MLB Postseason Preview
Written by Enzo Orlando on October 3, 2018
By: Enzo Orlando
With October beginning, postseason baseball is in full swing and the race to the World Series begins. Many teams that were in the playoffs last year are back to try to win a World Series, along with some teams who are beginning a new chapter in their franchise.
The American League playoff contenders are the Yankees, A’s, Red Sox, Indians, and Astros. The wild card game is between the Yankees and A’s.
The Yankees were favored to win the AL East, but their rival, the Boston Red Sox, had a season that the Yankees expected of themselves.. Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez have welcomed back Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius from the disabled list. With a healthy Yankees lineup, Luis Severino starting in the wild card game and the three-headed monster in the back-end of their bullpen lead by Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees are destined to make a run deep into October.
The A’s were baseball’s surprise contender this year. Their lineup played a big role in helping them get to the postseason. The A’s were second in home runs in all of baseball and most of those home runs came from Khris Davis (48) and Matt Olson (29).
The Yankees were first in home runs this season, so expect the wild card game to be filled with a lot of long balls.
Heading to the divisional series that baseball fans will keep their eyes on in this year’s postseason is the Cleveland Indians against the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. The Indians regressed slightly from their 102-win season in 2017 to 91 wins this season .. This series has two duos to watch out for. The Tribe have one of the best duos in baseball on offense and defense with Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, and the Astros have Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Pitching wise, the Indians are coming at the Astros with a strong rotation lead by Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Astros might be able to top the Tribe’s forte with ace Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel. Houston’s bullpen has the edge in this series compared to the Indians, who did not have a strong bullpen this year because of injuries.
To top off the AL side of the playoffs is the Boston Red Sox who had the best record in baseball this year going 108-54. The Red Sox were known contenders heading into this season, but most didn’t expect the pure dominance they showed on a nightly basis. The bats for the Red Sox have been on fire all season with Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez leading the way. Their pitching staff is led by ace Chris Sale and former Cy Young award-winner David Price. Boston does look like a scary team in the postseason, but the last two years they also have been knocked out in the ALDS.
In the National League, many of the divisions ended strangely and there was a surprise team that won in the NL East. The NL Central and NL West both had teams tied at the end of the season. The Cubs and Brewers were tied in the NL Central, a division the Cubs have dominated the central the last three years. In the tiebreaker game, the Brewers took the NL central away from the Cubs and clinched the number one seed in the NL.
In the NL West, the Dodgers and Rockies were tied, and the Dodgers were able to win the tiebreaker 5-2 and claim their sixth NL West division title in a row as they advanced to face the Braves in the NLDS.
The Braves were another one of baseball’s surprise teams teams that most did not think would contend this year.. The Braves are a young squad with young star Ronald Acuña leading the pack, but they will have their hands full with the Dodgers and the veterans that are back for another trip to the playoffs.
This year’s postseason should be very interesting to see who gets hot and who gets cold, but per usual October baseball, anything can happen.