MLB Playoffs 2017: Updated Odds, Predictions for NL Wild Card, ALDS Matchups

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2017

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws to the Texas Rangers in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

If the New York Yankees' 8-4 wild-card win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night was any indication, the MLB postseason should be a thrilling affair. 

And with another wild-card game on deck Wednesday evening in the National League, fans won't have to wait long to watch more drama unfold. 

So, as the pennant push intensifies, here's a preview of Wednesday's showdown as well as both American League Division Series matchups. 

           

Full postseason schedule available at MLB.comOdds current as of Tuesday, Oct. 3

          

NL Wild Card: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks 

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the game at Kauffman Stadium on September 29, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) *** local captio
Brian Davidson/Getty Images

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 4

Time: 8:08 p.m. ET

TV: TBS

Odds (via OddsShark): Colorado (+153); Arizona (-163) 

It will be Jon Gray against Zack Greinke on Wednesday night in the desert, which means runs should be at a premium with a spot in the National League Division Series on the line. 

The Rockies went 2-1 in Gray's starts against the Diamondbacks this year—with both wins coming at Chase Field—and the 25-year-old has been humming of late with 80 strikeouts and 16 walks over his past 13 games. 

"Jon's in a good spot because he is throwing the ball well," manager Bud Black said, according to the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders. "When you are confident in how you are playing, that always lends itself to feeling good about where you are."

The Diamondbacks will counter with Greinke, who is 2-1 in five starts against Colorado in 2017. Furthermore, each of those five outings lasted at least six innings. 

But, unlike Gray, Greinke has been a tad shaky of late with a 1-1 record and 5.63 ERA in his last three trips to the mound. 

However, there's not much reason for the Diamondbacks to fret considering Greinke—who finished fifth in the NL with 215 strikeouts—posted a sterling 13-1 record with a 2.87 ERA at home this season. 

Arizona will have its hands full at the plate, especially if Paul Goldschmidt continues his slump against Gray, but the bet here is that he'll come up with a clutch hit when the Diamondbacks need it most to set up a tilt with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Prediction: Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3

            

ALDSBoston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts during the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 26, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Start Date: Thursday, Oct. 5

Game 1 Start Time: 4:08 p.m. ET

Game 1 TV: MLB Network

Series Odds (via OddsShark): Boston (+135); Houston (-165)

There's certainly a compelling case to be made for the Boston Red Sox. 

They have an American League Cy Young Award candidate in Chris Sale who led the league with 308 strikeouts and 2.45 FIP, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Projected Game 2 starter Drew Pomeranz was stout in his own right with a 3.32 ERA en route to 17 wins.

Factor in a bullpen that ranked second in MLB with a 3.15 ERA and now boasts a rejuvenated David Price, and there's reason to believe Boston could stun the AL West champions. 

However, Houston is well-equipped to combat Boston's stable of seasoned arms. 

For starters, the Astros led MLB in batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.346) and slugging percentage (.478), which allowed them to plate a league-high 896 runs—a mark that dwarfed Boston's total of 785. 

That's scary enough. 

But also consider the Astros tout a revamped starting rotation featuring Justin Verlander alongside Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, and a Boston lineup that collectively hit .258 this season could have trouble keeping pace. 

The Red Sox may very well nab a pair of wins along the way and push Houston in a competitive series, but the Astros' offensive firepower should ultimately give them the edge. 

Prediction: Astros over Red Sox in five

             

ALDS: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Start Date: Thursday, Oct. 5

Game 1 Start Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Game 1 TV: FS1 

Series OddsOddsShark will update as they become available

It turns out the Baby Bombers can pack quite a punch.

That much was clear Tuesday night, when the Yankees erased a 3-0 first-inning deficit in a matter of minutes and tallied nine hits, including three home runs, to down the Twins and punch their ticket to the ALDS. 

Tuesday also reinforced that the Yankees bullpen, spearheaded by Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman, can be a nightmare for opponents. 

However, the Yankees still have major question marks when it comes to a starting rotation that will be attempting to stymie an Indians lineup that ranked third in the AL in runs (818), second in batting average (.263) and second in OPS (.788). 

Luis Severino proved problematic in his first postseason start, lasting 0.1 innings and allowing three earned runs before he was pulled in favor of the less jittery Green. 

Then there's Masahiro Tanaka, whose lone postseason start to date came in the Yankees' 2015 wild-card loss to the Astros. Tanaka also recorded a 4.99 ERA in September while allowing 17 earned runs. Needless to say, those marks don't bode well for his postseason prospects against a stout Indians lineup. 

The onus, then, may be on Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia to give the Yankees a shot. 

Not only was Sabathia 7-2 with a 3.57 ERA after the All-Star break, but his last five decisions dating back to Aug. 19 have been wins. 

Gray has been solid as well with a 3.12 ERA since the Midsummer Classic, and his 12 strikeouts in 13 innings during the 2013 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers should inspire some confidence.  

That said, even if a couple of starters step up, the Yankees still figure to be overmatched. 

The Indians led MLB with a 3.30 ERA this year, and facing Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber in Games 1 and 2 could spell major trouble for a team that played sub-.500 ball on the road during the regular season. 

Assuming Cleveland can tame the Yankees bats at Progressive Field, a second straight trip to the ALCS should be in order. 

Prediction: Indians over Yankees in four