The ten best teams in Major League Baseball will face off in a playoff frenzy for the next month. It’s been a season to remember, with incredible performances all across the board- bet you didn’t expect Khris Davis to lead the league in dingers- and it was only fitting that the season would end in two tiebreakers. The Dodgers secured their sixth straight NL West banner by taking down the Rockies, and the red-hot Brew Crew beat the Cubs, and will face the winner of the Rockies-Cubs matchup in the NLDS. Here are my predictions for the MLB postseason.
NL Wild Card: Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs
Both the Rockies and Cubs had opportunities to win their respective divisions on Monday, but came up short and will now have to face each other in a win or go home game. It’s shaping up to be a premier pitching matchup as Kyle Freeland and Jon Lester will go toe to toe. Freeland has been phenomenal this year posting a 17-7 record with a 2.85 ERA and Lester has been hot in the month of September, averaging a 1.52 ERA. Although Freeland has been great throughout this season, he’s performed much better at home than on the road, and will be pitching on short rest as well. Per usual, the Rockies have been a much better hitting team at home than on the road, which will enable Lester to show out and send the Cubs to the NLDS.
Pick: Chicago Cubs
AL Wild Card: Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees
The Athletics have been the biggest surprise of the 2018 baseball season. After finishing in last place in the AL West the previous season, the A’s won 97 games in the regular season and proved to be one of the most dynamic teams in the league. Unfortunately, they’ll have to face the New York Yankees’ dangerous lineup in the first round. Signs point to the Athletics starting relief pitcher Liam Hendriks and playing the bullpen game. The Yankees have just announced that Severino will be toeing the rubber in this one-game playoff, and if he can pitch the way he was earlier in the season, the Yankees are sure to win. But if he’s looking shaky, the Athletic’s potent offense will pounce. Davis, as well as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Jed Lowrie will have to stay hot in order to give the A’s a shot. This game will feature debatably the two best bullpens in the league, and it seems like Oakland will be bringing in pitchers situationally throughout the game. With that being said, I think this contest will be close and low-scoring, and the A’s will squeak it out at Yankee Stadium.
Pick: Oakland Athletics
NLDS: Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Assuming Chicago pulls off a win against Colorado, they’ll have a chance for revenge against their division rival Milwaukee Brewers. Although Milwaukee beat Chicago in the last game of the season for the division crown, I believe the Cubs have the upper hand in a five-game series. The Brewers’ rotation is too shaky to trust against the prolific Cubs lineup that has plenty of experience in the playoffs. The Brewers’ dynamic lineup and impressive bullpen should win them a couple games, which is why I think it will take the Cubs five games to get the job done.
The top National League surprise Atlanta Braves will have an opportunity to advance to the NLCS for the first time since 2001, but will have to face a talented Dodgers ballclub. For similar reasons I believe the Cubs will prevail against the Brewers, I expect the Dodgers to have minimal problems putting the Braves away. The Dodgers’ rotation is deep and experienced, and the Braves may be without their starting shortstop Dansby Swanson who went down with an injured ligament in his hand last week. After acquiring both Manny Machado and Brian Dozier mid-season, the Dodgers seem poised for a deep playoff run with plenty of hitting and pitching depth. Dodgers sweep.
Picks: Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers
ALDS: Oakland Athletics vs. Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros
If Oakland is able to beat the Yankees on Wednesday, they’ll play the 108-win Boston Red Sox. As hard as it is to root against Oakland, it is extremely difficult to see them upsetting Boston. The Red Sox have been unbelievable this season displaying a deadly lineup top to bottom which includes two of the best hitters in the league, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. Not only is their lineup scary, but Boston features one of the best rotations in the American League. Chris Sale has led their rotation and has seemed close to unhittable since the all-star break. Boston wins in five.
In the other ALDS matchup, Cleveland and Houston will meet in a heavyweight clash. Both teams have had a plethora of postseason experience in recent years, but I see the Astros defeating the Indians. Houston has one of the deepest rotations I’ve seen in years, as Verlander, Cole, Morton, or Keuchel could be an ace on many major league teams. Cleveland has a great lineup, but it’s hard to see Houston losing with their starting pitching and home-field advantage. Houston wins in five.
Picks: Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros
NLCS: Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, ALCS: Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
In a potential rematch of last year’s NLCS, the Cubs will face off against the Dodgers. These teams are very similar. Both include a left-handed ace pitcher and a deep lineup. This matchup is a toss-up, but I think Los Angeles’ bullpen will be the deciding factor as Chicago’s has been inconsistent throughout the season. Los Angeles wins in seven.
To me, the Astros and the Red Sox are undoubtedly the two best teams in all of baseball, and a potential series including these two squads would be wildly entertaining. It’s unfortunate that one of these teams have to go home, but Houston has been my American League pick all season, so I’m going to stick with my gut and pick Houston to win in seven.
World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros
A rematch of last year’s world series seems realistic after following the 2018 season, and that’s my prediction going into the postseason. The American League has had stronger competition than the National League all year, which will play a factor in this year’s world series. The Houston Astros are the most well-rounded team in all of baseball and know how to win in the postseason. I think the difference between this years’ Houston squad and this years’ Los Angeles Dodgers team is much greater than it was last season. The Houston Astros will beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games and defend their world series title.
Pick: Houston Astros