2019 MLB Division Series Preview

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American League Division Series

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros

This is the classic tale of ‘David vs. Goliath’. The Tampa Bay Rays have always had one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and yet they manage to compete for a spot in the Postseason. They easily defeated the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card game and their roster doesn’t have any big names to speak of this time around. Their three best hitters; Austin Meadows, Avisail Garcia and Tommy Pham were acquired from other clubs in the last two offseasons. Their pitching staff has a bunch of no-names, but they have been effective all season. Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell form a strong rotation with a solid bullpen. Everything will need to go right for them in this 5-game series.

Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke. Those are the first three starters any team that plays the Astros this Postseason will face. The backend of their bullpen has been solid and that will help if one of their starters gets in a bind. Their lineup will be even better with the addition of a healthy Carlos Correa. Plus you add the likely AL Rookie of the Year in Yordan Alvarez to a lineup that has Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, Yuri Gurriel and George Springer. This just isn’t fair.

Astros in 3 games

Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees

The Twins became the first team in baseball history to hit over 300 home runs in a season. Will that translate to success in the Postseason? They’ll certainly need to score runs against the Yankees who have had tremendous success in previous years against the Twins in October. Nelson Cruz has been their best hitter and needs to set the tone. Jose Berrios will also need to be at his best being the ace of the pitching staff.

While their rotation isn’t the best it could be, they do have depth and their bullpen boasts three players who can close at any given time. Just like the Astros, their lineup is stacked and with the return of Giancarlo Stanton at the end of the season it only adds to their punch. D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have been great all season and that can’t stop now. Gleyber Torres is a star in the making and this is the stage for him to prove it.

Yankees in 4 games

National League Division Series

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

After a thrilling Wild Card game that saw the Nationals defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, they face a daunting task in playing the Dodgers. Anthony Rendon is a MVP candidate for Washington and he must continue to hit the ball with authority. Juan Soto, the hero of the Wild Card game, should be able to feed off of that momentum into the Division Series. With Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin at the top of the rotation they should have chances to slow down the Dodgers lineup. The bullpen while they did finish the Wild Card game without any hiccups, they have to be perfect to give them a chance.

They’ve been to the last two World Series’ and didn’t come away with a title. This is probably the best Dodgers team they’ve assembled in quite some time and that’s saying something. Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Hyun-Jin Ryu give the Dodgers a solid rotation that will probably need to eat up innings in the Postseason with the question marks surrounding the bullpen. LA has been able to avoid any issues since they score so many runs, but if guys like Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and Corey Seager begin a cold streak. That could spell doom for them.

Dodgers in 4 games

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves

Jack Flaherty should get some Cy Young votes after the stretch he’s been on for the second half of the season. Carlos Martinez who was a starter has been their closer and he seems to enjoy it. Dakota Hudson has been solid all year as well and this bodes well for a relatively young Cardinals team. Their big bats have been inconsistent for most of the year, but if Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna get going for the Postseason, St. Louis could be making waves.

They’ve easily been the second best team in the National League this season. Their lineup has depth and balance the likes of which only a hand full of teams can match. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. are two superstars in the making and the rest of baseball needs to take notice. Freddie Freeman is still a consistent run producer for them and you add Josh Donaldson to the mix, you have a tough task at hand. While their pitching staff is young, they get results. Mike Soroka, Dallas Keuchel and Mike Foltynewicz are their best starters, but the depth in the rotation is solid. Their bullpen has had some bumps, but Mark Melancon seems to have solidified the closer role since his acquisition.

Braves in 5 games

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