2023 MLB Wild Card Predictions
The 2023 MLB season is in the books. The Braves finished #1 in our Starting Nine but will they finish as the World Champions for the second time in three seasons? Let’s take a look at the playoff picture and I’ll give you my predictions for the wild card round.
AL Playoff Seedings
Baltimore Orioles AL East Champions 101-61 (wildcard bye)
Houston Astros AL West Champions 90-72 (wildcard bye)
Minnesota Twins AL Central Champions 87-75
Tampa Bay Rays #1 Wildcard 99-63
Texas Rangers #2 Wildcard 90-72
Toronto Blue Jays #3 Wildcard 89-73
AL Wildcard Round
#6 Toronto Blue Jays at #3 Minnesota Twins Best 2 out of 3
#5 Texas Rangers at #4 Tampa Bay Rays Best 2 out of 3
NL Playoff Seedings
Atlanta Braves NL East Champions 104-58 (wildcard bye)
Los Angeles Dodgers NL West Champions 100-62 (wildcard bye)
Milwaukee Brewers NL Central Champions 92-70
Philadelphia Phillies #1 Wildcard 90-72
Miami Marlins #2 Wildcard 84-78
Arizona Diamondbacks #3 Wildcard 84-78
NL Wildcard Round
#6 Arizona Diamondbacks at #3 Milwaukee Brewers Best 2 out of 3
#5 Miami Marlins at #4 Philadelphia Phillies Best 2 out of 3
AL Wildcard Round Predictions:
Minnesota Twins (800/2000) over the Blue Jays (700/1600) in three. The two teams have split their six meetings during the regular season. Game one starter Pablo Lopez is 1-0 against the Blue Jays this season but was roughed up for four runs including two home runs in his lone start in June against them. The Jays will likely counter with Gausman who beat the Twins this year in his lone start, lasting just 5.1 innings. Both teams are in a much different place than they were in June. The Jays have been painfully inconsistent with all the talent they possess while the Twins have gone 18-9 in September. Injuries to Carlos Correa and Royce Lewis will play a big role in this series. If they can deliver, the Twins will end their 18-game playoff losing streak and take this series in three games.
Take Minnesota in three games.
Tampa Bay (475/1000) over Texas (750/1600) in two games. The pitching woes for the Rangers will do this team in against the savvy Rays. The Rays are just 2-4 against the Rangers this season, including three straight losses but the last time these two teams met was in July. Since then, a lot has changed for both teams. The Rays lost their starting SS and two huge pieces of their starting rotation but still won 99 games. The Rangers made deals to net two starting pitchers but lost one, Max Scherzer, for the season. Texas finished strong to sneak into the playoffs but this was a team that was on a 100-win pace at one point. The Rangers need to outhit teams to win with a rotation that doesn’t get deep into games and a terrible bullpen. Unfortunately, they face a Rays team that can hit anyone. Tampa Bay will win in two straight thanks to the same formula they always use: aggressive baserunning, home runs, and a dominant bullpen.
Take Tampa in two games.
NL Wildcard Round Predictions:
Milwaukee Brewers (800/1700) over Arizona Diamondbacks (1300/3000) in three games. This might be the best series of all four wildcard matchups. The Brewers have one of the best rotations in the playoffs while the Diamondbacks’ top two starters are as good as any team’s in the playoffs. The Brewers are just 2-4 against Arizona this season but the two teams haven’t met since June. At that time, the Brewers were battling just to get on top in the NL Central Division while the surprising Diamondbacks were in first place in the NL West Division. The Brewers settled down since then and have added some pieces to what was a struggling lineup in outfielder Mark Canha and DH/1B Carlos Santana. Starting pitchers Corbin Burnes, Rob Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta have the league’s best bullpen behind them. The Diamondbacks counter with Zack Gallen and Merrill Kelly in games one and two. The Brewers will gladly take a split and take a decided advantage in the pitching matchup in game three.
Take Milwaukee in three games.
Philadelphia Phillies (600/1300) over Miami Marlins (1400/3500) in three games. The Marlins actually won the season series over the Phillies 7-6. Philadelphia has taken four of the last seven games. Game one starter Zack Wheeler hasn’t earned a decision against the Marlins this season but has a 3.00 ERA in three starts against them. Marlins game one starter Jesus Luzardo is 2-0 against the Phils in two starts this season. In game two, the Phillies send out co-ace Aaron Nola to square off against Braxton Garrett of the Marlins. Garrett is 1-0 against Philadelphia but has a 5.40 ERA. Nola has been hit hard by the Marlins this year and is 0-2 against them. I like Wheeler to come through in game one but I think the Marlins will squeak out a win in game two. In the deciding third game, the Phillies will likely turn to righty Taijuan Walker to avoid putting a lefty up against a Marlins team that has hammered lefties. Walker will get it done and the Phils will advance, but barely.
Take Philadelphia in three games.
*All odds courtesy of Draftkings.com
By Mark Ruelle