Updated: Sep 6
Written by: Charles Vakassian
With the Wild Card round over, we now have our divisional matchups lined up and ready to go. Here at SportsTimeHQ, we will take a crack at predicting how the rest of the playoffs will unfold.
Red Sox vs. Rays
The Red Sox easily dispatched the Yankees in the Wild Card round and now take on a Rays squad that breezed to an AL East division title. The Rays have the advantage on paper, with a dominant mix and match bullpen, a lineup filled with big boppers in Brandon Lowe, Nelson Cruz, and Mike Zunino, and an underrated starting rotation headed by young guns Shand McClanahan and Shane Baz. Boston will need to see more from their bullpen, as Matt Barnes and Adam Ottavino have seen their share of struggles. The starting rotation will have to carry the load, and Chris Sale and Natan Eovaldi will have to continue their strong work. The Boston lineup is well balanced, and the keys will be Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. If those two struggle, it will not be easy for them to score runs. The Rays are adept at making things difficult for the opponent and can make life tough for an overachieving Red Sox team.
Prediction: Rays in 5
White Sox vs. Astros
Another intriguing matchup on the scale features each team’s biggest strength going head to head: The powerful Astros lineup against the shutdown pitching staff of the White Sox. If the likes of Altuve, Correa, and Alvarez can get to the White Sox stable of arms, the series could be short. On the other hand, if the White Sox arms led by Lynn, Giolito, and Rodon can lock down the bats of the Astros, we could see a long affair. The postseason experience of the Astros will prove valuable in this matchup.
Prediction: Astros in 4
Braves vs. Brewers
A series where powerful offense meets dominant pitching. The Braves offense, containing powerful bats such as Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, and Adam Duvall go head to head with a Brewers rotation led by the three-headed monster of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta. This is a series that is flying under the radar, as the other NLDS matchup has bigger names and storylines. That being said, expect this one to go down to the wire with a clutch Game 5 hit from someone unexpected.
Prediction: Brewers in 5
Dodgers vs. Giants
The big matchup. An intense rivalry. A division that went down to the wire. This is the divisional matchup everybody wanted. The Dodgers are coming off of a walk-off win against the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card and now travel to San Francisco to face the rival Giants. The Dodgers look at every but the superior team on paper, with a disgusting rotation, a lineup that can mash no matter who is out there, and a bullpen rounding into form. The Giants are no slouch, with really good starters in Gausman, DeSclafani, and Webb, and a lineup as clutch as clutch can be, with Kris Bryant, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey carrying the load. If this series doesn’t go to game 5, I would be disappointed.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5
Astros vs. Rays
A rematch of last year’s ALCS, where the Astros won 3 in a row to force Game 7, which the Rays won. The Rays superior pitching will lead them to another AL pennant.
Prediction: Rays in 5
Dodgers vs. Brewers
This is a series where an upset is possible. The Brewers can match the Dodgers staff arm for an arm, and their lineup is underrated; a low-scoring series favors the Brewers.
Prediction: Brewers in 7
Brewers vs. Rays
A small market World Series. The dream of small-market teams everywhere. This is the year the Rays finally get over the hump and win their first World Series ever, dispatching a tough Brewers squad.
Prediction: Rays in 6