2018 MLB Championship Series Preview

Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox

It really wasn’t even close, but the defending champion Astros showed why they should still be considered the favorites with their sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series. Alex Bregman, Marwin Gonzalez and George Springer combined to drive in 12 runs and each batted .429 or better. This just shows the depth of their lineup when Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa didn’t have the best showings, but still contributed. Obviously it didn’t always fall on their lineup. Gerrit Cole was stellar in his lone start in the series striking out 12 in 7 innings. Justin Verlander struck out 7 in his 5-1/3 innings. Roberto Osuna has a grasp of the closer’s role since his arrival before the end of July. There doesn’t appear to be a glaring weakness for them going forward.

Boston rather easily dispatched the New York Yankees in 4 games. Chris Sale actually made a relief appearance in Game 4 to help finish off the Yankees. A bold, but necessary move by manager Alex Cora. The bullpen appears to be shaky with closer Craig Kimbrel having given up 3 runs in his two appearances, but managed to earn saves in both. Going forward can the Red Sox trust David Price as a starting pitcher given his dismal Postseason record as one? Their bats will have to match the run scoring prowess of the Astros. That starts with J.D. Martinez who drove in 6 runs against the Yankees. Mookie Betts needs to get going though. Currently he’s batting .188 with 2 RBIs in four Postseason games this year. If the bats stay silent, this will be a quick series.

Astros in 6 games

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers

There was some close calls with the Dodgers in their Division Series matchup with the Atlanta Braves, but they pulled through with a 4-game series win. Justin Turner was his usual self with a .357 batting average. Manny Machado and Max Muncy were the run producers with 10 combined RBIs. In a surprise coming off the bench, David Freese of St. Louis Cardinals Postseason fame, drove in 3 runs as a pinch hitter during a crucial game in Atlanta. More needs to come from Matt Kemp and Cody Bellinger going forward. Los Angeles’ bullpen was stellar from its middle relief to the backend. It helps too when Clayton Kershaw pitches 8 innings in his start and Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches 7 innings in his. Ryu also added 8 strikeouts in his start to boot. The pitching must have a repeat performance against a deeper lineup.

It was a dominant performance from the Brewers in the Division Series against Colorado. The Rockies lineup was stymied the entire time. Only one Milwaukee starter pitched a full 5 innings for them. After that it was a bullpen game for them and it worked. Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Joakim Soria appeared in each game and combined for 13 strikeouts to only 2 walks in the series. As assumed, Mike Moustakas was a force for the Brewers with a .364 average in the 3-game sweep. The franchise mainstay Ryan Braun had a .385 average. This team is able to exploit mismatches at any given point of a game and that will be something to watch with the Dodgers. Both managers are underrated in terms of their in-game adjustments. This should be interesting to watch.

Dodgers in 7 games

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