MLB postseason 2019 preview

William Toner , Staff Writer

By William Toner

Now that October is here, the Major League Baseball playoff picture is finally in focus. The Dodgers were the first team to clinch their division, securing the title back on Sept. 10. Just a few days later, the Yankees wrapped up their first division title since 2012. The Braves, Astros, and Twins did the same, in that respective order. And the Astros have home field advantage against the Dodgers should both get that far. Otherwise, each has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

A big surprise winner year is the Minnesota Twins, who finished 4th in the AL Central in 2018, but had a bounce back year and won their division with the power of their bats. 

The NL East was a weird division this season with almost all analysts predicting the Phillies as a lock to win the division after additions of Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Bryce Harper. But after injuries and suspensions, the Phillies were in a position to fail and ended up in 4th place in the division behind the Mets, Nationals, and Braves, respectively. 

The NL East will have two postseason representatives: the division champion Atlanta Braves and the surging Washington Nationals. The Nationals were 19-31 on May 24 and became the third team in MLB history to appear in the postseason after starting the season with such a record.

Now, let’s get to the part you all came here for: the predictions: 

 

National League predictions (updated):

 

  • Wild Card Game: #5 MIL Brewers @  #4 WSH Nationals (WSH wins) ✔️
  • NLDS: #3 STL Cardinals vs. #2 ATL Braves (STL wins in 5) ✔️
  • NLDS: #4 WSH Nationals vs. #1 LA Dodgers (LAD wins in 5) ❌ WSH wins in 5
  • NLCS: #4 WSH Nationals vs. #3 STL Cardinals (STL wins in 7) ❌ WSH wins in 4

 

 

American League predictions (updated):

 

  • Wild Card Game: #5 TB Rays @ #4 OAK Athletics (TB wins) ✔️
  • ALDS: #3 MIN Twins vs. #2 NY Yankees (NYY wins in 3) ✔️
  • ALDS: #5 TB Rays vs. #1 HOU Astros (HOU wins in 4) ✔️
  • ALCS: #2 NY Yankees vs. #1 HOU Astros (HOU wins in 6) ✔️

 

 

World Series predictions (updated):

 

  • WS: AL #1 HOU Astros vs. NL #4 WSH Nationals (HOU wins in 6)

 

 

You’re probably wondering why I picked who I did, especially for the Wild Card games and NLDS #1. Let’s start with the Wild Card games; in the AL, the only reason I have Tampa Bay winning is simply because of the pure hitting in that outfield. Rookie Austin Meadows who slashed a .291/.364/.558 with veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham who play behind 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. The infield also consists of some sneaky power hitters like Jesus Aguilar and a little speed as well with Eric Sogard and Yandy Diaz.

The NL Wild Card game will be a fun one to say the least. The Nationals who have an offense as hot as ever with Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Kurt Suzuki, and the suddenly hot Gerardo Parra can’t be ignored. While the Brewers, who have only lost three games since reigning MVP Christian Yelich went down for the season, have an offense to be reckoned with, having pure hitters such as Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and rookie Keston Hiura, who burst on the scene in July. I have Washington winning because of the 9-game home win streak they have and the fact that their ace, Max Scherzer, is pitching. Washington will move on to face the Dodgers in what should be matchup for the ages.

Now, St. Louis and Atlanta. I have this series going the distance with St. Louis emerging victorious. Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty had a banner 2019 regular season right along with outfielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Paul Dejong, who have power for days. While Atlanta is the better team, not having Ronald Acuna Jr. will hurt. The Cardinals will be playing in the NLCS.

October baseball is upon us. Enjoy it everyone and best of luck to your teams.

Last night, October 1, the Nationals and the Brewers played a “Wild” Card game for the right to play the Dodgers in the NLDS. In the first two innings the Brewers offense got to Nationals ace Max Scherzer, hitting a two-run home run in the first and a solo home run in the second to take a 3-0 lead. In the third, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner continued his hot streak hitting a solo home run to cut the deficit to two. There was no more action until the eighth inning, when Nats left fielder Juan Soto hit a line drive into right field with the bases loaded. As the ball took a leftward hop away from Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham, it went from a game-tying single to a bases clearing double plus an error. The Nationals, for the first time in their history, won an elimination game, and what a way to do it. My NL Wild Card MVP is Juan Soto.

Game 1 of the NLDS will be in Los Angeles on Thursday at 8:30pm.

