The American League kicks it off today. Houston plays Oakland at Dodger Stadium. New York plays Tampa Bay at Petco Park in San Diego.
The Yankees-Rays game features an epic pitching matchup. The Yankees send out Garrit Cole. The Rays, Blake Snell.
This is why the Yankees gave Garrit Cole $36 million per season. Not to pitch thirty regular season games a year (in a normal year). But to pitch five or six post-season games. That’s all that matters to the Yankees.
All he did in his first playoff game in pinstripes was join Tom Seaver as the only pitcher in post-season history to record thirteen or more strikeouts without giving up a walk. He did that against Cleveland.
The Rays counter with Blake Snell, who showed how stupid and immature and tone deaf he was with comments before the season started about his displeasure with pro-rated contracts and how he wasn’t going to pitch for one dollar less than his full contract because he had to put food on the table.
It is perhaps the one time anyone would want to see the Yankees win, and pound a pitcher into submission doing so.
The Astros return to the scene of their greatest heist when they stole the World Series by cheating their way to a championships, knocking out the Dodgers. They send Lance McCullers to the mound to face off against Oakland’s Chris Bassitt. They will be unaided by trashcans and buzzers and artificial devises and must rely on their natural guessing abilities.
In three starts against the Astros, Bassitt was 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA. McCullers won the only game he started against the Athletics in 2020, allowing just one earned run in six innings.
It’s a battle of two teams whose offense really struggled this year.
Predictions: Tampa Bay in five (it’s a best-of-five series). Oakland in four.