This has already been a great week for fans of playoff baseball - and the division series haven’t even started yet! The National League provided us with not one, but two extra games to decide the regular-season division champs. Then they gave us extra innings in their wild card game. That’s a heck of a lot of extra baseball folks. I can’t say the same for the American League, which didn’t even give us a particular interesting wild card contest, but the three best teams in baseball will now battle for the pennant there, so you can kind of cut them some slack.
I did not want to jump into talking about the playoffs until after some of the dust was settled and that seems like now. We’re down to eight teams, arguably the eight best teams and it is from this field a champion will be crowned. So, who’s going to win? Hey, that’s a great question! Thanks for asking. If you want to know who I want to see playing in the World Series, then I am hoping for a Milwaukee Brewers-Boston Red Sox finale. You are probably well aware of my lifetime allegiance to the Sox and I just like the idea of the Brewers getting there as well. In fact, if it’s not the Red Sox who win it all, then I hope it is Milwaukee.
That said, I do not think this is gong to happen. The Red Sox, despite their 108 wins, are going to have a hard time getting past the New York Yankees in the first round. Milwaukee should have an easier time with the Colorado Rockies, but either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Atlanta Braves will make for a tough opponent in the NLCS. I will go ahead and break this down a little further for you. I’m going with the Brewers and the Dodgers to reach the NLCS. Milwaukee has momentum and a lot of the time that’s what wins in the playoffs. As for the Dodgers, I think they are the best team in the NL’s field of four. Atlanta has had an upstart season, but some of their key hitters have cooled off in the second half and this is no way to advance.
In the American League I have to go with the Houston Astros over the Cleveland Indians. The defending champs have more offense than the Tribe and overall I think their starting pitching is deeper. Cleveland will need its bullpen to right itself (and for Andrew Miller to pitch like the Andrew Miller of old) if they are going to have a chance against Houston. As much as I hate to say it, I think the Astros will face the Yankees in the ALCS. Boston was the best team in the regular season, but the Red Sox were not that great in September. Yes, they still were over .500, but they were no juggernaut. Their ace, Chris Sale, seems to be hurt. Their number two, David Price, has been horrible in the playoffs and it’s the Yankees. Take away what happened in 2004 and the Red Sox always lose to the Yankees when the pressure is on.
Okay, so I’ve got the Astros-Yankees and the Dodgers-Brewers in the league championships. Where do we go from here? Well, how about another Yankees-Dodgers World Series? I really think New York is the team to beat in the AL and the Astros are not as good as they were last year. As for the Dodgers, their superior talent should prevail. Once we’re there, at the end of October, I would say it’s anyone’s guess who will win. My gut says go with the Yankees all the way. However, maybe this is the Dodgers’ year. I think their starting pitching is superior to New York’s and pitching typically wins in October, right? No matter the result, I think all baseball fans should be looking forward to a month of great games. I fully expect it to be heartbreaking for me, but hopefully it will be entertaining for everyone else.