Rays at Astros
We get another great pitching match up today, Tyler Glasnow and Justin Verlander are two of the best in baseball. I wrote about yesterday’s great pitching match here. Glasnow was an early-season Cy Young favorite and Verlander has a 50/50 shot at bringing home the award. I would say its pretty clear the Astros have the better line up but the Rays have some players that can do damage. I like this to be a close game and series.
First of I don’t think people realize how good Tyler Glasnow is he started the season as the front runner for the Cy Young. He only made 12 starts but he finished with a 1.78 ERA and 11.27 K/9. Glasnow is a true ace. He has a fastball that hits triple digits and since he’s 6’8 it gets on you even quicker.
The main things to watch is how good his two off-speed pitches are his curveball and slider have been two of the most dominant pitches in baseball. The curveball has ridiculous movement, he throws in any count and at any time. Hitters have a 2 WRC+ against the curve which I didn’t even know was possible. The crazy thing is that his change has even better numbers. Granted he doesn’t throw the change often but hitters have a -28 WRC+ and a .125/.125/.125 slash line against it. Tyler Glasnow on his own is worth the price of admission.
Then we get Justin Verlander on the hill for the Houston Astros. Verlander or Cole for Houston are going to win the Cy Young, personally, my vote would be for Cole but it’s about as close as it can get. All Verlander has done this year is win 21 games and strikeout 300 batters. Verlander averages 7.14 K/BB which is just insane. His slider has a 6 WRC+, the curveball has a 46, and the change sports a -6. Just to be clear a100 WRC+ is an average MLB hitter. These two are dominate pitchers, their stuff is electric and they have great makeups. Because of this pitching matchup, this game should be in the prime time slot.
Rays Line Up
I think there are a few Rays players worth highlighting. Obviously Austin Meadows is all world, I think he has a chance at an MVP award in the future. He’s batting leadoff tonight and he had 33 home runs 12 steals and .364 OBP on the season. Is the Rays are going to get something going against Verlander he’s going to have to be in the middle of it. Tommy Pham, Avisail Garcia, Brandon Lowe, and Yandy Diaz are the other guys to watch. Any of them can have a big-time game. When Avi Garcia or Yandy Diaz get a hold of one they absolutely crush the ball which is always fun to watch. The main problem is every lineup is going to have an issue with Verlander on the mound.
Astros Line Up
Obviously the lineup for the Astros is loaded. Alex Bregman is a serious MVP candidate and Yordan Alvarez came up just absolutely crushing baseballs for a 178 WRC+. Then there’s just George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa who are some of the best players in baseball at their positions. My player to watch is going to be Michael Brantley. He has flown under the radar this year even though he has a 4.2 WAR and a .311/.372/.503 slash line. Michael Brantley is one of the best hitters in baseball and he doesn’t strikeout. He is going to be a real tough out for Glasnow today.
Both of these teams have really good bullpens. The Rays will trot out Colin Poche, Ryan Yarbrough, Emilio Pagan, and Chaz Roe. All four are capable of getting outs in high leverage situations. Roe’s slider is a thing of beauty. The Astros have three elite guys in Ryan Pressly, Roberto Osuna, and Will Harris. These three might make up the best back end of a bullpen in the Major Leagues.
I think the Astros are the best team in the MLB. Personally I think they are one of the best teams of all time. But I think this game is decided by a couple of solo shots because of the pitching matchup. I think this is Glasnow’s coming out party in a win or loss. I see this game ending in a 2-1 Houston wins with two dominate starting pitching performances.
Twins at Yankees
Two teams that love to hit bombs are playing in a small park. Paxton and Berrios are on the hill in a good but not great game one match up. I’m actually rooting for a shootout in this but I personally don’t like either team so at the end of the day I don’t care much about this game.
Jose Berrios, the Twins starter, has pretty electric stuff but his control can vanish at times. Look for a good curve and pretty electric change to generate some swings and misses today. Berrios went over 200 innings this year, so he has the ability to go deep into games. If he has his control working he has the ability to dominate an opposing team.
James Paxton is a lefty who loves to throw fastballs. His four-seam fastball and cutter make up most of the pitches he throws. I personally don’t love that approach against a Twins team who hunt fastballs to hit out of the park. The main thing for Paxton is going to be getting curveball over the plate and getting some strikeouts with it. If the Twins can sit on his fastball look for this one to get ugly.
Minnesota Twins Line Up
The Twinkies are looking to do one thing and that is to drive the ball out of the park. They had five guys go over 30 home runs while shattering baseball’s all-time team record. I see Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver having big games in this one. Cruz was quietly a top ten hitter in baseball this year hitting 41 bombs with a .311 batting average. It’ll be interesting to see if the Twins go with a right-handed heavy line up or not against the Paxton.
Yankees Line Up
The Yankees Line up is pretty dangerous in its own right. The foursome of Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge are as dangerous as they come. LeMahieu was an MVP candidate for most of the season and somehow hit 28 home runs this year. Torres crushed 38 bombs of his own. While Judge hit 27 and Sanchez 34 in 102 and 106 games respectively. In this park with these two power heavy line ups expect to give up runs.
Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rodgers give the Twins three top of the line arms to finish out games. All three of them have over 55 innings and ERA’s sub-three for the year. The Yankees might have to the best bullpen in all of baseball. Being able to throw Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman out there is a huge advantage. If that wasn’t enough you also have Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle as reinforcements.
I think James Paxton and Jose Berrios are both good but not great pitchers. Everyone knows Yankee Stadium is a launching pad, so I’m expecting some runs. I could see Berrios getting hot and striking out a bunch of Yankees in a row but I think this game comes down to the bullpens. Honestly, the series probably comes down to the bullpens and the Twins have a good one. The Yankees pen is elite though and I think that’s the difference.