The MLB Postseason is in full swing, and we are now on to the League Championship Series leg of October baseball. The defending champion Houston Astros are still defending, as they will take on a strong Boston Red Sox club that finished the regular season with the most wins of any team. In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers attempt to punch their first ticket to the World Series since 1982; back when the club was in the American League. Standing in the way of the Brewers are the defending National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
American League Championship Series: Houston Astros vs Boston Red Sox
The Astros won the World Series in 2017, and are continuing their defense into the 2018 ALCS. They faced off against the AL Central Champion Cleveland Indians in the ALDS and swept them in three games. Game One started out close, but the Astros pulled away late. Leading 4-2 in the seventh, behind a strong performance from Justin Verlander on the mound, Martin Maldonado swatted a solo shot to extend the lead to three. Houston went on to win 7-2.
Game Two was the closest of the three. Down 1-0 in the sixth, Marwin Gonzalez drove in two runs on a double to put Houston on top. Alex Bregman put a cap on the night with a seventh inning home run. The Astros trailed a bit again in Game Three, but spotted the Indians 10 runs over the final three innings to complete the sweep.
The Red Sox had to wait for the Wild Card Game to be played before finding out their opponent. That opponent ended up being their long time rival New York Yankees. Hyped to be an incredibly dramatic series, it delivered in a few spots. Game One went to Boston, behind a strong outing from ace Chris Sale and a three-run bomb from slugger J.D. Martinez. Game Two didn’t go as well, as David Price’s postseason struggles continued. In game three, Brock Holt became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle, and the Sox put up 16 runs. Game Four was almost blown by closer Craig Kimbrel, but the Sox held on in part thanks to a replay on the final play of the game.
This series should go seven games, barring some catastrophic meltdown by either team. Both teams boast high octane offenses, stellar defensive play, and a pitching staff that can control a game. With this being said, I have to give a slight edge to the Houston Astros. George Springer has proven to be a dynamic postseason bat, and I think that continues here.
Prediction: Houston Astros in Seven Games
National League Championship Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs Milwaukee Brewers
The Dodgers struggled out of the gate during the regular season, but were able to rebound and make the postseason. They had to play 163 games due to a division tie with the Colorado Rockies. They defeated the Rockies to win the division, and had to face the upstart Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. Games One and Two were both shutouts, as the Dodgers received stellar performances on the mound from Hyun-jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw.
Game Three saw the series shift to Atlanta, and it seemed to jump start a sleeping Braves offense. Ronald Acuña Jr had a 1-0 lead when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the second. The 21-year old phenom proceeded to blast a grand slam to put Atlanta ahead by five. The Dodgers came back to tie, but a Freddie Freeman solo shot in the seventh proved to be a nail in the coffin. In Game Four, trade deadline acquisition Manny Machado came through, hitting a home run and driving in four runs in a 6-2 series clinching victory.
The Brewers were red hot in the month of September, and they capped it all off by defeating the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central Division Tiebreaker. They ended up facing the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS. The Rockies also beat the Cubs to advance, this time in the NL Wild Card Game. Game One was all Brewers until the ninth, when Jeremy Jeffress gave up a two run lead and the game was forced into extras. The Brewers won on a Mike Moustakas walkoff single.
Game Two fared much better for Milwaukee, as Jhoulys Chacin threw five innings of three-hit ball on short rest, and the bullpen locked down a 4-0 shutout. Game Three was also a Brewer shutout victory to clinch the sweep. Wade Miley threw five great innings before turning it over to the dynamic Brewer pen.
This series could go seven, but I don’t think it will. I have to give the Brewers the edge in this series because of their bullpen. The Dodgers have a better starting staff, but the Brewers only need about five innings from their starters. From there, the bullpen will light it up and close the door. Coming into the NLCS, Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain is hitting just .083. That being saidook for him to breakout in this series.
Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers in Six Games
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