Many teams have shot at Series title in MLB playoffs

Hopes and dreams of a World Series for teams fighting to scrape out of the bottom of the barrel have been crushed for the bottom feeders this past weekend. It is at that point in the season in which a select few teams stay alive and fight for another day. From the Indians looking for revenge, to the Los Angeles Dodgers looking to finish a long title drought, the MLB playoffs start this week, and every team is alive and has a chance — even whoever has to play the Dodgers.

New York Yankees– The Yanks were the best team in the wild card and had the best chance out of the four to do some damage, and they handily dispatched the Twins, 8-4, and advance to face the Cleveland Indians.

If you’ve followed any baseball since May, you’ve most likely heard of Aaron Judge. Discussed as perhaps “the face of baseball’ for a few weeks during his hot streak ending at the home run derby, Judge will be the beating heart of the team during the postseason. The number of games the Yankees win will depend solely on how well Judge performs.

There are other small factors like Didi Gregorius and fellow streaking hitter Gary Sanchez, but nothing compares to Aaron Judge. Everything, including his brand, is relying on this postseason.

I don’t mean to sound like it’s the end of the world for Judge, but considering the cold streak he went through during the second half, it is important for him to have success early. Personally I don’t think the Yankees have a good chance to beat the Indians. The only chance the Yankees have aside from Aaron Judge is the Yankees run prevention. The Yankees are the only team better at preventing runs than the Indians. Silencing Francisco Lindor and the rest of the hard hitting batters that come out of Cleveland’s dugout. The Yanks bullpen is the key to keeping runs off the board. But aside from the chance of New York outperforming the Indians in the bullpen, the chance of winning three games in the series is slim.

Boston Red Sox– Boston is back in the playoffs, and it’s good for baseball, especially recalling the incredible comeback during the 2004 ALCS where the Sox came back down 3-0 in the series. Another series like that would only be matched by a possible all-Chicago World Series.

The Red Sox aren’t your normal team, however. Nowadays it seems like every team relies heavily on the long ball, especially this year considering how the MLB shattered the previous record of home runs in a season.

Boston uses its great pitching to its advantage and holds off anyone from consistently getting on base or going yard. The only reason why the Red Sox shouldn’t make it deep in the postseason is that the wheels fall off the pitching wagon, but considering they have Rick Porcello and Chris Sale, I don’t see them going too far off the beaten path.

Their first series against the Houston Astros will be the biggest test for them all season. Personally, I think Houston is the best in the playoffs right now, but I’ll get more on that later.

All the Red Sox have to do is get men on base and let the pitching work itself. As long as Boston plays like they have all season, I don’t see why they won’t have a pennant in their trophy case after it’s all said and done.

Cleveland Indians- After last year’s devastating loss to the Cubs in game seven, the Indians bounced back in a tremendous way during the 2017 season. They went on one of the best winning streaks since the Moneyball A’s in the early 2000s.

They have solid pitching, the best bullpen in baseball and some power heading up to the plate. Honestly, I don’t see why the Indians don’t beat out the league. Even if they play mediocre, teams would have to do everything right to play better than the Tribe. If I had to put all my money on a team to win the World Series right now, it would be the Indians.

They do have some tougher competition than in the NL bracket, but I still don’t think that matters. I will leave with this on the Indians, though; if anyone would be able to give it to the Indians, it would have to be Aaron Judge.

Houston Astros- The Astros were one of the teams people picked to go all the way. Their offense is one of the best in the league heading into the postseason. They have an MVP candidate at second base in Jose Altuve, an up and coming star in Carlos Correa and one of the best aces in the league with Dallas Keuchel.

The only problem that may plague the ’stros is their lack of depth. They’re superficial, and the worst possible thing to happen down the stretch is a key injury. If Correa or Verlander goes down, it will be very hard for Houston to come back. Houston has all the keys to make a run, but I think their chances are very fragile, not to mention the other competition they have to face.

Washington Nationals- The Nationals have quietly strolled into the second best spot for the 2017 Postseason. Washington has silently dominated the weak NL East, but still, have the most questions remaining around the team.

Max Scherzer’s hamstring could be a small insignificant injury, or it could put him on the trainer’s table the whole season. Bryce Harper was able to get some at-bats in during the last week of the season but only scored a .071 batting average going into the final game. His gruesome injury and whether or not he can return to his all-star form is an important predicament Dusty Baker is going to positively solve if the Nats want to get anywhere in the postseason.

Chicago Cubs- The Cubs started off the season like any other team coming off a World Series championship since 2012: abysmal.

A rough pre-all star break led to one of the best records coming out of the second half of the season. The Cubs, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and the whole pitching staff are coming into the Postseason hot.

The Cub’s are 7-3 in the past 10 games, and coming up clutch where it counts. The northsiders won three of four in a very important division-clinching series. They won two out of the three in extra innings, riding hot starts from Schwarber and Bryant.

As far as the rest of the lineup, players are coming into their own. Javier Baez was relatively quiet this season, but his ability to get on base the last month in the season is a great positive from the bottom of the lineup. Jayson Heyward has gone under the radar this year after his terrible first year with the club. He’s adding juice to pitches in the strike zone and showing good decisions in pitches he normally wouldn’t last year.

Pitching will be the biggest wonderment on the heads of Joe Maddon and staff. Jon Lester has not been playing well at all this year with his ERA in the 4.3 range. Jake Arrieta has a questionable leg injury along with an underperforming Kyle Hendricks.

The key for Chicago will be improving on the pitching. The offense is coming into its own. and the Cubbies can’t rely on Quintana for every game, every series.

Make no mistake, however, if you see the Cubs pick up the series win, don’t think of it as a huge surprise. The Cubs have fewer worries than their first opponent.

Los Angeles Dodgers- After a season where the Dodgers went from a probable World Series winner and perhaps one of the greatest teams ever assembled, the Dodgers are heading into the race with their heads just above water. When the wheels fell off during August and September, the Dodgers had to do some major adjusting.

That being said, they still possess the best record in baseball and have the greatest talent with Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers are almost a forsure lock in the NLDS and have incredible chances to make it through the rest of the league. They an incredible pitching staff anchored by the greatest closer on any NL team. They have young superstars that have playoff experience already.

Did I already mention they have Clayton Kershaw?

It is going to be very hard to knock off the Dodgers. The only way I see anyone doing that is by having an incredibly potent offense able to subdue the pitching, while at the same time taming the middle of their lineup, but it’s hard for me to imagine a possibility of that.

Arizona Diamondbacks- The Dbacks are an above average team with 93 wins and an incredibly powerful lineup, and they just knocked off the Rockies 11-8 to advance to face the Dodgers.

After the trade for J.D. Martinez, Arizona immediately went from wild card team to a contender. The stacked lineup that contains the likes of J.D., Paul Goldschmidt (the best offensive first basemen apart from Anthony Rizzo) and Jake Lamb is one or two good pitchers away from giving the Dodgers a run for their money.

That being said, I don’t think they have a realistic chance at beating LA. As much as I’d like to say the Dodgers will have their hands full, I don’t think they will.

It’s kinda like a Rocky Balboa fight. Except instead of winning triumphantly, Rocky gets KO’d in the third round.

Maybe in a couple of years when the Dodger’s pitching staff has aged and the Dbacks acquire a pitcher or two, Rocky will be able to win, but as of now, I can’t confidently say the Diamondbacks will put up a strong fight. However, keep in mind I have been wrong before and am bound to be wrong again.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.