The 2017 MLB Postseason is finally upon us. The action begins tonight in the Bronx as the Twins visit the Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. With many great potential match-ups on the horizon, the Sox On 35th Crew decided to try their best at predicting the outcome of this year’s postseason, round by round. Enjoy!
AL Wild Card
Jordan Lazowski: Yankees over Twins
I love the story the Minnesota Twins have had this year, going from bottom-dwellers to a Postseason berth in just one season. The pitching matchup here is Luis Severino versus Ervin Santana. I give a slight advantage to Severino, but I don’t think it’ll really matter much, because the Yankees’ deep bullpen and strong offense will give the Yankees the victory here. However, the Twins shouldn’t be overmatched nor overlooked, given their recent offensive surge.
Joe Binder: Yankees over Twins
The Yankees have home field advantage with a solid starter in Luis Severino, a dominant bullpen, and one of the best offenses in Major League Baseball. While the Twins have been a great story this season, being swept in New York a few weeks ago was a precursor to this wild card game. All signs points towards a Yankees victory in the first game of the postseason.
NL Wild Card
Jordan Lazowski: Diamondbacks over Rockies
The pitching matchup here is Zack Greinke versus Jon Gray. I might have given the advantage to the Rockies if this game were played at Coors Field, if only because this is a one-game playoff. However, a one-game playoff at Chase Field with Zack Grienke pitching like an ace and the D-Backs’ offense carried by guys J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt will be enough to give the Diamondbacks the win.
Joe Binder: Diamondbacks over Rockies
This was a tough game to predict but I ultimately had to choose the Diamondbacks. Home field advantage with veteran Zack Grienke on the mound, a pitcher with plenty of postseason experience, just seemed too good to pass up. If Jon Gray has one of his solid performances, this game could go down to the wire. I think Arizona has what it takes to advance to the NLDS and take on the Dodgers.
Matt McAley – Diamonbacks over Rockies
For the first time since 2011, there will be playoff baseball in the desert. The Arizona Diamondbacks will play host to the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game. The Diamondbacks finished the season with 93 wins and are looking to shock the baseball world with a deep run into October. The Diamondbacks are a team that doesn’t receive much publicity but have all the assets to make a run at the pennant. One of Arizona’s strengths is their pitching. A staff led by Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, and Taijuan Walker and a dominant bullpen with arms that include, Archie Bradley and Fernando Rodney. The Diamondbacks went 11-8 against the Rockies this season. With the game being at Chase Field, I give the edge to the D-Backs to beat Colorado and move onto Dodger Stadium in the NLDS.
Jordan Lazowski: Indians over Yankees in 3
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone here. The Indians are as complete of a team as it gets. Starting pitching, bullpen, offense, defense, the 102-win Indians have all it takes to contain Aaron Judge. Add that to the fact that Yankees’ ace Luis Severino will only get one start in the ALDS because he will be pitching the Wild Card Game, I don’t see the Indians dragging this one out to more than 4 games at the very most.
Joe Binder: Indians over Yankees in 4
With the Indians being the hottest team in baseball right now, this should be a fairly easy series for the Tribe. I almost had Cleveland advancing in three, but if the Yankees offense gets going, the New York bullpen could be tough to overcome late in the game. Therefore, I think the Yankees could sneak in a win at some point during the series. Don’t be surprised if Cleveland shuts down New York and completes the sweep, though.
Jordan Lazowski: Astros over Red Sox in 4
The Red Sox did not perform as the team many thought they would this year, largely due to injuries to their pitching staff (David Price) and a huge step back in performance from Rick Porcello. Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz are good, but they don’t out-duel a hot Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. We aren’t even sure how Chris Sale will pitch in his first Postseason action; and if you think I’m crazy for questioning that, take a look at Clayton Kershaw. The Astros had the best offense in the major leagues this year, and much like the Indians, winning over 100 games doesn’t happen by chance. The Red Sox will be offensively overmatched in this series, which will be more than enough to give the Astros the ALCS berth.
Joe Binder: Astros over Red Sox in 4
The acquisition of Justin Verlander made the Astros a dangerous team to face in the postseason. He and Keuchel delivering the 1-2 punch to start out the series isn’t a good thing for a Boston team that has been struggling as of late. After going 5-5 to close out the season, I believe some of those struggles could carry over into the ALDS for Boston, and will lead to Houston punching their ticket to the ALCS.
Jordan Lazowski: Dodgers over Diamondbacks in 5
This is one of the most difficult matchups to predict in this Postseason, especially considering the fact that the Dodgers have an 8-11 record against the Diamondbacks this season. I’m a tad concerned about the struggling offense for the Dodgers, and their cold September stretch does worry me. That being said, the Dodgers clearly have shown that they can be above and beyond the best team in the National League. Assuming their offense plays up to its abilities, the Dodgers’ offense, combined with the fact that Greinke will only be able to make one NLDS start, should guide the Dodgers to another NLCS berth. However, it would be the least surprising thing in the world to me if the Diamondbacks win this series, especially if this comes down to Game 5.
