After a long six months, the MLB is down to the final ten teams. The best part of the baseball season has arrived and there is no shortage of storylines.
Can the Chicago Cubs repeat as World Series Champions?
With the Cubs winning last season, the Cleveland Indians now hold the longest World Series drought (68 seasons), is this the year that they also break the streak?
Can the rapidly rebuilt New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins come from the Wild Card to win the World Series a few years sooner than many thought they would even be in contention?
Can the Los Angeles Dodgers finally put it all together to win the World Series after being the best team in baseball for most of the year?
Can the Washington Nationals, one of only two franchises never to make the World Series (Seattle Mariners are the other), actually make it to the final series of the season?
In a few short weeks, we will have the answers to all of these questions, but until then, here is how I see the postseason playing out this October (and maybe November?):
Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees: I’m taking the Yankees in this one. The Yankees have not been kind to the Twins in the postseason. They have faced four times and the Yankees are 12-2 in those games, including sweeps in the 2009 and 2010 Divisional series. Although, I am a believer that historical comparisons like this are not completely relevant to the current match-up since the players and circumstances are different, it is something to note. The Yankees are just too deep and too hot at the moment.
New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians: I don’t think this is going to be a lopsided series. The Yankees 2-5 regular season record against the Indians doesn’t necessarily mean anything come the playoffs (the 2015 Cubs were 7-0 against the Mets before getting swept in the NLCS), but the fact that the Yankees will need to use Severino in the Wild Card Game, hurts their chances. The Indians had the best pitching staff (ERA) and their staff had the most strikeouts during the regular season. Their pitching should neutralize the Yankees offense. I’m taking the Indians.
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros: The Red Sox have a top 5 pitching staff in the MLB this season, but the Astros have the best offense (Runs, RBI, AVG, OPS). The addition of Justin Verlander, who has been pitching in his MVP-form lately, by the Astros sways this. The Red Sox won’t be able to score enough, I’m taking the Astros.
Astros at Indians: The best hitting team (Astros) vs the best pitching team (Indians). They say pitching wins in the postseason, and I am sticking with that narrative. Add to the fact that the Indians’ offense is no joke either (6th in Runs, 7th in RBI, 5th in AVG, 2nd OPS), and I’m taking the Indians.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks: Another hitting (Rockies) vs pitching (Diamondbacks) classic. The NL West was by far the best division in baseball this season and the beginning portion of the NL postseason will see the NL West settle the score for NL West dominance. Since this is one game and it is in Arizona, I’m taking the Diamondbacks.
Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers: If there is any team the Dodgers didn’t want to face in the postseason, the Diamondbacks would be them. The Diamondbacks have shown that they can hang with the Dodgers, winning the season series 11-8. The Diamondbacks may have to use Zach Greinke in the Wild Card game, but Robbie Ray has quietly had a dominant season. The Diamondbacks had the #3 pitching staff in MLB (Dodgers were #2). Clayton Kershaw weirdly has postseason jitters (4.55 career ERA in 18 games, 14 starts compared to a masterful career 2.36 regular season ERA). Add in the trade for J.D. Martinez, who has been hotter than hot to end the season, and I’m taking the Diamondbacks.
Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals: Unfortunately for the Nationals, this season is also going to end in disappointment. The Cubs were the best team in the NL during the second half (49-25), Bryce Harper is just getting back from injury and Max Scherzer injured his hamstring and is questionable. All this adds up to an early exit for the Nationals, I’m taking the Cubs.
Diamondbacks at Cubs: If any team can quiet the Cubs hot second half which has been led by hot hitting, it’s the Diamondbacks’ rotation. The Diamondbacks were overshadowed by the Dodgers all season, but they are a solid team across the board (#3 in ERA, #7 in OPS). I’m taking the Diamondbacks to end the Cubs’ bid for the first World Series repeat since the Yankees’ dynasty in 1998-2000.
Diamondbacks at Indians: The Indians came about as close as you can to winning the World Series last year, and I think they are even better this season. Their rotation is great, their bullpen is dominant, they can hit and you can argue that they have one of, if not, the best manager in the game. They didn’t win 22 games in a row by accident. I’m taking the Indians to end their 68 year drought.
AL Wild Card: Yankees over Twins
ALDS: Indians over Yankees
ALDS: Astros over Red Sox
ALCS: Indians over Astros
NL Wild Card: Diamondbacks over Rockies
NLDS: Diamondbacks over Dodgers
NLDS: Cubs over Nationals
NLCS: Diamondbacks over Cubs
World Series: Indians over Diamondbacks
How do you see the MLB Postseason going?