The AL Wild Card game was a bit anticlimactic in the sense that I expected the outcome we had. Tampa Bay absolutely outplayed Oakland, it seemed as if Oakland never really had a chance. The Rays’ pitching was outstanding, especially Charlie Morton, who went five innings and gave up only one run. The Rays won 5-1 and will face Houston in the ALDS starting on Friday. My AL Wild Card MVP is Tampa Bay’s pitching.

The New York Yankees swept their ALDS matchup with the Twins. This series was uneventful pitching-wise and nothing notable happened offensively aside from Didi Gregorius’ grand slam in Game 2 to put the series on ice. My Series MVP is Didi Gregorius.

St. Louis managed to pull off an NLDS series win against Atlanta after winning the decisive Game Five by a score of 13-1. The series was tight all the way until the final game. In the first inning of Game Five St. Louis put up a 10-spot to put the series away, practically. My Series MVP is Jack Flaherty.

Big upset in Los Angeles! The Dodgers looked like they had the series in the bag after taking two of the first three. Washington managed a 6-1 Game Four win to force a decisive Game Five. The deciding game started out promising for the Dodgers but ended in what could only be described as a heartbreaking Hollywood ending for them. Washington won their first postseason series since their move to the nation’s capital in 2005. My Series MVP is Stephen Strasburg.

The Rays pushed Houston to a decisive Game 5, winning both games at home, but had their offense go M.I.A. in the series deciding game. It was later admitted by Rays’ starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow that he was tipping pitches, whether or not it was intentional is unknown, and ultimately cost Tampa Bay the series. My series MVP is Alex Bregman.

In what seemed like an NLCS matchup for the ages, the Nationals made the Cardinals look like a little league team, sweeping the series four games to none. In the series, the Cardinals scored a measly six runs in four games, four of which came in Game 4, while the Nationals scored 20. The Nationals pitching was all around solid. In Game 1 Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the 8th, pitching 7.2 innings of no-hit baseball. Meanwhile in Game 2, Max Scherzer, unsurprisingly, took a no-hit bid into the 7th inning. The Nationals offense just was relentless, getting help from all hitters. Howie Kendrick had 5 RBIs and 4 doubles, while Victor Robles was solid at the bottom of the order. The only spot in the order that didn’t produce was the pitcher’s spot. Howie Kendrick was named NLCS MVP.

The Astros and Yankees were the last two Goliaths remaining, unfortunately, one of them had to go. In what was a series with more fan-fare than any other, it looked as if the Astros would easily win as they had a 3-1 series lead headed into Game 5. The Yankees won Game 5 in the Bronx behind Aaron Hicks’ 3-run home run off the foul pole to stave off elimination. Unfortunately, the Yankees would come up short in Game 6 as Jose Altuve hit a walk-off 2-run home run off Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman. Jose Altuve was named ALCS MVP.

And then there were two…Washington and Houston begin the World Series on Tuesday night at 8:08pm on FOX.

Game 1 of the Fall Classic got off to a fairly quick start, in the bottom of the first, Yuli Gurriel hit a 2-run double off the left center wall to give the Astros an early 2-0 lead. The Nationals responded fairly quickly, in the top of the second, Nationals’ first baseman and Kellam High School grad Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run to center field to cut the lead in half. As the top of the fourth rolled around, Nationals’ left fielder Juan Soto hit a game tying home run to the train tracks at Minute Maid Park. In the very next inning, the Nationals tacked on three more runs. At that point, they wouldn’t look back as they would win Game 1 by a score of 5-4 and take a 1-0 series lead.

Wednesday’s World Series Game 2 got off to a fast start. In the first inning the Nationals had two men aboard with no outs, after a Trea Turner walk and Adam Eaton double, for Anthony Rendon. The Nats’ third baseman hit a double to left field to give Washington an early 2-0 lead. In the bottom of that inning, Astros’ designated hitter Yordan Alvarez hit a single to bring up the power hitting Alex Bregman, after a short battle, Bregman hit an absolute laser of a home run to tie the game at two apiece. After that, the game was pretty uneventful until the top of the seventh when the Nationals had a six run inning. That inning started off with a Kurt Suzuki solo home run to put Washington ahead, later that inning Howie Kendrick hit a bases loaded infield single that would put them ahead for good. The final score was 12-3 and the Nationals took over home field advantage with a 2-0 series lead headed back home for three games.