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Projecting The Outcome Of The Postseason

With the regular season complete, the postseason can begin. Which teams will go the distance this October?

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The regular season is officially complete. It took 185 days to find the best 10 teams in baseball. Now, within just 30 days, only one champion will be crowned. Here are my thoughts on how the postseason will play out.

*indicates a team that has secured their respective location, and is not a prediction

NL Wild Card | Rockies* vs. Cubs*
October 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN; single-elimination series
The Cubs and Rockies will both be playing in this game fresh off a loss in their tiebreaker games against the Brewers and Dodgers, respectively. The Rockies had a game in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, and, after losing, turned around to fly to Chicago, where they will start the Wild Card game just 24 hours after losing out west. The Cubs have a quick turnaround time, too, but they get to stay at home and wait for the Rockies to come to them. The Cubbies have a stronger roster and will definitely use their home-field advantage to their, well, advantage. Chicago advances to the division series in this one, eliminating the Rockies.

AL Wild Card | Athletics* vs. Yankees*
October 3, 2018 at 8:00 PM EST on TBS; single elimination series
The Yankees enter this Wild Card series with the second best Wild Card record (after only the 2001 “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics) since the Wild Card was established in 1994. Meanwhile, the Athletics have also had a great season, but they couldn’t pass the winners of the AL West: the Houston Astros. In the end, the AL Wild Card game will come down to pitching, where the Yankees are stronger, thanks to their mid-season acquisitions. The two teams split the season series at three wins apiece, so the Wild Card game will be close, but in the end, only one team can advance, and it will be New York.

NL Division Series | Braves* vs. Dodgers*
Starts October 4, 2018 on FOX Sports/MLB Network; best-of-five series
The Dodgers and Braves will meet up for an exciting series. Atlanta, the only NL team that didn’t need a tiebreaker to determine their spot in the playoffs, has a nice balance of veterans and rookies, having some great hitters and a strong pitching staff. Los Angeles also has a nice balance of players, and are similar to Atlanta when taking hitting and pitching into consideration. The Dodgers are a bit older and have more experience, while the Braves are a younger squad. It’s hard to tell if experience or young age will be more important, but one thing is for sure: this will be a thrilling series, and will most certainly last five games. Los Angeles won the season series, 5-2, but Atlanta will win this series, 3-2.

NL Division Series | Cubs vs. Brewers*
Starts October 4, 2018 on FOX Sports/MLB Network; best-of-five series
These two teams met in the elimination games, and they meet again in the NLDS. The Cubs will still pose as a serious threat to their division-mate, especially after beating them in the season series, 11-8. Meanwhile, the Brewers are on a roll, and are riding an eight-game winning streak, fueled by NL Player of the Month and the likely winner of the NL MVP award, Christian Yelich. The Brewers’ momentum will end up being too much for Chicago, with Milwaukee taking this series in four or five games, sending them to the NLCS.

AL Division Series | Yankees vs. Red Sox*
Starts October 5, 2018 on TBS; best-of-five series
The Yankees will be one of the hardest opponents the Red Sox could possibly face, and using the season-series record won’t help in determining the end result (Boston had 10 wins, New York had 9). If manager Alex Cora can correctly handle his starting rotation and bullpen, the lineup should be able to do the rest. However, some Boston pitchers have struggled in New York, so the Yankees could benefit from that. But, the Sox get three of the five games at home, and their starting lineup at its best will be able to knock off their division rivals. Expect the series to last the full five games.

AL Division Series | Indians* vs. Astros*
Starts October 5, 2018 on TBS; best-of-five series
Both teams won their divisions, but the Astros had a much better record, so they get home-field advantage. Looking at the Indians lineup, it seems like a very talented group of guys, but they haven’t been able to come close to the skill level the other AL playoff teams have had. The Tribe has a similar record to some of the teams that missed the playoffs altogether: the Rays and the Mariners. Pitching will be the key factor in this series. In the end, the reigning World Series champion Astros will live to see another series, knocking off the Indians in four or five games.

NL Championship Series | Braves vs. Brewers
Starts October 12, 2018 on FOX Sports; best-of-seven series
Oh yes, the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Braves’ roster includes a sweet balance of youngsters, like Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Ozzie Albies, and some guys who’ve been around the league for a bit longer, such as Mike Foltynewicz, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis. The Brewers continue to be propelled by Christian Yelich and a great pitching staff. The Braves’ fantastic run ends in the Championship Series, where they will fall to the Brewers in six games, sending the Crew to the World Series.

AL Championship Series | Astros vs. Red Sox
Starts October 13, 2018 on TBS; best-of-seven series
The most exciting series of the 2018 season (regular and post) comes during the middle of October. Three of the games will be in Houston, and four will be in Boston, because you can bet that this series will come down to the final game, and perhaps the final couple of innings. Again, it’s two teams with great hitting, but only the potential to have great pitching. It’ll come down to which team has the better pitching, as well as a better bottom half of the lineup (because we know both teams have amazing top halves of their lineups). Because the Red Sox have a better bench and a strong starting rotation, they get a slight edge. The student outsmarts the teacher; Alex Cora over A.J. Hinch.

World Series | Brewers vs. Red Sox
Starts October 24, 2018 on FOX Sports; best-of-seven series
The World Series. The championship of America’s Pastime. The final series of the baseball season. It’s time for a champ to be crowned, and it won’t happen until the #1 seeds of the National League and American League face off in an intense battle lasting around a week. The should-be NL and AL MVPs will face off when Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts take the field. In this series, offense will be the main story, with two teams that have amazing offensive production. However, this means pitching will be key — whichever team can keep their pitching under control the most gets a huge advantage in this series, meaning they will be able to silence their opponent’s bats. Although their bullpen looks like a dream for any hitter, Boston’s starting rotation is scary. If their starting pitchers can find their mojo and go deep into games, the Red Sox will be the easy favorite. Give me Boston winning their fourth World Series of the century, edging out the Brewers in this series, 4-2.

This season has been full of so many exciting games and events. From rivalries to records to the playoff hunt, October is one of the best times of the year. Move over, Halloween — October has a new hero. It’s time for the 2018 MLB postseason.