October is finally upon us and Major League Baseball has already given us a foretast of what to expect in the coming weeks. After the full regular season schedule had finished, the NL Central and NL West had yet to be claimed. In two crucial game 163’s, the Brewers and Dodgers both won their divisions setting the stage for the chase to the fall classic. That being said, here’s a look at the playoff picture this fall.
NL Wild Card (Cubs vs Rockies)
With the Chicago bullpen using six different pitchers in their Game 163 against the Milwaukee, the Cubs will need a quality outing from their starting pitcher. The Cubs will most likely turn to their ace Jon Lester to get the job done while the Rockies best option would be Kyle Freeland on short rest. If Arenado and Story bring hot bats to the windy city, Lester, who’s no stranger to the big stage, will need to immaculate. The winner will advance to the NLDS against the Brewers.
AL Wild Card (Yankees vs Athletics)
The Yankees, the team with baseball’s highest payroll, will host the Athletics, the team with baseball’s lowest payroll. While Oakland has played incredible baseball as of late, New York played well at home all season and finished the year strong at the 100-win mark. This game could be arguably the most exciting to watch before the Fall Classic and is the best wild card matchup since MLB instituted it back in 2012. The winner will advance to the ALDS against the Red Sox
NLDS (Brewers vs TBD)
Finishing with the best record in the National League, the Brewers have earned themselves the number one seed on their side of the postseason bracket. Backed by Christian Yelich’s near triple-crown season and a pitching staff that ranked among the top five in all of baseball, Milwaukee has asserted their dominance in the NL and it’s tough to see either wild card opponent taking them down in divisional play.
NLDS (Dodgers vs Braves)
The reigning champions of the National League will take on the Braves in the opening rounds of the postseason. Atlanta returns to the postseason for the first time in five years and they do so with some young stars with no playoff experience. The Dodger’s made it clear that they’re on the hunt to defend their league title acquiring all-star Manny Machado at the trade-deadline. While the ATL has high hopes, LA is the favorite in this series.
ALDS (Red Sox vs TBD)
Feel bad for the unlucky team that must play this juggernaut. This year’s Red Sox teams set the new franchise record for wins with 108 and have been just a joy to watch even without all-star second-baseman Dustin Pedroia out for majority of the season. While I believe the Yankees could give them a run for their money, it’s doubtful that Mookie Betts and the offense slow down enough to let their division rivals tarnish what may be the greatest season in Sox’s history.
ALDS (Astros vs Indians)
The defending World Series champions should feel comfortable going into this series. The Indians record looks good at a glance, they have finished under the .500 mark against teams from the AL East and AL West. A healthy Houston lineup backed by a strong rotation that is somehow better than last year’s sparks trouble for Cleveland. Don’t expect sweep nonetheless, as Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez can ignite a rally at the plate at any given time.