It’s that time of the year – the leaves are beginning to change color, the outdoor temperature is chilling (although that hasn’t really happened yet) and postseason baseball is on every baseball fan’s mind. Some are mightily disappointed (sorry, Indians fans), others, very hopeful. Of course, like any other good writer, it is in my best interest to leave my partisanships at the door and make honest predictions on which teams I believe will make it to, and win, the World Series. At this point, I’ll take off my Los Angeles Dodgers hat.
Two heavyweights collide in the ALCS: the defending champion Houston Astros and the 108-win Boston Red Sox. Both of these 100+ win teams are built for championship contention, and I am looking forward to seeing the two teams duke it out in a series I believe will be an instant classic, and a series I believe will go six or seven games.
Both teams have fantastic starting pitching, both teams have tremendous hitting lineups, and both teams have solid bullpens. What this series will come down to are managerial moves mid-game that will trip up the opposing team. While I want to go with the Astros, I also know that only two teams have won back-to-back World Series in the past three decades: the 1998-2000 Yankees and the 1992-1993 Blue Jays.
While this has nothing to do with actually getting to the World Series, I understand that the Red Sox have a chip on their shoulder this postseason, mainly due to their earlier than expected exit from last year’s postseason. They’ll have home-field advantage, and they’ll find themselves in a better place than ever since 2013 to win a World Series title. It’ll be a challenging series for both teams, and while my heart says Houston in six, my gut says Red Sox in seven. I’ll take the Red Sox representing the AL in this year’s World Series.
The NL is the more up-in-the-air of the two League Championship Series. The Brewers are the hottest team in baseball, and Christian Yelich clearly played well enough to be the NL MVP this year. Their whole lineup has been hitting the ball exceedingly well, and they blanked the Rockies in a very non-competitive NLDS series. However, the Brewers are exactly in the position the Dodgers want them in.
The Dodgers’ starting pitching was rocky during the regular season, but some of their guys on the mound have stepped up in the postseason, especially Walker Buehler. Couple this with the fact that the Brewers will also have to face the all-time great Clayton Kershaw, and I think LA pulls it out in five or six. They’ll certainly steal at least one game in Milwaukee, and with that, I truly believe the Dodgers will be the NL’s representative in the Fall Classic.
Two teams are left in the World Series. Two teams were disappointed with the outcome of last year’s playoffs. Both teams have bolstered their lineups to ensure them postseason success. The notable acquisition for the Red Sox was outfielder J.D. Martinez, who was amazing this year, hitting .330 with 43 home runs and 130 RBIs. The notable acquisition for the Dodgers came mid-season, when they acquired infielder Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles. In 66 games with the Dodgers in the regular season, Machado hit .273 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs. Both teams have power lineups and excellent starting pitching. The difference in this series will be the bullpens and those mid-game managerial moves.
I believe this will be a fairly quick series, four to five games at most, with the Red Sox taking the title. Their bats went on a field day with the Yankees starters, something I believe will continue in the ALCS against the Astros and again in the World Series against the Dodgers. The Red Sox will win their ninth title, and I don’t think it will be close.
All their acquisitions will pay off, and look for outfielder Andrew Benintendi to have an outstanding series. Benintendi is a talented under-the-radar player who I believe is destined for greatness, and who I believe will win MVP of this series. I’ll take the Red Sox in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a possible repeat title coming next season, if they can keep the band together.