of local high schools. Jon Lester graduated from Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, and Jason Hammel is an alum of South Kitsap High in Port Orchard.
LA Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
Washington has a pair of veteran relievers who once pitched for Tacoma in Yusmeiro Petit and Oliver Perez.
The Dodgers don’t have any ex-Rainiers on their active playoff roster. Chris Taylor was closest but didn’t make the cut. They do have Kyle Seager‘s little brother Corey, who is going to win the National League Rookie of the Year award once the season ends.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
The Blue Jays lead the playoffs in ex-Rainiers players: Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, and Ezequiel Carrera.
Texas has one, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox
The Indians finished the regular season with three ex-Tacoma players on the roster, but I’m not sure any will make the playoff roster. Veteran catcher Chris Gimenez has the best chance, I suspect. Fellow catcher Adam Moore is unlikely to make the active roster but might go along for the ride and help in the bullpen. Outfielder Abraham Almonte is ineligible for the playoffs as a result of the PED suspension he served earlier this season.
The Red Sox do not have any former Rainiers.
Ok, now on to the picks.
The Chicago Cubs are odds-on favorites to win the World Series, and this is patently ridiculous.
These guys haven’t won the World Series since 1908, and everyone thinks this is suddenly going to change?
I’m not buying it.
So for the NL picks, who is going to knock out the Cubbies: the Giants, the Nationals, or the Red Sox?
It’s an even-numbered year. Let’s go with the Giants.
Giants beat Cubs
Washington beats Dodgers
Giants defeat Nationals
Texas beats Toronto
Red Sox over Cleveland
Red Sox take down Texas
Red Sox over Giants in six games
I’m always terrible at these predictions, so I advise picking exact opposites.
- Seattle Times beat writer Ryan Divish posted his Mariners season wrap-up. He’s also got a look ahead at some potential offseason moves.
- Larry Stone has declared the Mariners postseason drought to be “the curse of David Bell.”
- The Miami Marlins exercised their 2017 contract option on Ichiro. He’ll play next season at age 43.
- ESPN the Magazine has a terrific (and fairly long) story on the history of bat-flipping in the Korean League, how it started, and why the players don’t do it when they come to the USA. The story comes with fun illustrations. I really enjoyed it – maybe you will too.