MLB Postseason Preview: NLDS to provide exciting matchups

AP Photo | Alex Bregman follows through on a two-run home run against the Orioles on Saturday night. Bregman’s 41 home run season led the high-powered Houston offense this season. With an 8.4 WAR, Bregman trailed only Cody Bellinger (9.0) in that category this season.

Jack Breen | Staff Writer

Oct. 3rd, 2019

The 2019 MLB Postseason is upon us. 10 teams will compete throughout the month of October to try to make it to the league’s 115th Fall Classic.

The playoffs kicked off this Tuesday night as the Washington Nationals (93-69) hosted the Milwaukee Brewers (89-73) in the National League Wild Card Game. The Brewers, coming into the game as the hottest team in baseball (20-7 in September), jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Max Scherzer. Brandon Woodruff went four innings for the Brew Crew and allowed only one run. Both offenses stayed quiet until the bottom of the 8th when 20-year old Juan Soto hit a bases loaded single off Josh Hader which cleared the bases, making it a 4-3 game heading to the 9th.

Daniel Hudson sealed the deal for Washington as they will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers in a best-of-five series.

The Dodgers, who finished the regular season with the best record in the NL (106-56), won the NL West division title for the 7th season in a row.

Los Angeles will look to make it to the World Series for the third year in a row,and win their first since 1988. The Dodgers had a superb regular season, highlighted by the pitching staff of Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.32 ERA), Clayton Kershaw (3.03 ERA), and Walker Buehler (3.26 ERA). On the offensive side, MVP candidate Cody Bellinger has cooled off in the second half, but still finished with a 1.035 OPS as he is a 2019 NL MVP candidate.

According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers have the best chance to win the World Series on the National League side with their odds at 16.7%.

In another NLDS matchup, the St. Louis Cardinals (91-71) will play the Atlanta Braves (97-65). Ronald Acuña Jr. put another impressive season on his young resume finishing the campaign with 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases. In St. Louis, pitcher Jack Flaherty performed an incredible second-half of the season which consisted of a 0.91 ERA and 124 strikeouts over 99.1 innings pitched.

In the American League, the games will begin in Oakland as the A’s (97-65) host the Tampa Bay Rays (96-66). Oakland will start southpaw Sean Manaea and Tampa will put Charlie Morton on the mound. Both teams, known for their advanced analytics and low payrolls, will compete to travel to Houston for the division series.

The Houston Astros (107-55) are the heavy favorite to win it all (35.2% per FanGraphs). The core of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa look to win their second title together. The Astros lineup has recently been sparked by 22-year old rookie Yordan Alvarez who hit 27 home runs in just 313 at-bats in the season. The Astros starting rotation contains the two favorites for the AL Cy Young Award Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. This pitching duo was turned into a trio when Houston traded for 6 time all-star Zack Greinke at the last second of the trade deadline. The Astros are hoping to finish a historic season with their second World Series in three years.

The New York Yankees (103-59) will take on the Minnesota Twins (101-61) in an ALDS matchup. The Yankees will enter the postseason with the most World Series championships of all time (27). They have not reached the World Series in 10 years, their last championship coming in 2009. In the other dugout, the Twins exceeded expectations in 2019. The Twins set the MLB season record for team home runs with 307, breaking the previous record of 267 set by the 2018 New York Yankees. The series should feature a heavy amount of offense with neither pitching staff being superior to the other.

The Duke’s 2019 World Series Predictions

— Staff Writer, Jack Breen
Astros 4, Dodgers 2
— Staff Writer, Andrew White
Astros 4, Nationals 2
— Staff Writer, Jason Mignanelli
Yankees 4, Dodgers 3
— Staff Writer, Dom Ferro
Astros 4, Braves 1
— Sports Editor, David Borne
Astros 4, Braves 2

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