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MLB Playoffs – Division Series Predictions

NLDS 1: Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals

Of all the series’, this one has the greatest chance of going the distance. The Cardinals have four solid starting pitchers, including the red-hot Jack Flaherty, and the best catcher for leading a pitching staff, Yadier Molina. The Braves will counter with an electric offense featuring three players with over 35 home runs. The biggest question is the health of one of those hitters, Ronald Acuna Jr., who missed the last week of the season with an injury. But even with the uncertainty surrounding their young star, the Braves are the better team. The Cardinals only have three player with an above-average OPS, and none of them are higher than 113 (100 is league average). The Cards simply lack the offensive firepower to keep up with the Braves. Their starting pitching could steal a game or two, but the Braves should win this series.

Prediction: Braves in five

NLDS 1: Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

These teams are a lot closer than their records suggest. These are probably the two best starting pitching staffs in the majors beside Houston, but the difference is that the Nationals will be without Stephen Strasburg until Game Two and Max Scherzer until Game Three after using them both in the wild card game. On the other hand, the Dodgers three headed monster, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw are all rested and ready to go. The Dodgers also have the experience of playing in two straight World Series, which offsets the Nationals momentum. The Nationals might steal a game, likely Game Three at home with Scherzer on the mound, but I have trouble seeing the Nationals beat a superior Dodgers team on the road.

Prediction: Dodgers in four

ALDS 1: Twins vs Yankees

One thing we can expect in this series is a lot of home runs: The Twins set an all time record with 307 home runs, with the Yankees right behind at 306. The difference in this series will be the pitching. Neither team has great starting pitching, but the Yankees have an enormous edge in the bullpen. In addition, the Yankees have the critical home field advantage, which gives them three game in front of the raucous Yankees Stadium crowd and its hitter friendly dimension. The Twins will score runs, but their pitching just isn’t deep enough to knock off the Yankees.

Prediction: Yankees in four

ALDS 2: Rays vs Astros

This series is as big a mismatch as it seems on paper. The Astros have everything; The two best starting pitchers in baseball, a deep and talented bullpen, and the best lineup in the majors. The Rays simply can’t come close to matching the talent the Astros have in any phase of the game, and they can’t match their playoff experience either. This series shouldn’t be competitive.

Prediction: Astros in three

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