5 Matchups We Can't Wait to See in MLB Playoffs
During the MLB postseason, the best of the best are pitted against each other. Not only are there interesting battles with the teams involved, but there are also a number of matchups between players that should be watched as well.
These games will pit power hitters against power pitchers as well as speedsters against top-flight catchers. Ultimately, these in-game matchups will be ones to keep an eye on as they could lead to some of the biggest moments of the postseason.
Billy Hamilton vs. Yadier Molina
Billy Hamilton's speed was legendary when he was in the minor leagues, and he has put it on display since the Cincinnati Reds called up him this season. There is still some debate over if Hamilton will be on the team's playoff roster, via Jeremy Warnemuende of MLB.com, but he will certainly be a huge threat if he is.
Recently, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America demonstrated mathematically how difficult it actually is to throw out Hamilton. In his piece, he explains that everything needs to be close to perfect to get Hamilton out as he tries to steal second.
If there is one catcher in the major leagues who can throw a perfect strike to second base consistently, it is Yadier Molina. The St. Louis Cardinals catcher is the best in the game defensively, and it should be interesting to see if he is able to throw out Hamilton.
Yasiel Puig vs. Aroldis Chapman
When both Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba, there was a lot of hype surrounding their abilities. Both players were able to live up to the high level of expected performance after reaching the major leagues.
Puig, who was called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this year, has demonstrated the ability for power and average, while also using his speed to steal bases and show off his range in the outfield.
Chapman has been one of the best closers in baseball over the past two years, and the Cincinnati Reds know that a win is almost certainly wrapped up when they hand him the ball in the ninth.
In the only matchup of the Cuban sensations this year, Chapman used his blazing fastball to strike out Puig. It will interesting to see if the same thing occurs when much more is on the line in the postseason.
Andrew McCutchen vs. Craig Kimbrel
In reality, this matchup could feature any member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and it would still be exciting to watch. The team last reached the postseason in 1992, so it is a big achievement for them to be back.
Andrew McCutchen has been Pittsburgh's best player for the past few years, so it would be intriguing to see him up at the plate with a postseason game and potentially a spot in the next round of the playoffs on the line.
Craig Kimbrel, on the other hand, has led the National League in saves for the past three seasons and has been virtually unhittable. Pitting these two stars against each other in a key moment will certainly have entertaining results.
Josh Donaldson vs. Clay Buchholz
The 2012 season was a difficult one for Clay Buchholz as he went 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA. Things have turned around for him in a big way, and Buchholz has looked like a star as he has complied a 12-1 record to go along with a 1.74 ERA in 15 starts this season.
In his first full year in the major leagues, Josh Donaldson has broken out at age 27. He has emerged as a leader for the Oakland Athletics, hitting over .300 this season with 24 home runs and 92 RBI.
Seeing these two players, both of whom are coming off outstanding regular seasons, match up could lead to some very entertaining at-bats this postseason.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Clayton Kershaw
If the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers square off in the World Series, there will be a clash of the titans between arguably the game's best hitter and the game's best pitcher.
Miguel Cabrera took home the AL MVP award and the Triple Crown last season, and he has been almost as dominant again this year. Clayton Kershaw, on the other hand, won the 2011 NL Cy Young award and he is in a position to take home that award once again this year.
There would be multiple battles between these two throughout the series, and it will be very interesting to see who comes out on top.