AL Wild Card Game: Twins at Yankees (Santana vs. Severino)
The Yankees are clearly the better all-around team in this game, but the beauty of baseball is that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. Yankees fans may get upset if they lose this game because in they won’t believe it to be fair that they lose their entire season on one game, but I say “boo hoo;” win your division and you won’t have to worry about the one-game playoff. I see this game being close, but the Yankees bullpen shuts it down after an early exit from Severino. It’s been a good season for the Twins, but I don’t believe their bullpen can contain the red-hot Yankees lineup even if Santana pitches well.
Prediction: Yankees 4-Twins 2
NL Wild Card Game: Rockies at Diamondbacks (Gray vs. Greinke)
This game might not be a thriller. Greinke has been great all season, and Charlie Blackmon/Nolan Arenado aside, the Rockies offense has not been very good this season. I expect Blackmon and Arenado to make a splash, but I think Greinke shuts down the rest of the Rockies and the Rockies questionable pitching cannot contain the D-Backs.
Prediction: Diamondbacks 6-Rockies 1
ALDS: Yankees vs. Indians
This would be, in my opinion, the most (or top-3) fun-to-watch series the playoffs could offer. These two teams match up very well and while the Indians have been dominant, this Yankees team could very easily be the team to dethrone them off their AL Champion crown. There would be bullpens galore in this series as these two teams have (not arguably) the two best bullpens in baseball, and two managers who are not afraid to use them. It will be hard for either team to build momentum in this series because of their dominant bullpens, but I believe the Indians have a deeper lineup and will find a scrappy way to advance to the ALCS. I call Indians in a very close 5 games.
Prediction: Indians in 5
ALDS Red Sox vs. Astros
This series might not be extremely entertaining to watch as the Red Sox will throw out a lot of lefties, and the Astros are built to mash lefties. Sale might be the only one able to contain this lineup, and I believe the Astros can be Sale’s kryptonite and might rock him. I expect Carlos Correa to have a bit of a coming out party this postseason and continue to force himself into the best SS in the game discussion. I can see the Astros sweeping this series, but I believe their pitching will let them down at least once and then they will settle down and retain their 2017 dominance.
Prediction: Astros in 4
ALCS Astros vs. Indians
I hope to see this series happen, as it would be extremely entertaining to see all the young talent on the field on baseball’s biggest stage slug it out. Imagine seeing Lindor take on Correa, Springer, Bregman, and co. The Indians right-handed heavy rotation could potentially cause some problems for the right-handed loaded Astros lineup however. I can see Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, AND Bauer shutting down the Astros (except Altuve, who I would expect to hit against any pitcher in the league). Add in the Indians loaded bullpen and extreme depth, and I believe the Indians just have too much firepower for the Astros and will return to the World Series in hopes of sweet redemption.
Prediction: Indians in 6
NLDS Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
As we turn our attention back to the NL, this will be an extremely good series as this Diamondbacks team has dominated the Dodgers all season, and for good reason. The D-Backs matchup very well with the Dodgers, and could very well put up the surprise of the postseason by knocking off this Dodgers team. While I do believe the Dodgers are the better all-around team, I think this Diamondbacks team might just have what it takes to pull off the upset. HOWEVER, I think if Clayton Kershaw can pull off a 2014 Madison Bumgarner-type performance, which I think he finally will pitch like he’s capable of this postseason, then the Dodgers will pull this one off. Yu Darvish is also going to be a key factor in the Dodgers playoff run, he has struggled all season, but if he finds the right stuff, he can be shut down and can propel the Dodgers to have the best rotation in the playoffs. Overall, I believe the D-Backs can and just may pull off this upset, but I have to go with my gut and go with the Dodgers.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5
NLDS Cubs vs. Nationals
This will be one of the most entertaining series of the playoffs. This is going to be a really tough, hard fought series. Expect the young superstars (Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper) to shine bright in this series. Both being extra motivated in their respective ways, I can see both of these guys putting together a historic slugfest of the back-and-forth variety. I want to put a spotlight on Bryce Harper for a second though. This postseason is the perfect time for Bryce to solidify himself as a Top-3 player in the MLB. When he’s on, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best in the game, but after his 2015 MVP, his 2016 was not very good. Now, when he returned to form in 2017, he got injured and missed significant time. I know he could not control the injury, but stars need to shine the brightest on the big stage, and this postseason needs to be the time Bryce Harper steps up and leads the Nationals to glory. I believe Harper will step up to the task and deliver in a huge way, leading the Nationals to the NLCS. Sorry Cubs fans, but I believe the magic has run out.
Prediction: Nationals in 4
NLCS Nationals vs. Dodgers
The matchup in this series would favor the Dodgers with all their lefties versus the Nationals lefties in their lineup (Harper, Murphy, Lind). But, for some reason I just don’t trust the Dodgers to continue their first ¾ of the season dominance. Their performance in the last month or two of the season was extremely worrisome, and should not just be brushed aside. Kershaw will dominate this postseason, as will Scherzer if healthy, but I don’t believe the rotation behind Kershaw will deliver, and I trust the Nationals staff behind Scherzer more than the staff behind Kershaw. Although the matchups do not favor Harper, I expect him to shine bright in the playoffs, and will lead the Nationals to the World Series.
Prediction: Nationals in 6
World Series- Nationals vs. Indians
The moment you’ve all been waiting for: The World Series prediction. Let’s break down the advantages one-by-one:
- Lineup vs RHP: Nationals; Harper, Murphy, Turner, Lind, Zimmerman all very good against RHP
- Lineup vs LHP: Indians; Lindor, Santana, Encarnacion, Ramirez all great against RHP (with exception of Encarnacion, all switch hitters here)
- Bench: Indians; Zimmer, Naquin, Jackson, Diaz, whoever else makes the postseason roster, make a formidable combo off the bench
- Starting Pitchers: Nationals; Over the regular season, the Indians pitching staff was one of the best staffs in MLB history, but over the course of a 7-game series, I have to go with the even scarier staff of Scherzer, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Roark.
- Bullpen: Indians; Andrew Miller, enough said.
I can see this series playing out in all kinds of ways, but I’m going to go with the Nationals here. I see Harper balling out of control on his way to a WS MVP. I see Scherzer throwing 15 or so lights out innings, along with Strasburg tossing 13+ of his own lights out stuff. The Indians are better against LHP, but it will be Harper and the Nationals strong RHP that win them the World Series.
Prediction: Nationals in 6
Article by John Sanchez