After a long and exciting season, ten teams have finally made it to the MLB postseason. Read on for predictions for the Wild Card games and Divisional Series of the 2019 MLB playoffs.
American League Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Oakland Athletics
After a rough end to the season for the Cleveland Indians (who would have been my clear pick for this game) knocked them out of the race for the Wild Card, I have ultimately selected the Oakland Athletics to win the American League Wild Card over the Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s beat the Rays two games out of three during the season. However, this is not why I have them winning. I have selected the A’s mainly because of starting left handed pitcher Sean Manaea. He has pitched lights out since his return from injury with a 4-0 record and 1.21 ERA. He will pitch during the Wild Card game, against the Rays. I predict the score to be 7-3 in favor of the A’s.
National League Wild Card: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals
Even with the departure of former MVP Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals are yet again in the playoffs. I have selected the Nationals because of their great all-around game, and because 2018 National League MVP, Christian Yelich, is injured and will not play for the rest of the season. Along with ace pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strausburg, the Nationals have had one of the league’s best bullpen throughout the entire 2019 season. Even with the Nationals losing to the Brewers 4 games out of 6, I predict the Nats will win the Wild Card game with a score of 8-7.
NLDS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves will beat the Cardinals because they have a better team record throughout the season than the Cardinals. They also have three young superstars in outfielder Ronald Acuña, second baseman Ozzie Albies, and rookie pitcher Mike Soroka. The Cardinals do have firepower in players like Paul Goldscmidt and Jack Flaherty, but not as much as Atlanta. I predict the Braves to win in 4 games.
ALDS: Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees
The Yankees have been hot all season, and ultimately they have a better roster than the Twins. With pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, and C.C. Sabathia, and hitters such as Aaron Judge, Gleber Torres, and Giancarlo Stanton having returned, the Twins will not be able to compete with the talent of the Yankees. I predict the series to go the distance of 5 games, in favor of the Yankees.
ALDS: winner of Rays/Athletics vs. Houston Astros
I predicted the Athletics to win the Wild Card game, so they will face Houston in the American League Division Series. This was one of my toughest choices seeing as how the Astros have dominated the competition throughout the season. However, the Athletics dominated the Astros when the teams played each other this season. With a hopeful resurgence of Khris Davis, after a disappointing year following his incredible 2016-2018 seasons, I predict the Athletics to shock the Astros and win the series in 5 games.
NLDS: winner of Brewers/Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers will have their way in this divisional series. With the pitching of Cy Young candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu and Veteran Clayton Kershaw. Also, Walker Buehler had an amazing regular season, posting a 14-4 record with a 3.26 ERA. Their bullpen will be able to close out games with ease, behind the recent conversion of Kenta Maeda and the almost constant shutdown performances of Kenley Jansen and Pedro Baez. Los Angeles offensively is just as good, if not better, than defensively. MVP candidate Cody Bellinger had an amazing year hitting .305 with 121 runs, 115 RBIs, and a top 3 finish in home runs in the NL with 47. Along with the supporting cast of Max Muncy, who had a breakout season, Corey Seager, who came back from injury after not playing at all last year, and Joc Peterson who almost won the Home Run Derby. The Nationals have had a solid team for a long time and this year, Max Scherzer yet again is among the top in Cy Young candidates. Also, Anthony Renton is a very plausible MVP candidate batting .319 with 117 runs, 126 RBIs, and 34 home runs. Washington has a solid all around rotation with Scherzer, Corbin, and Strasburg. Young players like Juan Soto and Trea Turner will also need to play their best if the Nationals want a chance at winning this series. At most, this series goes 4 games, in favor of the Dodgers.
Stay tuned for round two predictions.