October has rolled around again, which means the MLB playoffs are beginning once again. As of press time, the Colorado Rockies have already defeated the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card game, 2-1 in 13 innings, and the New York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 in the American League Wild Card game. As a whole, the race for the championship is wide open, with no clear favorites in either league.
The NL pennant race will be very competitive, but for the wrong reason: none of the teams reached 100 wins in the regular season; for comparison, three teams in the AL finished with at least 100 wins. The NL features four decent teams vying for the right to play in the Fall Classic.
After winning their Wild Card game, the Rockies will face the Milwaukee Brewers in a matchup of relatively new playoff teams. For the Rockies, their pitchers exceeded expectations this year, as Kyle Freeland came out of nowhere to become one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Brewers, on the other hand, were led by their hitting, finishing with the fourth-most home runs with 218. Expect the Brewers to win this series in four games due to their outstanding hitting. The Rockies lack the necessary pitching depth to overcome the bats of the Brewers led by MVP-candidate Christian Yelich, who almost won the Triple Crown.
The Atlanta Braves shocked the world this year to win the NL East. They face the Los Angeles Dodgers, a perennial playoff contender who lost in seven games to the Houston Astros in the World Series last year. Even though the Dodgers have had many past October disappointments, expect them to squeak by the Braves in five games. The Braves’ youth will not be able to overcome the talent of the Dodgers.
The Boston Red Sox finished the regular season with the best record in the MLB at 108-54. They face the Yankees, who finished with 100 wins. This will be the most competitive matchup in the Divisional Round, as these two teams were two of the best hitting and pitching teams in MLB. It will also feature many of the biggest stars in the league, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton leading the Yankees and Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez pacing the Red Sox. This will be another upset, with the Yankees taking down their arch-rival in an instant classic finishing in four games.
The final matchup of the round features the Cleveland Indians against the Astros. I don’t see this being a very competitive series, as the Astros had the best ERA in the league and a top ten scoring offense. Expect a three-game sweep from the reigning world champions.