It is fall, and the end of the long 2018 baseball season has arrived. October baseball is here and the excitement is mounting as we had not one but two tie breakers in the NL, before even seeing the Wild Card games. Here is a short preview and a little prediction of what I believe may occur over the next few weeks and who we can expect to see take home the win in the Fall Classic.
Let’s start with the AL, as the entries into the postseason this year have been known for quite some time. The AL East was locked down by the Red Sox, they did not falter at all this season and took home the best record in MLB with 108 victories. Only in the AL East would winning 100 games get you second place. That is exactly where the Yankees find themselves, as they will play in the Wild Card game against the surprising Oakland Athletics. On the other side of the bracket we see the Cleveland Indians who won their division again. They are hoping to finally make a push to win a World Series, their window is slowly starting to close with an aging core. The Houston Astros and defending champions round out the AL playoff participants and look primed to make a run at a back to back titles.
Looking at the wild card game in the AL the Yankees are heavily favored over the Athletics, but don’t expect Oakland to just roll over and give the Yankees the game. Anything can happen in a one game playoff. You get a hot pitcher or a few errors in the wrong spot and and an upset can happen in a heartbeat. Since it is only one game I am giving this game to the Athletics, something tells me the Yankees won’t be able to dominate and if the A’s can shut down Stanton and Judge – the power in the middle of the lineup, then I can see Oakland winning. The Yankees have a bit of a deeper lineup and some more power but I think Oakland is better managed and faces way less pressure than the Yankees who have home field advantage in this game. Anything but a dominant victory would be considered failure for the 100 win Yankees. My prediction is the Oakland Athletics move on to face Boston in the ALDS.
This is as far as I have the Oakland Athletics going in the MLB postseason, the Red Sox are just too strong top to bottom pitching and hitting. I don’t see this series lasting very long and I would not be shocked to see a Red Sox sweep. However, I will give the A’s at least one game and say the Red Sox win this series 3-1. I don’t see the Athletics getting enough hitting and offence against the stellar arms the Red Sox will throw at you in Sale, Price and Porcello. That is a tough rotation to face, getting enough offence to get three wins will be extremely difficult, therefore I believe the Red Sox move onto the ALCS with relative ease.
The other ALDS will see the defending champion Houston Astros take on the Cleveland Indians. Houston needs no introduction as they have almost the same roster, maybe even a little deeper than the team that won the World Series last year. They have had some poor moments this season but not enough for them to go down easy. The Cleveland Indians played .500 baseball in September and have not shown too much drive to prove they are a true competitor to challenge in the postseason. Even with the addition of Donaldson I do not think the Indians are strong enough to take down the defending champions. The Astros have a deeper lineup and I believe with Altuve, Bregman, Springer, Gurriel and Gattis that Houston has more than enough offence in this series. My prediction is a 3-2 series win for Houston as I believe it will still be an extremely close series.
This brings us to the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. I’m not exactly sure if there is anything slowing down Boston at this point. The Red Sox have been non-stop all season and have had very few losing streaks, if any. I don’t see them slowing down here nor do I see them being scared of the defending champions. This will be a tough series on both sides but I think the Red Sox will tire Houston out with their pitching depth and their extremely deep offensive lineup and take the series in 6. This will give the Red Sox entry to their 13th World Series, with the potential to win their 9th title.
Looking at the NL now, I had to wait a bit to write this section as two of the three divisions needed tiebreak games before the entries to the wild card game were decided. Here is how it all breaks down. The Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies both lost their division tie break games and will see themselves in the NL Wild Card game. I don’t know what to call here. It could be very close, but my prediction is the Rockies will pull this one out. I haven’t been sold on the Cubs this season, or their ability to come up clutch when needed. I think Colorado has had one crazy season and I do not think it will end with the Wild Card game. My feeling is Trevor Story will carry his team to an NLDS appearance.
The Colorado Rockies will then have a tough task as they will have to take on the Milwaukee Brewers and the likely NL MVP Christian Yelich. Yelich has not slowed down and is on a mission to help this team make some noise in the postseason. Including the tiebreak game the Brewers are on an 8 game winning streak, and have hot bats. They’ve scored 6 or more runs in 6 of those 8 games. They do give up runs, but they can out hit almost any team in the NL. The Rockies have been up and down going into the postseason and lost their division title. I don’t think the Rockies will have an answer for the hot Brewers and will fall in this series 3-1.
The other NLDS is very interesting as the LA Dodgers who won their 6th straight division title will take on the surprisingly young Atlanta Braves. It is a tale of two teams – The Dodgers who are the veteran team, that has come close but not close enough and The Braves who are young and coming up to compete with the big boys. Everything in me says to take the experience and leadership of the Dodgers but another part really thinks the lack of pressure might be exactly what the Braves need to win this series. I also believe the Braves have a more consistent pitching staff and will have the edge in that department. I have not been sold on the Dodgers all season as I believe they are aging and don’t have much time left to win a World Series. In my opinion that opportunity has passed and they are lucky to even be in the postseason right now as they got hot at the right time. My prediction is the Braves win in 5 games 3-2.
The NLCS will have two teams that no one expected to see in this position. The Atlanta Braves will take on the Milwaukee Brewers. They have both surprised the league, no one even remotely expected this. THIS is what October baseball is all about. I believe the Brewers will win this series as they have a stronger team, and it seems as though can do no wrong right now. It will be a good experience for the young Braves but their time will come in the future. The Brewers will win this series in 5 games and will appear in their first World Series since 1982 when they were still in the American League.
Now it’s what we’ve been waiting for all season – the World Series! My prediction is the Boston Red Sox will take on the Milwaukee Brewers. This seems likes a David and Goliath type of tale as the Brewers face what may be an impossible task. I don’t exactly think the Brewers will roll over and die but I don’t see them beating the Red Sox. The Red Sox as mentioned previously are the best team in baseball, and even as hot as the Brewers have been I doubt they will be able to slow down Boston. Boston has better pitching, a deeper lineup, and a better defensive squad overall. The Red Sox will also have home field advantage and obviously are way more comfortable playing with the Green Monster. Could I be wrong? Absolutely, the Red Sox could fail and not play very well in the postseason, but they are just built to win. I think the Cinderella story of the Brewers will end and they will fall in 6 games in the Fall Classic to the Red Sox.
Since the season started all I’ve thought about is “who could beat the Red Sox?” I have yet to think of any team that could beat them in a series, especially one that will go seven games. I’ve finally figured it out, the only team that will beat the Red Sox are the Red Sox themselves. As cliche as that may seem, the Red Sox will only lose if their pitching is poor (I am looking at you David Price) and if their deep lineup can’t pick up the extra run when needed. My prediction is that lead by Martinez and Betts the Red Sox will be lifting their 9th World Series title come the end of this month.
That’s it, those are are my predictions for this postseason, if you have any sort of disagreement or think I may have overlooked a team, I would love to hear it. I can’t wait to see what unfolds, I am expecting the unexpected this October.