American League Division Series
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
The storied rivalry continues into October. This years ‘Bronx Bombers’ made a new record for home runs hit in a season by one team with 267. Enter Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton who will both be counted on a lot for the offensive punch and lineup protection. After Luis Severino, the rotation is a little dicey, but their bullpen is stacked at the back end. If need be, the Yankees will go to them often in close games for this series.
The Red Sox had the best record for almost the entire season and they amassed the most wins in a season in franchise history with 108. The most they had won before was 105 in 1912. Boston’s catalyst, Mookie Betts will need to be consistent for Boston to stay on a winning trend. If he goes cold, J.D. Martinez can’t be cold at the same time. Their rotation will keep them honest with Chris Sale and David Price at the top. Craig Kimbrel as the closer isn’t a bad thing either.
Yankees in 5 games
Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros
Cleveland’s rotation is setup perfectly for this series. Corey Kluber, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. All of them won 12 games or more. None of them had an ERA higher than 3.38. And they all had at least 200 strikeouts. Seeing them pitch against the Astros lineup will be must see tv. Francisco Lindor is their best hitter and he will be on base quite a bit.
Aside from the Red Sox, Houston was right at the top of the standings for most of the season. They had a few rough patches, but got past Oakland for the division title. Alex Bregman and George Springer were the constant forces in their lineup with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve dealing with injuries, but they are all healthy for October. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were outstanding all season and should continue that into this series.
Astros in 4 games
National League Division Series
Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers
They had a one game tiebreaker for the NL West against the Dodgers and lost. Then they had the Wild Card game with the Chicago Cubs and had to go into extra innings to beat them in Wrigley Field. Now they face the hottest team from September in Milwaukee. Colorado boasts a deep lineup that has Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story in the middle of it. Having a guy like Charlie Blackmon as your leadoff hitter isn’t bad either. Their rotation isn’t stacked, but they have a few good arms there in Kyle Freeland and German Marquez. Their bullpen is why they are back in the Postseason and Wade Davis has plenty of that October experience under his belt.
The Brewers dispatched the rival Chicago Cubs and they couldn’t get past the Wild Card game. Milwaukee’s lineup was solid for most of the season, but the moves they made before the July trade deadline have made their lineup into the best in the National League. Namely Mike Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop. Lest we forget the MVP caliber season of Christian Yelich who nearly won the triple crown. If he’s still on fire, look out. Lorenzo Cain and Moustakas both bring the experience of playing in two World Series with Kansas City. That will pay huge dividends. Milwaukee doesn’t have a bona fide ace in their staff, but the backend of the bullpen is among the best in baseball.
Brewers in 4 games
Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Don’t sleep on the upstart Braves. This team is legitimate and it starts with the likely NL Rookie of the Year in Ronald Acuna. He could likely get some MVP votes too. He was that good. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis have been solid cogs in the middle of this lineup that can score with the best. Their pitching staff doesn’t have the same household names of years past, but they put in quality start after quality start.
This Dodgers team is essentially the same as last years except they have Matt Kemp and Manny Machado. Not having Corey Seager hasn’t been good for them, but Machado has been up to the task of giving the middle of their lineup some protection. This is Justin Turner’s time to shine as he did last October. Clayton Kershaw is the ace and should set the tone every time he’s on the mound. Kenley Jansen has been in a funk this season, but he can’t have that get to him now.
Dodgers in 4 games