October is here, and that means playoff baseball is back. While my Toronto Blue Jays aren’t in the mix this year, the MLB playoffs never fail to disappoint. While we’re just minutes away from the first pitch of the AL Wild Card Game, I’m going to quickly give my predictions on how the postseason will play out.
AL Wild Card Game: #4 Yankees vs. #5 Twins
I’ve got the Yankees defeating the Twins by a pretty good margin tonight, because of two key players for me. Number one, is Luis Severino, who is taking the mound tonight for the Yankees. He’s in the discussion for the AL Cy Young this year, and I think he’s going to be brilliant tonight in front of his home crowd. The second key player, is Miguel Sano. The Twins slugger is not in the line-up tonight, and it will prove costly going up against a red hot Aaron Judge and Severino. Maybe if Byron Buxton or Brian Dozier has a big game the Twins can make something happen, but my money is on the Yankees.
NL Wild Card Game: #4 Diamondbacks vs. #5 Rockies
If this game was being played at Coors Field, I might have more faith in the Colorado Rockies upsetting the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the stars have simply aligned for the DBacks in this situation, and with home field, and Zack Grienke on the mound, there’s no way the Rockies hitters will be able to keep up with Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. Regardless, I believe this wild card game will be more entertaining than the AL side.
AL Divisional: #2 Astros vs. #3 Red Sox
Since we got a nice preview of the series last week, this prediction isn’t too hard for me. The Astros took 3 of 4 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and really got to the Red Sox pitchers, including Chris Sale, who’s been off his game lately, and he picked a bad time to lose his mojo. With Carlos Correa back in the line-up, and recently acquired Justin Verlander on the hill with an already deep rotation, the Astros are all in, and with the Red Sox ace currently in a slump, and the Red Sox hitters not being able to make up for it, I believe the Astros will make fairly quick work of the Red Sox.
Winner: Astros in 4
NL Divisional: #2 Nationals vs. #3 Cubs
Ah, the Washington Nationals. So dominant, so stacked. Then, the postseason rolls around. I wish I could say I’d have more faith in the Nats, but I simply can’t put any trust into that team after the last 5 years of watching them crumble in the playoffs. I’ll go ahead and say that the Nationals give the Cubs a run for their money, but with the Cubs coming off a World Series Championship last year, I believe the Cubbies will come through in the clutch and take the Divisional Series in 5 games. Also, I think that after a fairly slow regular season, the 2017 postseason will be a Kris Bryant show. Just a feeling.
Winner: Cubs in 5
AL Divisional: #1 Indians vs. #4 Yankees
I’m not super high on the Cleveland Indians this year, not sure why, after they went out and won 22 straight games in September, but I just don’t know. I always get the feeling that the teams who go out and do something incredible in the regular season never keep it up once the playoffs roll around, (2016 Warriors, anyone?) Regardless, I’ll say the Indians take down the Yankees in 4, simply because of the Yankees’ lack of depth down the rotation, and I feel the bats will go cold against the likes of Corey Kluber and company. Still, a building block season for the young Yankees, who will definitely be back in 2018, as AL East Division champs.
Winner: Indians in 4
NL Divisional: #1 Dodgers vs. #4 Diamondbacks
There’s no better team in the majors than the Los Angeles Dodgers, simply put. Their roster is absolutely star studded from top to bottom, hitters to pitchers. While you can almost make the same case for the Dodgers as you can the Nationals, I believe the postseason jitters that have haunted Clayton Kershaw will be out the window this year. With Kershaw, Darvish and Wood all on top of their game, the DBacks hitters come up empty through 3 games, and with a couple timely hits from the likes of Bellinger and Turner, the Dodgers breeze through the divisional series.
Winner: Dodgers in 3
AL Championship: #1 Indians vs. #2 Astros
This is going to be a war, and I can’t wait. I believe these two teams match up very well, and it will be the series of the playoffs in terms of “wow” moments and theatrics. As I said earlier, I’m not super high on the Indians coming into the playoffs, so I’ve actually got the Astros upsetting the Indians in Game 7 at Progressive Field. As much as I want my guy Edwin Encarnacion to win a ring, it’s not the year for the Tribe. Again, with Correa on fire, Altuve, Verlander and Keuchel all doing their thing, the Astros win their first AL Championship banner, and make their first World Series appearance since 2005.
Winner: Astros in 7
NL Championship: #1 Dodgers vs. #3 Cubs
Another great series, some may take the Cubs simply because of the experience and the fact that they’re the defending champs. However, the Dodgers pure talent is what will see them through to the World Series. While Bryant, Rizzo and the rest of the Cubs will put up a good fight, it’ll simply come down to firepower in the later stages of the series, and the Dodgers simply have too many weapons to deal with. Again, another great series, but the Dodgers will make their first World Series appearance since 1988, and will look to bring home their 7th title in team history.
Winner: Dodgers in 6
World Series: #1 Dodgers vs. #2 Astros
I don’t believe this year’s World Series will live up to the 2016 series, simply because there’s too many “OMG” moments from the Cubs/Indians series last year to count, but it also won’t be a snoozefest. This is another series that stacks up so well in terms of key matchups, and the atmosphere in both teams’ stadiums will be absolutely insane. While I’m a huge fan of the roster the Astros have put together this season, there’s simply no stopping the Dodgers in a 7 game series with the pitching rotation that they’re running. I’ve got the Dodgers taking the World Series, their first in 29 years, in 6 games over the Astros. In terms of postseason MVP, I’ll take Justin Turner. I feel like his stats won’t be out of this world, but he’ll come up with all the clutch hits throughout the playoffs and put his team over the hump.
Winner: Dodgers in 6
Disagree? You probably do. Feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me @tbennz. Happy October!