The best time of the year is finally here. It’s not because hockey is starting. It’s not because basketball is starting. It’s most definitely not because football is rolling on. The MLB Playoffs will be underway tonight as the Rockies visit the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card game, and the games will continue until early November. Here is how the Postseason will play out.
NL Wild Card Game: Rockies @ Cubs
The Rockies are a fantastic story. In mid-June, they had to make a decision whether to stick with the current roster or retool for next year as the current team was currently sitting at .500. The good news for Colorado: they chose to stay the course and it got them into the Wild Card Game for the second straight year. The bad news? They go up against the battle-tested Chicago Cubs and Jon Lester, a proven postseason ace, in the one-game playoff.
The Rockies have their ace going for this winner-take-all game in Kyle Freeland. Freeland is very underrated and would give the Rockies a good chance at taking down the Cubs, but he last pitched Friday. Freeland has not pitched on short rest at all this season and will also be on the road where he hasn’t been as sharp as he has been at Coors Field. Expect the Cubs to head to Milwaukee for an NL Central showdown in the NLDS.
Winner: Chicago Cubs
AL Wild Card Game: A’s @ Yankees
This game is incredibly tough to predict because the A’s have not yet announced a starter to go up against Luis Severino. Despite this, the Yankees will have the advantage no matter who they put on the hill.
The A’s won 97 games without a true ace this year, and one will not emerge out of nowhere in the Wild Card game. For Oakland to win they have to get a lead early and rely on their bullpen to do what they have done all year and lock down a lead.
At the beginning of the year, I said the Yankees would beat the A’s in the Wild Card game, but I have to switch up my prediction. Although the Yankees have the advantage in starting pitching, I don’t think that they can keep down a very strong A’s lineup for very long. The Yankees bullpen has had its struggles in big games this year, so expect Oakland to continue their miracle season and win in the Bronx much like the Astros did 3 years ago.
Winner: Oakland A’s
NLDS: Dodgers vs Braves
Imagine telling someone during last season’s World Series that the NL Champion Dodgers would be traveling to Atlanta for the first round of the playoffs. Nobody would have believed that the upstart Braves would be hosting a playoff series in the 2018 playoffs, but here we are.
Atlanta has all of the pieces in place to win a playoff series, and were just a few wins away from having home-field advantage for the entire NL Playoffs. Unfortunately for Atlanta, they are running into the Dodgers, who have advantages everywhere. The Dodgers have studs at the top of the rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, who pitched an incredible start in yesterday’s tiebreaker game against Colorado, and they have proven postseason players as the majority of the team was on last year’s World Series team. This will be a fun series that may even go the distance, but will be too much for a young Braves team to handle. Expect the Dodgers to move on in four games.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers
NLDS: Brewers vs Cubs
What a series this is gonna be. The two best teams in the national league going at it in a five-game set. The baseball world will likely be blessed with five hard-fought games between the Brewers and the Cubs.
Advantage? Brewers. The Cubs will barely have had any rest before the first game of the series on Thursday, already putting them at a disadvantage. The Brewers will be able to set up their rotation how they please and will have Josh Hader and their lights out bullpen on full rest ready to match up against the Cubs bats. If the Brewers are winning after even just five innings, I can’t see the Cubs touching the back end of the bullpen. Expect a fantastic five-game set that will no doubt be tension filled and very good for baseball that the underdog Brewers will take to move on.
Winner: Milwaukee Brewers
ALDS: A’s vs Red Sox
Another fantastic match up this time in the American league. Luckily for Boston fans, they will finally get the monkey that is not winning a postseason series off their back. Oakland’s bullpen is scary, as are Khris Davis and Matt Olsen on offense. There is no reason that this shouldn’t be a five-game series, but the Red Sox are just too good. Although they struggled with Oakland this year, the A’s have nobody to match Chris Sale or a good David Price. When Rick Porcello is on his game, he is the Cy Young winner who one-hit the Yankees, and when Nathan Eovaldi is on, he is three-hitting them. The Sox bullpen should be better than it was during the regular season thanks to adding some of their starters to the mix. Expect the Sox to take leads early thanks to a strong offense and keep it. Sox in 5.
Winner: Boston Red Sox
ALDS: Indians vs Astros
This was the matchup the majority of MLB fans wanted in last year’s ALCS. Instead, they get in in the ALDS this year. The defending World Series champion Astros have a very tough opponent in the Indians, who have been to multiple postseasons in the last few years, but now have the longest World Series drought in MLB (for a team that has won at least once), since they haven’t won it all since 1948.
Cleveland has two AL MVP candidates and two CY Young candidates giving them some sort of advantage. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the Astros also have two CY Young candidates and a very talented lineup. This series will go five games as well and will no doubt come down to the bullpens. The Indians beefed up their bullpen at the trade deadline and that is what will push them over the edge in this series. The Astros could easily prove me wrong and go back to back, but the official prediction here is Indians in 5.
Winner: Cleveland Indians
NLCS: Dodgers vs Brewers
Another series that will be fantastic for baseball. America will certainly be rooting for MVP Christian Yelich and the Brew Crew against the reigning NL Champ Dodgers, and they will get their way. The Brewers can match the depth the Dodgers have in the field and are better then them in the bullpen. The Brewers pen will be what they need to power them to the 2018 World Series. Brewers in 6.
Winner: Milwaukee Brewers
ALCS: Indians vs Red Sox
One of the most evenly-matched series in recent memory. Both teams have former CY Young award winners and CY Young candidates for this year. Both teams have 2 AL MVP candidates. Both teams have had bullpen struggles at times this season but both have lockdown guys in the back end. This series should go the distance, but the Indians will end up taking it in the end. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will be too much for the Red Sox pitchers to handle. Once again, the Sox could very easily prove me wrong and win the whole thing just like the Astros could but the official prediction here is Indians in 7.
Winner: Cleveland Indians
World Series: Brewers vs Indians
The Brewers are great. The Indians are fantastic. To make it to the championship, the Indians will have had to go through the Astros and then the Red Sox, so they will be incredibly battle-tested come November. The Brewers, in fairness, would have gone through both of last year’s NLCS contestants to get to the promised land, but in the end, Cleveland will be too much to handle. The Indians will win their first World Series since 1948. Indians in 6.
Winner: Cleveland Indians