Joe Binder: Dodgers over Diamondbacks in 4
Despite struggling mightily in September, the Dodgers closed out the season with an impressive 8-2 run. It’s important for LA to take care of games at home and stay hot offensively. The only catch to this prediction is if the Dodgers fall behind early in this series, watch out for Arizona. I think if Arizona can win a game on the road and have a strong homestand, they could upset the Dodgers in this series. However, for now, I believe the Dodgers will continue their recent hot streak and take care of the Diamondbacks in 4 games.
Jordan Lazowski: Nationals over Cubs in 5
The Cubs’ Postseason experience makes this one a difficult choice. However, for large parts of last Postseason, the Cubs’ offense struggled mightily. Playing the Giants in the first round and a weaker Dodgers team in the second round allowed them to get away with it until they found their bats in the World Series, but I think that, given their struggles throughout this regular season, the Cubs won’t be able to get away with any offensive struggles to start this Postseason. Their starting pitching has been excellent (though weakened by Arrieta’s injuries and Lester’s struggles), but it is matched by Scherzer, Gonzalez, and Strasburg. This won’t be an easy series for the Nats by any means, but it should be a winning one. However, much like the Dodgers-Diamondbacks series, if this does go to 5 games, the Cubs could just as easily pull off the NLCS berth.
Joe Binder: Cubs over Nationals in 5
The Nationals rotation of Scherzer, Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Roark will be facing another very good rotation of Kendricks, Quintana, and Lester. While both teams have solid starters, the Nationals have an improved bullpen that could be used to their advantage. However, with Gonzalez and Roark facing some bumps in the road lately and Scherzer currently battling a hamstring injury, this has me a little concerned. With an offense led by Bryant, Rizzo, and Shcwarber, it looks like the Nationals will run into some trouble. This Cubs squad has the postseason experience and should cause problems offensively in this series. I think they take this one in 5, but don’t rule out the Nationals just yet.
Jordan Lazowski: Indians over Astros in 7
This is going to be – assuming both teams make it this far – the best matchup in the Postseason, I’m calling it now. I don’t think starting pitching or offense really favors one team or another, as Kluber-Verlander and Carrasco-Keuchel will be awesome matchups and both lineups are star-filled. The advantage for the Indians comes in the bullpen. After, let’s just say, the 6th inning or so, if the Indians have the lead, these games should be just about over. I also give the Indians the advantage of being battle-tested and much more experienced in the Postseason than the Astros. Finally, the Indians find ways to win games they probably shouldn’t, which is an invaluable ability highlighted by an invaluable manager.
Joe Binder: Indians over Astros in 6
Out of all the predictions I have to make, this one was the most difficult. Houston’s offense and starting pitching have the best chance out of any team in baseball to stop the Cleveland Indians, in my opinion. That being said, the Cleveland Indians were a World Series team last year and this year, it appears all the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together. Since the Astros’ bullpen could cause some problems late in games against a dangerous Indians’ offense, I think Cleveland takes care of this one in 6. No matter what, this match-up might be better than the actual World Series. It should be fun to watch!
Jordan Lazowski: Dodgers over Nationals in 5
I like the Nationals in the NLDS, but I don’t like them nearly as much in the NLCS. The Dodgers’ pitching is built much better for a 7-game series than the Nationals’, highlighted by Kershaw, Hill, Alex Wood, Darvish, and of course, Kenley Jansen. I’m still running with the assumption that the Dodgers’ high-powered offense once again finds its mid-season form late into this season, and if it does, the Dodgers will find themselves back in the World Series.
Joe Binder: Dodgers over Cubs in 6
I think the Dodgers will go on a hot steak this postseason, and will be a very tough team to beat. I give their starting rotation the slight edge and think that they’re offense could force Cubs starters, like Lester, out of the game early. While it won’t be an easy series by any means, the Dodgers offense will finally lead them to the World Series after falling short for so many years.
Jordan Lazowski: Indians over Dodgers in 6
Yup, I’m going with the pretty basic pick here (which is why I included the official “Jordan Lazowski’s 3 Bold Predictions” at the end of this. You can raise any statistical argument you want, and look at it from any angle – as I have done – but the Indians have it all. They are simply a more balanced team. If the Dodgers make it this far and aren’t playing the Indians, they have a great shot at winning the World Series. But the Indians haven’t shown me anything recently that would lead me to believe that the trophy isn’t going back to Cleveland for the first time since 1948.
Joe Binder: Indians over Dodgers in 6
There’s not a team I like more in the playoffs than the Cleveland Indians. They have the starting pitching, high-powered offense, and solid bullpen to win it all this year. It is really hard to think of a weakness with Terry Francona’s squad. While I have the Dodgers going this far, it is surrounded by a lot of questions. Will they be the Dodgers team that we saw in July or the one that we saw in September? Since this team has struggled very recently, it’s hard for me to feel confident enough in them to pull out the series win against Cleveland. While they could get hot and be dangerous, they could easily face some serious difficulties. Therefore, the Indians will be partying like it’s 1948 and win it all in 5 games.
Jordan Lazowski’s Three Bold Predictions for the 2017 Postseason:
1) The Twins reach the ALCS, taking down the Indians in the process.
2) The Diamondbacks make it to the World Series.
3) The Cubs repeat as World Series Champions.