MLB Postseason: It’s October! A Look at the Most Intriguing Series’ in the NL and AL

Ben Polikoff, Maroon-News Staff

When looking at this year’s MLB Playoffs, one thing that is for sure: it’s anyone’s game. Last year, everyone knew that the Cubs were the favorite to make and win the World Series. This year, the playing field is much more even, and, frankly, there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen.

Something that’s very special about this year’s playoffs is that we have some teams making the postseason for the first time in a long time. We have the Colorado Rockies making their first playoff appearance since 2009, when they lost to the Phillies in the NL Divisional Series. We also have the Arizona Diamondbacks making their first appearance since their 2011 Divisional

Series loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. And, lastly,  we’ve got the Minnesota Twins who hadn’t made the playoffs since 2010 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2004.

We know how good the Cleveland Indians are. They won 22-straight games and, in the process, etched themselves as one of the best pitching teams in AL history. They should handle whoever comes out of the AL Wild Card.

The most intriguing Divisional Series will be the Boston Red Sox against the Houston Astros. Both of these teams have explosive offenses along with very solid pitching. The Boston Red Sox will be led by their upcoming young players in shortstop Xander Bogaerts, left fielder Andrew Benintendi, and right fielder Mookie Betts.

Along with these young upcoming players, the Red Sox will also rely on their veteran leadership from second baseman Dustin Pedroia and designated hitter Hanley Ramirez who’s second on their team in homeruns with 23.

The Astros are led by an army of homegrown talent. Spearheaded by the dynamic play of MVP candidate Jose Altuve, the Astros have enjoyed a dominant season of 101 wins and 61 losses, a franchise-best record. It’s intriguing to consider where this franchise was five years ago: 51 wins and a deplorable 111 losses. Needless to say, the 2017 Astros have redeemed themselves. In this series versus the Red Sox, I see the Astros victorious in four games because of their depth in the batting order and their top-heavy pitching rotation led by a healthy Dallas Keuchel.

Another series that won’t fail to entertain will be the Washington Nationals against the Chicago Cubs. There will be no shortage of offense in this series. Coming off their second straight NL East title, the Washington Nationals have had a dazzling season despite their franchise star Bryce Harper being out for so long. Injuries have actually been a theme for the Nationals this year as they just suffered a scare with Harper that would’ve definitely put their playoff hopes in question had he not recovered by now. Flamethrower Max Scherzer suffered a hamstring injury, but luckily it did not amount to anything serious. The Nationals are going to need to rely on first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and former Mets playoff legend Daniel Murphy if they’re going to dethrone the Cubs. Coming off a world championship, Chicago did not match last year’s success in the regular season, but, nonetheless, they still enjoyed a great season.

What makes the Cubs special is that you can look one through nine in their lineup and you can’t find a weak spot. Behind the power hitting of Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, and Kris Bryant the Cubs can light up the scoreboard. Offense is not an issue with them. The key to this series will be how the Chicago pitchers deal with Washington’s similarly-loaded lineup.

October is a time where anything can happen. No doubt, this is the best time of the year for baseball fans everywhere.

Contact Ben Polikoff at [email protected].