There are just four teams left in the MLB playoffs after just two rounds of games. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox dispatched the Wild Card Game-winning New York Yankees in four games, and the Houston Astros swept the Cleveland Indians in the other division series. The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves in four games in the National League, and the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Colorado Rockies, Wild Card Game winners themselves.
Beginning with the American League Championship Series, it’s a battle of the top two regular season teams. The Red Sox won 108 games, the Astros won 103. This matchup will be a battle of the top offense and defense in baseball. The Red Sox led all teams with 5.41 runs per game, while the Astros have the lowest earned run average (ERA) at 3.11.
The Red Sox boast the two best players in terms of batting average and slugging percentage in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. On the offensive side for the Astros, Jose Altuve finished third in the league in batting average and Alex Bregman had the fourth best adjusted OPS in the league. The hitting advantage goes to the Red Sox.
However, the Astros have a dominant pitching staff that is deep and talented. Justin Verlander led the entire league in walks plus hits per innings pitched. Charlie Morton had the best winning percentage, and Gerrit Cole had the highest strikeouts per nine innings rate. The Red Sox have Chris Sale, an elite pitcher who has had outstanding years in the past, but their rotation as a whole isn’t very talented, but it is effective. Houston has the advantage here, though.
I predict this series will go seven games and is set to be both extremely competitive and entertaining. But, I have to lean with the team who has home field advantage. I have the Red Sox going to the World Series after winning the pivotal Game 7 at home.
The National League Championship Series is the lesser of the two series from an entertainment standpoint. The Brewers have the best player in the this series with probable NL MVP Christian Yelich and also have home field advantage. On the other hand, the Dodgers have the second best team ERA and the fifth best runs per game, both of which are better than the Brewers.
The Dodgers have immense talent all across the board and added Manny Machado earlier in the season to make another World Series run. While the Brewers had the better regular season, I hesitantly have to put my trust in the Dodgers and their huge payroll to return to the Fall Classic after a five game victory.
The battle of the East Coast and the West Coast will be a must-watch series, in as much as baseball can be a must-watch. I’ll stick with the team that took out my beloved Yankees. The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series in six games.