Playoff Baseball Lands at the Ideal Championship Series’ Matchups

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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw inexplicably struggles in the postseason. In Game 1 of the NLCS against the Brewers, Kershaw was forced out after pitching three innings, surrendering four. 

Ben Polikoff, Maroon-News Staff

The MLB has recently been the most exciting and intriguing in years, in my opinion. For once it seems like we, as fans, are actually seeing the best teams in the playoffs, and not just random teams getting hot at the right time.

On both sides of the bracket the top two seeds are going at each other and, at this point, have not disappointed.

The best of seven American League Championship Series (ALCS) matchups features the Boston Red Sox and the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros.

Meanwhile, the National League Championship Series (NLCS) pits the Milwaukee Brewers against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

ALCS: Sox vs. Astros

The ALCS has the two best teams in the play- offs. Boston’s 108-54 record at the end of the regular season was the league’s best, while the Astros finished only five games back. To reach the ALCS, the Astros comfortably swept the Cleveland Indians in three games, while the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees three games to one.

Boston is probably a slight favorite in this series due to home field advantage. Boston thrives off their tremendous depth in their lineup and their remarkable defensive skills.

The question will be how well they can hold up with their starting pitching and the bullpen. Boston posted one of the best regular season records of all time and it should be interesting to see if they can move past the Houston Astros.

The Houston Astros, on the other hand, are prepared to make an attempt to reclaim the World Series Champions. They’re highlighted by a very deep lineup that includes the likes of Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman. What may separate them from the Boston Red Sox is their starting pitching. Featuring Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the Astros’ starting pitching has been nothing short of dominant and, in my opinion, will give them the upperhand in this series. Prediction: Houston in 6

NLCS: Dodgers vs. Brewers

The NLCS is a very intriguing, even matchup. The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team whose identity I have trouble pin- pointing. Led by third baseman Justin Turner, shortstop Manny Machado and outfielder Cody Bellinger, they will look to rebound after last year’s World Series loss. Whether or not Clayton Kershaw can finally show up in the postseason may be a decisive factor.

To think of how Kershaw, possibly the best pitcher of all time, can struggle so much in the postseason is bewildering. It has, to say the least, been a recurring theme for the Los Angeles Dodgers. While he has time to make up for his shortcomings in Game 1, pressure is mounting for the ace.

The Brewers, the hottest team remaining going into the Championship Series, are eager to make their first trip to the postseason in the last 10 years count.

Led by MVP-favorite outfielder Christian Yelich, the Brewers have become probably the Cinderella story of the MLB season.

What makes them so good is their depth and productivity in their bullpen. Led by phenom reliever Josh Hader, the Brewers’ bullpen has been electric this postseason, posting a collective 0.64 ERA with 30 strike- outs in the National League Division Series.

The Dodgers will need to score early in games, to avoid fighting to rally against the powerful Brewers bullpen, if they want to be successful.
Prediction: Brewers in 7.

Contact Ben Polikoff at [email protected]