Move over Reggie Jackson. There’s a new Mr. October in town.
Jackson earned his famous nickname by blasting postseason home runs for the New York Yankees in the late 1970s.
Now it’s Didi Gregorius who is leaving his mark on history with the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees shortstop hit a three-run home run to rally his club in the wild card game against the Minnesota Twins earlier this month.
In Game 5 of the deciding game of the ALDS, Gregorius smashed two homers off Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber to lift the Yankees past the Cleveland Indians and into the American League Championship Series.
The Chicago Cubs won Game 5 of the NLDS to eliminate the Washington Nationals. The defending World Series champions will now meet the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished the season with the best record in baseball, in the National League Championship Series.
Let’s take a look of both best-of-seven series and try to pick the teams that will meet in the World Series (odds provided by Betonline).
Astros Won Season Series Against Yankees
Get ready for a seven-game power play.
These two teams have some young stars, and they can hit. Springer, Altuve and Correa will go toe-to-toe with Judge, Sanchez and Gregorius.
The Astros won the season series 5-2, including 2-1 at Minute Maid Park, but the two teams haven’t met since the All-Star Break. The Astros outscored the Yankees 43-41 in those seven regular-season matchups — an average of 12 runs a game.
Dallas Keuchel, a former Cy Young winner, starts Game 1 for the Astros. Another former Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander heads to the mound in Game 2.
Houston dealt for Verlander minutes before the trade deadline and the former Detroit Tiger has been dominant in an Astros uniform.
He had two wins in the ALDS, one in relief, and he was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts with his new team at the end of the regular season.
Ken Giles, with 34 saves, leads a solid bullpen.
Masahiro Tanaka gets the call for New York in Game 1. He allowed three hits in seven innings in the best start of the playoffs for the Yankees. Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and C.C. Sabathia round out this staff.
Aroldis Chapman leads an excellent bullpen.
This is one area where the Yankees have an edge over the Astros.
Aaron Judge struck out an ALDS record 16 times — three more than the previous mark. Gary Sanchez whiffed 10 times. So, between these two sluggers, they struck out in more than half of their at-bats — 26 times in 51 plate appearances. But the pair also hit three of their team’s 10 home runs. Brett Gardner (.320) and Aaron Hicks (.318) were the only two Yankees to hit above .250 for the series.
Five regulars for the Astros hit .375 or better against the Red Sox — Jose Altuve (.533), Yuli Gurriel (.529), George Springer (.412), Evan Gattis (.400) and Josh Reddick (.375). Houston hit eight home runs in their four-game win over Boston.
They also scored 896 runs on 1,581 hits in the regular season — the top production in baseball. This is the best lineup in the game.
VGB’s pick — The Astros have too many weapons. Houston (-165)
Defending Champions Must be Exhausted
Despite issuing nine walks and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs scored a wild 9-8 victory Thursday and ousted the Nationals in the deciding game of the NLDS. Now, the defending champs meet a well-rested club in L.A. on Saturday.
The Dodgers, who will start arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw in Game 1, haven’t played in five days. The Cubs have had little time to rest. They are undecided on their starter for the opener since their entire staff pitched in the deciding game against the Nationals, didn’t they? Seven pitchers were needed to eliminate Washington, including a whopping 44 pitches by their closer Wade Davis.
The Dodgers dominated the six-game season series against the Cubs. L.A. won four of six games, including a three-game series sweep at home, and outscored Chicago 22-10. However, the two teams have not met since the end of May.
Against the Nationals, John Jay (.273) was the only player to hit above .235 for the Cubs. They hit .180 as a team for the series. The Dodgers hit almost .300 in their sweep over the Diamondbacks, including three starters (Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Logan Forsythe) hitting over .400.
All signs point to this series being over in a hurry.
VGB’s pick — The Cubs must be out of gas. Los Angeles (-190)