Major League Baseball Recap and Playoff Predictions

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Major League Baseball Recap and Playoff Predictions

Mason Collins, Sports Editor

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It’s been another six months of exciting Major League Baseball and now that the month of October is just beginning, so is the 2019 postseason. Played over 26 and a half weeks running through late March to the last Sunday of September, over a total of 2,340 games have been played. This season of Major League Baseball consists of more home runs and strikeouts than any other season in the history of baseball. Games were played all around the country this year from London to Puerto Rico to Japan. Here is a recap and predictions from this years 2019 postseason baseball teams. 

 

National League Playoff Teams:

 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Record 106-56 (1 Seed)

After finishing only one game behind the Houston Astros for best record in the MLB this season, the Dodgers hope to use their home field advantage throughout the National League and attempt to make their third straight World Series appearance. Losing to the Astros in seven games back in 2017 and losing to the Boston Red Sox last year in just five games, the expectations for Los Angeles is to make it back to the World Series but this time winning it. 

 

The Dodgers come into the postseason with even better starting pitching than the previous years. Veterans Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin-Ryu led the starting pitching followed by young and talented Walker Buehler who will start game one of the NLDS at just 25 years old. Los Angeles is ranked first at ERA in the National League. On the hitting side, Los Angeles is led by MVP candidate Cody Bellinger who leads the team in home runs, average,RBI’s and most hits. The Dodgers also have Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Cory Seager which will bring lots of support in the batting order.

 

Washington Nationals: Record 93-69 (4 Seed) 

The Nationals finished the season four games behind the Braves in the NL East and had to settle for the wildcard game. Down 3-1 to the Brewers for the majority of the NL wildcard game, left fielder Juan Soto hit a bases loaded single to right field which was then misplaced by right fielder Trent Grisham scoring the game tying and leading run. Washington pitcher Daniel Hudson then closed out the game beating Milwaukee 4-3 and clinching the Nationals a trip to Los Angeles. 

 

The Nationals are one of the hottest teams since the all star break and just like the Dodgers, the starting pitching is the strength of this team. Pitchers Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg and Anibal Sanchez combined are 54-28 with a 3.36 Era. The Nationals also have dangerous hitters, one of them being third basemen Anthony Rendon hitting .319 with 126 RBI’S and 34 Home Runs. The bullpen which was one of the Nationals biggest concerns will be a factor against the Dodgers. In the Wildcard game,Washington only used Daniel Hudson from against Milwaukee using starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for eight out of the nine innings. 

 

Atlanta Braves: Record 97-65 (2 Seed) 

The Atlanta Braves finished the 2019 season as NL East division champions for the 2nd straight year finishing just under 100 wins and will start the NLDS at home vs the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves are loaded with young talent led by Ronald Acuna who leads the team in Home Runs with 41 and Ozzie Albies who has had another productive year. Atlanta also has a mix of veteran players acquiring Brain MCcann and Josh Donldson to put them in the lineup with other veterans Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. Atlanta also have decent young pitching with ace Mike Soroka who is 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA. 

 

Atlanta also picked up left handed pitcher Dallas Kecuhel about two months into the season and he will be the Braves game one starting pitcher. Keuchel since being on the Braves is 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA. The only concern for Atlanta is that bullpen has had an up and down season blowing a lot of games. The Braves acquired pitchers Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin to help support the bullpen. The Braves will try to win the World Series for the first time since 1995 beating the Cleveland Indians in six games. 

 

St. Louis Cardinals: Record 91-71 (3 Seed) 

The St.Louis Cardinals are back into the playoffs for the first time since 2015. After beating out the Brewers and the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central Division, the Cardinals will travel to Atlanta to play games one and two. Newly acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmit has made an impact on the Cardinals playing in all but one game batting .260 with 34 Home Runs and 97 RBI’s. The Cardinals have also got help from shortstop Paul DeJong hitting a career high 30 Home Runs and help from veterans Kolten Wong and long time catcher Yadier Molina. 

 

The pitching has been headlined by starting pitcher Jack Flaherty who is 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA  finishing the season striking out 231 batters. Other starting pitcher Dakota Hudson has had a big season winning 16 games with a 3.35 ERA. Jordan Hicks “the Cardinals closer” has been out for the season with Tommy John surgery but pitchers Carlos Martinez and Andrew Miller have held down the bullpen for St. Louis. 

