An exciting start to the 2016 MLB postseason should have fans ready for even more in the coming days.

The Toronto Blue Jays became the first big winner of October when Edwin Encarnacion hit a walk-off home run to seal a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Wild Card Game. It took 11 innings to decide the one-game battle, with plenty of drama on both sides.

Still, the playoffs are just getting started, with a handful of battles likely to go down to the wire. Here is a look at some of the upcoming matchups to watch as the postseason continues.


National League Wild Card

San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets

The second winner-take-all game of the week, the NL Wild Card Game is even more heavily anticipated thanks to the pitching matchup.

Noah Syndergaard gets the ball for the New York Mets after an outstanding year in which he ranked in the top five in the NL in ERA (2.60) and strikeouts (218). Of course, San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner also accomplished that feat with a 2.74 ERA and 251 strikeouts. He also pitched 43 more innings than his upcoming opponent.

While Syndergaard performed well in his first taste of the playoffs last year, he can’t even approach what Bumgarner has done in his career, tallying a 2.14 career postseason ERA in 14 appearances. He already has three World Series titles in his career, winning MVP in 2014.

John Buccigross of ESPN noted how good the southpaw has been on the road:

He also isn’t planning on holding back in the one-game series:

Bumgarner pitched a complete-game shutout in his last start in this round, so the Mets should be afraid.

Relying on lefties in the lineup such as Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and James Loney also won’t make it easy for New York to get runs against Bumgarner.

On the other side, Denard Span might have the biggest role on the team as a table-setter on top of the Giants lineup. If he can get on base, he can take advantage of Syndergaard‘s struggles at holding runners, quickly moving into scoring position.

This pitcher’s duel will likely come down to a handful of timely hits for either side, and San Francisco seemingly has a better chance to earn those big plays.

Game Prediction: Giants 2, Mets 1


American League Division Series

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

While pitching is the theme in the National League, the American League games will be decided by the hitters. This is bad news for the Cleveland Indians.

The Boston Red Sox had the top offense in baseball this season, averaging 5.4 runs per game while leading the majors with a .282 team batting average and .810 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal noted just how dominant the lineup was this season:

The depth has truly been incredible, with David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and others always being a threat to carry the offense on a given night.

Cleveland had a quality rotation during the season, but injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar create question marks. Corey Kluber is the only trustworthy option, and even he is coming off a quad injury.

It will be a real challenge for the Indians pitchers to keep the Red Sox from lighting up the scoreboard no matter who is on the mound.

Although Cleveland should feel more confident about its lineup than its pitching heading into the playoffs, even that group has been quiet as of late. With the exception of Carlos Santana, the offense has been quiet in September with just a .249 batting average as a team.

There are still major threats in the lineup, but not enough to frighten opposing pitchers. If Rick Porcello and David Price can get over their past struggles in the postseason, the Red Sox will win this series.

Series Prediction: Red Sox 3, Indians 1


Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers

The fans from both teams likely wanted this rematch.

Last year’s ALDS got ugly with fights, bat flips and plenty of drama, but the series will be decided by which team plays the best on the field.

We knew there would be a lot of home run threats no matter who won the AL Wild Card Game. Both the Orioles and the Blue Jays are heavily reliant on the long ball, and Toronto showed it by using a home run to pull out the win.

The question is whether the Texas Rangers can keep the ball in the park. Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are as talented a one-two combo as any pitching staff in baseball, but both have struggled down the stretch. Hamels had a 5.86 ERA in September while allowing five home runs in five starts. Darvish had a 4.40 ERA in the final month thanks mostly to seven earned runs allowed in a start against the Oakland Athletics.

With the Blue Jays’ middle of the order featuring Josh Donaldson, Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, it will be difficult to avoid giving up at least some runs.

Adding in just enough pitching to hold off a strong Rangers offense, Toronto has what it takes to pull off the upset.

This will be an emotional series with a lot of back-and-forth play and a whole bunch of runs, but the Blue Jays are built for a deep run in these playoffs.

Series Prediction: Blue Jays 3, Rangers 2


Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter.

Follow TheRobGoldberg on Twitter

Read more MLB news on