So far this October, there’s been champagne, celebrations, and casualties. After 162 games this season, the Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing.
The Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs were the first contenders eliminated in a winner-take-all, wild card game. With higher aspirations for this season, the 2016 World Series champion Cubs were taken out of contention by the Colorado Rockies in an extra inning thriller that was solidified when Rockies back-up catcher Tony Walters delivered a go-ahead two out single in the top of the thirteenth inning.
In the American League, the defending champion Houston Astros didn’t hesitate to bring out the brooms, sweeping the Cleveland Indians over three games in the American League Division Series.
The Indians couldn’t put the bat on the ball, scoring five total runs and going 13 for 90 as a team at the plate in the series. George Springer was a notable force in the Astros offense homering twice in the series. Houston’s bullpen wrangled the Indians all series with a combined bullpen ERA of 2.00.
In Boston, the Red Sox survived a young, power hitting, New York Yankees lineup. Winning the series in four games, the Sox’s bullpen who posted the second worst ERA in the AL, looked strong throughout the series. After splitting the first two games of the series, the Yankees were embarrassedly Bronx-bombed in Game 3 falling 16-1.
Outscoring the Yankees 20-4 on the road, the Red Sox showed viewers why they won 108 games over the regular season. The Yankees were held to a batting average of .154 and only one extra-base hit in the entire series, which isn’t the best recipe for success. Boston’s Brock Holt also hit for the cycle in Game 4, becoming the first player in postseason history to complete the cycle, adding insult to injury to the Yankees season.
Over in the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers rolled over an underwhelmed Colorado Rockies squad, sweeping them in three games in the National League Division Series. The Rockies were outscored 13-2 in three games, and only managed to score in one inning the entire series. Colorado’s best hitters went a combined 5 for 35.
Giving credit where credits due to the Brewers bullpen, over the course of 15 and a third innings, they posted an ERA of 1.17, striking out a combined 22 hitters and allowing only three walks. MVP front-runner Christian Yelich continued his dominance over NL pitching, going 2 for 8 with a home run, two stolen bases, and six walks in the series.
In Los Angeles, the Dodgers continued their hitting prowess beating the Atlanta Braves in four games. Cranking out more homers than any other team in the National League during the regular season, the Dodgers continued to stay hot at the plate, hitting eight homers over the course of the series. Veteran infielders David Freese and Manny Machado led the team with pivotal hits with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers bullpen looked better than it had all season, posting a combined ERA of 2.06. The Braves featured a very young, talented squad, but in the postseason, experience is everything.
In the World Series, I’ve got a rematch of the 2017 World Series between the Dodgers and the Astros. Houston is the only team remaining with a lineup deep enough to counter Los Angeles’s experienced and explosively driven lineup.
Proving they thrive well in high-pressure situations, the Astros have shown how they can finish out close games when it matters. As for the bullpens, it’s a pretty even tale of the tape as both clubs feature a good amount of depth in their benches and have experience in the playoffs.
The series will come down to whoever makes the least amount of mistakes, and closing tight games with the bullpen. For that reason, I’ve got the Los Angeles Dodgers winning their sixth franchise title in six games.