NL Wild Card Pick

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'll take Arrieta.

This is fairly close to my thought process from yesterday - in a coin flip, I'll take the better arm.

Arrieta was the second best pitcher in baseball this season; I can't pick against him in a one game situation.  The Pirates were a little better than the Cubs this year; the Cubs have the two best 2015 position players on the field (both Rizzo and Bryant had better seasons than McCutchen) and when you add Russell and Schwarber, they're (like Houston) the team you'd rather watch this October.

There's no way on earth I'd bet this game.

Cole was a top ten pitcher in all of MLB this season; the Pirates have the better late end bullpen, and the Cubs are a little too feast or famine offensively (lot of homers, lot of strikeouts) to profile as a team likely to go deep in the tournament.  Pittsburgh lost this same game, at home, last year - and while that type of experience is a pretty thin metric, when predicting the outcome of a single game, particularly a game as tight on so many sides as is this, you notice that it's on the scale.

I've gone back and forth; there's obviously a Go Cubs narrative that is likely to take hold the further they advance and it's important not to let that cloud thinking.  There aren't a ton of ex-Giants in this postseason, but Morse and Ishikawa (if he makes the roster) are both in Pittsburgh, and I would definitely root for each in whatever spots they found themselves.

This is as narrow a pick as I can offer, at the end of the day, as did I with the AL game, I'll just take the better starting pitcher - right now, that's Arrieta so I'll say Cubs.

Full previews tomorrow; I alluded in the AL piece that I'd be picking Toronto, they're the best team - the NL is more challenging, the Cards were the best team in the regular season (but not by the margin the Jays were in the AL) and while the Jays today (Price) are better than the Jays have been throughout the season, injuries have roughed up St. Louis to the point where I'm inclined to pick the WC winner to beat them.  Impossible to pick against the Dodgers in their series given the strength of those two pitchers; after that it's hard to say.  From this spot, not knowing who comes out of the
WC, the pick is LA - but tomorrow, I might be inclined to say the winner of this game wins the pennant.

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