Bases Loaded: Postseason Preview and Predictions

Credit: © Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

October is here and with it comes the most wonderful time in sports, Major League Baseball’s Postseason.

The Houston Astros have finished the season with the best record in baseball, compiling 107-wins. The Los Angeles Dodgers right behind them with 106-wins. Both teams have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and will face their respective league’s Wild Card Game winner.

So, let’s start with the Wild Card Games.

I will give who I personally think is going to win each round and go forward with predictions as if that is what happened. I will then revisit these predictions after each round and keep myself honest…and honestly probably point out how wrong I was.

Let’s get to it.

NL Wild Card: Brewers @ Nationals

As much as I loathe the one-game playoff for the Wild Card, I absolutely love this match-up, really both Wild Card match-ups are great.

The Brewers once again have become a feel good story with their late season surge when all seemed loss after the knee injury to superstar and reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich.

The problem for Milwaukee is that they still won’t have Yelich tonight.

The Nationals come into the postseason red-hot. They’re 9-1 to finish the season and riding an 8-game winning streak. The curly W’s were 46-27 over the second half (.630 winning %) and their +149 run differential is 146 runs better than the Brew Crew (+3).

This game, on paper, seems very much slanted towards the Nats, and I think that’s what we see on the field tonight.

The Nationals are a more complete team overall, they have Mad Max Scherzer on the mound tonight and as I said before, they’re absolutely on fire right now.

Sure there have been let-downs throughout the Nationals somewhat brief history in our nation’s capital, but I don’t think that happens tonight…but it will in the NLDS.

Prediction: Nationals 5, Brewers 2

AL Wild Card: Rays @ Athletics

A fun late afternoon game in Oakland will decide who gets to face the mighty unstoppable Houston Astros in the ALDS.

The Tampa Bay Rays continue to impress under manager Kevin Cash. This club won 90-games in 2018, but had the misfortune of being in the same division as the 100-win Yankees and the 108-win Red Sox.

This year, with the help of the stumbling Red Sox, the Rays were able to increase their win total to 96-wins and reach the one-game playoff.

The A’s have been equally impressive and probably more surprising. Usually a 97-win club is a division winner, and they would have been in the NL East or NL Central…but while residing in the AL West with the 107-win Astros, Wild Card it is.

Most might not know much about this Athletics team, as the bulk of their games begin at 10:30 pm eastern time, but this team has been a force in 2019 just like the Rays.

Both of these clubs had great Septembers to get them into this game, the A’s going 18-8, the Rays 17-8. Both teams have had great pitching all year, but it’s the A’s that have been better offensively. I think that, plus the home field advantage plays well for Oakland and why they sneak this one out.

Prediction: A’s 4, Rays 2

This brings us to the divisional series round. With my predictions, they will look like this:

  • NLDS 1: Los Angeles Dodgers vs Washington Nationals
  • NLDS 2: Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals
  • ALDS 1: Houston Astros vs Oakland Athletics
  • ALDS 2: New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

NLDS 1: Dodgers vs Nationals

I want to be hopeful for the Nationals chances to pull the upset, but it’s really hard to believe it’s possible. Not only have the Nationals had a track record of heartbreaking Octobers, but they’re severely outmatched in this match-up.

That being said, these two teams played 7-times this season, and nearly split the series with the Dodgers winning 4 and the Nats 3. In a 5-game series, you would think that if they were so closely matched in the regular season that anything could happen, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Scherzer is pitching the Wild Card game tonight, so he won’t be going in Game 1 if they make it and that gives the Dodgers the first advantage. An ability to get off to a 1-0 start at home with Clayton Kershaw on the bump.

I have really liked the season that the Curly W’s have had, and it was poetic justice to see them clinch in front of Bryce Harper and the Phillies, but they just aren’t good enough to hang with the Dodgers overall.

Prediction: Dodgers in 5

NLDS 2: Braves vs Cardinals

Let’s just say that I’m absolutely shocked to see St. Louis in the postseason as the NL Central Champs. I would never have predicted the Cubbies’ collapse nor the rise of the scrappy Cards, but then it happened.

That being said, the Cards have reached their peak for 2019.

The Atlanta Braves are a special club, and they’re just better than the Cardinals this season.

The Braves won the season series with the Cardinals 4-2 and are set up for a special October run. With the youth of Acuna, Albies and Soroka mixed with the veteran experience of Donaldson, Keuchel and Freeman, Atlanta is built for October.

