Hello there, baseball fans! Major League Baseball’s postseason is upon us; know what that means? That means it’s time to predict the winners! That’s right, all of the winners.
So over the course of the day, as part of a four-part series, we’re going to do just that. Who do you think will end up playing for baseball’s biggest prize this season?
National League Division Series: Chicago Cubs vs Washington Nationals
This, without a doubt, is one of the more difficult series to predict.
This season has been a roller-coaster of a ride for Chicago to say the least. There was going into the All-Star break under .500. Ultimately, there was coming out of the regular season 22 games over .500. In fact, the Cubs had the second-best record post All-Star break at 49-25 (only behind the Cleveland Indians).
Chicago is led by Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Wilson Contreras, for starters. Bryant, the 2016 MVP, will most likely not get it again this year because of a guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Charlie Blackmon. Yet his numbers are almost identical to those of last year. This year Bryant has slugged 29 bombs and drove in 73 runs (about the only number down significantly from a year ago) while hitting to the tune of .295.
Washington rolled through the regular season with the second-best record in the NL, winning the East by 20 games. Of course, that didn’t come without some faults. They were without Bryce Harper (who was playing at an MVP-caliber level before injuring his knee) for a considerable length of time.
They were without shortstop Trea Turner for a lengthy spell as well. Both players are back, but Harper has struggled since returning from the DL. That said, he only had 14 September at-bats. But in them, would hit to an average of just .071.
The scariest part of the Nationals’ lineup right now might be second basemen Daniel Murphya��who Cubs’ fans know all too well from the 2015 postseason, in which he helped the Mets sweep Chicago in the NLCS. Goodness, how times have changed.
Murphy finished the regular season batting .322 with 93 RBI to go along with 23 dingers. His cumulative postseason stats are eye-popping as wella��highlighted by a .351 batting average with seven home runs and 17 knocked in.
These two teams are stacked with pitching as well. Chicago brings in an assortment of good arms with the likes of Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and JosA� Quintana. Washington, however, counters with equal oppositiona��throwing Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer as a counter.
Arrieta and Scherzer have both had some health issues lately, but look like they will be able to make a LDS start. Both sides have good bullpens as wella��that is, after the Nationals were able to get some much-needed help at the deadline.
The series will be a fun one, to say the least. And I am expecting it to go the distance, with Chicago taking it in five. My reasoning behind this is that Dusty Baker and the Nationals have never been able to get passed the Division series. I don’t believe they will be able to do so this year eithera��partly due to rust from Bryce Harper and injuries.
Chicago also has crucial postseason experience from a year ago after playing in some of the most high-pressure situations.
Series Prediction: Chicago 3, Washington 2
National League Division Series: Colorado Rockies vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Since we already talked about Colorado, let’s take a look at the Dodgers of Los Angeles. Remember them? You know, the team that was on pace to break records before steadily falling apart near the end of the regular season? That said…
Los Angeles’ rotation is going to be a force to be reckoned with, this time led by Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. We have all heard about how Kershaw crumples under pressure in October, but his regular season was stellar as usual. He did miss some time but the numbers tell the story:, 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts over 175 innings.
Since being traded to Los Angeles, Darvish has been up and downa��but mostly good. His 12-strikeout debut helps his overall numbers, of course, but with the Dodgers he has pitched to an ERA of 3.44. With Texas, that number stood at 4.01.
Offensively, rookie phenom Cody Bellinger leads the Dodgers. Bellinger ended the regular season with 39 dingers, 97 runs driven in and an average of .267. He is the clear-cut favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year.
Colorado just doesn’t have the pitching to combat such a dangerous lineup. And I expect the Dodgers to move on to the NLCS for a rematch with Chicago.
Series Prediction: Los Angeles 3, Colorado 0
What do you think? Sound off below! But don’t go too far; our look at the LCS and World Series predictions will be up before you know it!