 

NLDS Predictions: 

Both the Dodgers and the Nationals are coming into the postseason hot. Both teams have really good starting pitching but the Dodgers have both the better hitting and bullpen and the Dodgers having home field gives them another advantage. 

 

Prediction: Dodgers in Four Games

 

This series between the Braves and Cardinals will be interesting. Both teams have young starting pitchers and bullpens have had their ups and downs. I think the Braves having the better lineup and home field will carry the Braves past the Cardinals and onto the NLCS. 

 

Prediction: Braves in Five Games

 

American League Teams: 

 

Houston Astros: Record 107-55 (1 Seed) 

After getting 100 plus wins again, Houston now has home field advantage throughout the playoffs and are looking to win the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros are an overall solid team with no weaknesses but their strength is starting pitchers Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Grienke who they acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2019 trade deadline. 

 

They have a combined 49-12 record and will hope to carry the load pitching in the majority of the Astros postseason games. The Astros also have solid hitters led by Alex Bregmen,Carlos Correa, George Springer, Jose Altuve and Micheal Brantley who they acquired from the Indians. Micheal Brantley leads the team in hits this season. They also have Yordon Alvarez who they brought up from Triple A, leads the team in average at .313 and has hit 26 home runs in only 87 games played this season.

 

Tampa Bay Rays: Record 96-66 (4 Seed)

For the first time since 2013 the Tampa Bay Rays are going to the playoffs. The Rays clinched the last playoff berth beating out the Cleveland Indians by only two games. They then went on the road all the way to Oakland and defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-1 in what was a controlling game from start to finish. Tampa Bay is a really young team all around but there one veteran, starting pitcher Charlie Morton led the way going 5 innings allowing just one run against Oakland.

He will be playing his former team, the Houston Astros. The Rays best strength is their bullpen which has been used more than any other bullpen this season. Tampa Bay also has a good starting rotation with Charlie Morton, Last years AL Cy young award winner Blake Snell and returning from the IL most of the season, Tyler Glasnow. Their hitting throughout the season has been pretty consistent but lacks the home run ball with Austin Meadows being their only hitter with more than 30 home runs. The Rays did hit three home runs against the Athletics two of them coming from Yandy Diaz and one coming from Tommy Pham. 

 

 The New York Yankees: Record 103-59 (2 Seed) 

The New York Yankees have been defined by three words this year, “Next man up”. With just about every player on the IL at some point this season, the Yankees come into the postseason mostly healthy with big names such as Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton and Edwin Encarnacion coming back just days before the postseason. Newly acquired Yankees DJ Lemahieu and Gio Urshela have been big for the Yankees both playing 130+ games and both hitting over .300 from the season.

 

 Veteran Brett Gardner has also played an important role filling in for star outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. With a stacked bullpen and home run hitting players, The biggest question will be how well and how deep starting pitchers James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino and J.A Happ will go. The Yankees will also be without pitchers Domingo German who was suspended for the postseason and bullpen pitcher Dellin Betances who came back in the middle of September but then got injured again and was ruled out for the season. 

 

Minnesota Twins: Record 101-61 (3 Seed)

After only getting 78 wins last season, the Twins now come in hoping to beat the team they’ve gone 3-17 against in the playoffs this century. Led by Nelson Cruz who hit 41 home runs this season, the twins as a team has hit 307 home runs which is the most by an MLB team ever. 

 

Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano also all had 30+ home runs this season. The Twins have also had god pitching from starting pitchers Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi who have combined gone 29-15 with a 3.59 ERA. With very little experience in the playoffs, the biggest concern remains on how the Twins as a unit can perform in pressure moments against hostile environments and can they continue to hit home runs against the best pitching. 

 

ALDS Predictions:

 

The Rays come into Houston with a lot of momentum but the road ends here. The Astros are just a much better team and have the pitching to mow down this Rays lineup. Even though the Rays have really good pitching, Houston has better pitching, better hitters and home field

 

Prediction: Astros in 3 Games

 

This series is the best chance for the Twins to take down the Yankees. They have had a magical season hitting the most home runs ever and New York still has unanswered questions on how healthy this team really is. Even with the Yankees having injuries, New York still has more talent than Minnesota and if its a close game heading into the final innings, New York has a way better bullpen than Minnesota. 

 

Prediction: Yankees in 4 Games