The fun match-up here is the Braves offense versus the Cardinals pitching.

The Cardinals hold the 5th best Team ERA (3.80) in baseball and will be up against an Atlanta team that is 7th in the league in runs scored (855) and 9th in Team Batting Average (.258).

With home field advantage, the experience of last season and the additions of vets with playoff experience, I think the Braves are ready for a rematch with the Dodgers, and they’ll get it.

Prediction: Braves in 5

ALDS 1: Houston Astros vs Oakland A’s

Is there really that much to say.

The A’s will be a great story, they’ll bring a fun brand of baseball into this series, and they’ll get run out of the playoffs quickly.

The Astros won 107-games in the regular season, including going 19-6 (.760 win %) in the month of September. Houston posted a 50-22 second half (.694 win %) and they added Zack Greinke to an already loaded rotation at the deadline.

Houston won the season series with Oakland 11-8 and to be honest, they look unstoppable. So let’s just get to the prediction…

Prediction: Astros in 3

ALDS 2: Yankees vs Twins

This will be the most explosive 5-game series in the history of baseball. These two teams played 6-times this year with the Yankees taking the season series 4-2. They combined for 81-runs in those 6-games.

Offensively these two teams are incredible. The Yankees scored the most runs in baseball (943) and have the 4th best team batting average in the league (.267) while the Twins are second in both runs (939) and team batting average (.270).

What seems like it could be the biggest difference is the fact that the Twins have had better pitching throughout 2019. Minnesota is 9th in baseball in team ERA (4.18) while the Yankees are 14th (4.31).

You would think that this gives an advantage to the Twins, but I know better than to fall for that. The Yankees were able to crush Twins pitching in their match-ups this year and with home field advantage along with a chip on their shoulder after how their 2018 campaign ended, I think things roll the Yankees way.

Prediction: Yankees in 5

With my predictions, here’s where we stand:

  • NLCS: Dodgers vs Braves
  • ALCS: Astros vs Yankees

Yes, it’s chalk as hell, but that’s sports. I just don’t think either Central division winner has what it takes and the Wild Card teams will be incredibly outmatched against the Dodgers and Astros…but now things may change.

NLCS: Dodgers vs Braves

The rematch of the 2018 NLDS, but this time, the Braves are ready.

In 2018, the Dodgers disposed of Atlanta in 4-games en route to another National League pennant. It won’t be that easy in 2019.

This Braves team is different. Their young stars now have postseason experience and with the Bringer of Rain Josh Donaldson’s bat and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel’s World Series experience, I like the Braves chances.

The Dodgers took the season series 4-2, but the Braves became a different team in the second half and won their last series 2-1 in Atlanta.

There is no doubt that the Dodgers are dominant, their 106-wins tells us just that, but I’m smelling an upset and the return to the Fall Classic for the Bravos.

Prediction: Braves in 6

ALCS: Astros vs Yankees

This is where it all crumbles for the Bronx Bombers.

These two teams had an epic ALCS battle just two seasons ago, and the Yankees are actually a better team offensively now than they were then, but this is when pitching takes over and the Astros not only have the offense to hang with New York, but they’ve got the pitching to shut down that explosive Yankee lineup.

I really have trouble seeing anything but domination from the Astros this October, they’re just that good and that complete. Houston won the season series 4-3 over the Yanks, and I think it happens again, but more convincingly.

Prediction: Astros in 5

World Series: Astros vs Braves

The southeast will be Braves crazy again, the excitement will return with a great October run for Atlanta…but they won’t be raising a World Series banner on Opening Day 2020.

The Astros are just ridiculous. They are unstoppable.

Sure, it’s the easy pick, but I’m a logical thinking person and I can’t find any logic in predicting the Astros to do anything but raise another Commissioner’s Trophy.

Cherish the run Braves fans, cherish that October baseball has returned to the South East and by all means, cherish that NL Pennant that I believe you can win…just don’t expect to win 4-more games after that.

World Series Prediction: Astros in 5

There it is, in writing. Predictions that are likely to be way off when it’s all said and done.

I will revisit after each round and re-predict anything that I got wrong as well as take my medicine about being wrong.

Until then, enjoy the greatest month in baseball…October.

-Ditti

Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/InsideTheMindOfDitti) and Instagram (dittius33).

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