Well, now that we have our matchups and seeds, I can finally write this post.
I can definitely say that these matchups to end regulation were a fun way to lead into the playoffs, with Lorenzo Cain's RBI and Cody Bellinger's home run clinching things for those teams, and giving the teams that were about to settle for Wild Card spots their respective divisions. So...now the matchups that I THOUGHT were about to happen have been completely flipped. Now the Dodgers HAVE clinched their umpteenth NL West, and the Brewers have delegated the 2-time NL Central champs to Wild Card status.
But...that doesn't make my inability to predict things correctly any less valid. As usual, pre-playoffs, I'm going to run down each playoff matchup, and give my opinion as to how it will go, and my odds. All the way down to the World Series. I don't expect to be right. If I'm right, then baseball's too predictable, and we can't have that.
AL Wild Card: Athletics vs. Yankees
Moneyball III vs. Aaron Boone Part I. I see this being one heck of a game. Either this is going to be a complete blowout on both sides, with only a battle of the long ball separating the two, or it'll be a slow burn pitching battle, possibly between two tough arms, neither of which have been formally announced yet. Still, this is a matchup between two teams with generally equal momentum, both of which could do well in the playoffs. But...I am giving the edge to New York, solely because I think they can outhit the A's, and because I think this team can get the better of their pitching staff. It may be close, and it may come down to extras, but I see a Yankee victory for a second straight AL Wild Card game.
Verdict: Yanks over A's.
NL Wild Card: Rockies vs. Cubs
Battle of the teams who were in first the other day. I'm gonna be controversial with this pick. Looking at this one from afar, it's obvious: the Chicago Cubs have the better team, they have the more skilled, varied roster, and they've been preparing for this run for half the year. But in the last week, they've dropped some crucial games, especially down the stretch. Yes, they won enough to oust the Cardinals from competition (thank you, by the way), but they dropped some games to the Pirates in their last series. So, they're going into a Wild Card game they didn't think they'd be in...vulnerable. Against a team that built up a ton of momentum towards the end. The game's in Chicago rather than Denver, so it should level the playing field, but the Rockies have Kyle Freeland going up against Jon Lester, which gives them the edge, even the Cubs do bring their a-game offensively. I'm going to have to give this one to the Rox, as disappointing as this must be for Cubs fans expecting a virtual 4-peat in the NLCS.
Verdict: Rox over Cubs.
ALDS Part 1: Indians vs. Astros
Verdict: Stros over Tribe in 5.
ALDS Part 2: Yankees vs. Red Sox
The Age-Old Rivalry, Yet Again. Look...with these predictions, I try not to look at these at face value, and I try and actually think about what these will be like in real life. So...let's be honest with ourselves. The Sox just dropped two out of three to the Yankees. They've also lost some matches in the last few weeks to Cleveland, Houston, and...Baltimore. So the Sox are slowing down, hence those Yankee losses. Meanwhile, the Yankees are only heating up. And even if the Sox keep people like Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright and Brian Johnson out of the picture, the Yankees may sink this 'best team of the year'. This is, after all, a battle between two 100-win teams, and teams with major home run hitters. The Yankees have enough to go toe-to-toe with Boston...and they might get the last laugh.
Verdict: Yankees over Sox in 4. They get that 3rd win at the stadium.
NLDS Part 1: Braves vs. Dodgers
1990s Perennial Division Champs vs. 2010s Perennial Division Champs. Another tricky one. The Dodgers do have the momentum, but the Braves aren't too shabby either, and might be the craftier team. The Dodgers may have bigger guns at their disposal, but the Braves have a loaded bench and bullpen, and can play the long game better than arguably anyone in this postseason. This one will probably go all five, and come down to whose pitching can outlast the other's...and the Dodgers may pull this one out at the last second. I expect this to come down to an eighth-or-ninth inning homer off of Pederson or Puig.
Verdict: Dodgers over Braves in 5.
NLDS Part 2: Rockies vs. Brewers
The 'Wasn't This Supposed to be the NL Wild Card game' matchup. And, suddenly, the Brewers are the top-seeded team in the game, and the Rockies are the underdogs. I love the fact I can say that. This one also might go all five games, and exhaust the home-run-hitting abilities of both squads, even with the recent additions of both Matt Holliday and Curtis Grandson respectively. However...it may just come down to the better team winning, and here that might just be the Brewers. In this matchup, the Rockies could very well squeeze through, but there's more probability for the Brewers to take it, especially on the wings of the Yelich-Cain combo.
Verdict: Brewers over Rockies in 5.
ALCS: Astros vs. Yankees
Verdict: Astros over Yankees in 5.
NLCS: Dodgers vs. Brewers
Verdict: Brewers over Dodgers in 6.
World Series: Brewers vs. Astros
Even if it's not as dramatic as that, I firmly believe that the Astros will repeat as World Champions. Over Milwaukee. It may be bold, but bold statements like that get you ahead in life.