With the playoff picture starting to take shape and seeding soon to be determined, we will make our predictions round by round for the 2016 postseason. These predictions are based only on what we think of each team and how they’ve performed over the whole year and will be as unbiased as possible.
American League Wildcard Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The crazy American League Wildcard race has finally come to a close and now the two teams who will face off against each other have been decided. The Blue Jays and the Orioles. This will most likely be a high scoring game due to the powerful bats that each team has. There’s the Blue Jays with Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion, and there’s the Orioles with Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis and Manny Machado. The combined amount of home runs these six players have is 227! That’s more than the St. Louis Cardinals who had the second highest amount of home runs this season! Another reason why it will be a high scoring game is because of the pitching matchup. It’s Chris Tillman versus Marcus Stroman. This season, Chris Tillman has made four starts against the Blue Jays and has posted a 3.68 ERA with a 1-0 record and Marcus Stroman has also made four starts against the Orioles while posting a 7.04 ERA with a 1-2 record. Based on the pitching matchup, it’s almost obvious who the winner will be.
Winner: Baltimore Orioles
National League Wildcard Game: San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets
The San Francisco Giants barely edged out the St. Louis Cardinals for the final NL Wild Card spot by 1 game after a 2nd half collapse in which they went 30-42 after going into the all star break as the best team in baseball, keeping their hopes alive to win a world series every even year. (‘10, ‘12, ‘14) The NL wild card game will take place in Queens and will feature 2 Cy Young candidates in Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard. The big advantage the Giants possess is their ace lefty, as Bumgarner owns a superhuman 2.14 career ERA in the postseason. Although the Giants bullpen is one of the worst, blowing an MLB high 30 saves (!), it’s very possible that in a one and done game Bruce Bochy could opt to put the ball in one of his other starter’s hands, as he has Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore to use at his dispense. It wouldn’t come as surprise either as Bochy has done it before, and it even won the Giants the World Series in 2014. It doesn’t help the Mets’ case that they’re one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, and during the postseason pitching always dominates.
Winner: San Francisco Giants
ALDS 1: Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers
With the Rangers coming into the postseason with the best record in the American League, the Orioles will need a lot of help to compete against them. The O’s must go against one of the league’s best one-two punches in the form of ace pitchers Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Not only do the Rangers have a good enough rotation to almost guarantee two wins right off the bat, but they also boast one of the league’s best offense. They already have a few all-stars like Adrian Beltre and Ian Desmond while they have also made some great trades at the trade deadline by acquiring Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy. Even though Baltimore has a pretty comparable offense, their pitching simply won’t be able to keep up with the rangers’.
Winner: Texas (3-1)
ALDS 2: Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
From a distance, this may look like one of the closer matchups of the postseason. Both teams in the regular season had both dominant hitting and pitching and no one was able to stop them. The only difference this time is that Cleveland is without their top three pitchers (Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar) which is a major blow to them. Without 60% of their rotation, they will have to rely on their bullpen more often which will tire them out by the time they get to game 3 and beyond. On the other hand, the Red Sox are coming in hot, ending the season by winning 12 of their last 17 games. They also take claim to a very solid rotation, led by Rick Porcello who is having a resurgent year with a league leading 22 wins and is hoping to win the AL Cy Young award. Not only do the Red Sox have Porcello leading the charge, but they also have former Cy Young winner David Price, trade deadline acquisition Drew Pomeranz, and have one of the league’s best closers in Craig Kimbrel. With the Red Sox having the American League’s best offense including David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Xander Bogaerts, they should be able to take advantage of the Indians’ injuries.
Winner: Boston (3-0)
NLDS 1: Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants
A matchup of Cubs vs. Giants would be very heavily centered around pitching, as the Cubs have a big 3 of Arrieta, Lester and Hendricks that matches up well with Bumgarner, Cueto, Moore and Samardzija. However, the Cubs are much stronger overall, with a more potent offense and improved bullpen with the mid season acquisition of Aroldis Chapman. On the flip side, the Giants’ biggest weakness is their unreliable bullpen that could implode at any given time as shown during the regular season. The Cubs won the regular season series 4-3 and shouldn’t have any problems with San Fran in October either.
Winner: Chicago Cubs (3-1)
NLDS 2: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals
After dealing with injuries all year long, the Dodgers have somehow made it into the playoffs, winning the NL West for the 4th consecutive year (With a little help from the Giants’ awful 2nd half). The Dodgers are now back to full strength and it’s the Nats that are dealing with injuries. Washington doesn’t expect Stephen Strasburg to return anytime soon, Wilson Ramos is out for the year after recently tearing his ACL, Daniel Murphy has been battling a sore glute and hasn’t started a game since September 17th, and young superstar Bryce Harper has been banged up all year physically and mentally. Although Clayton Kershaw has been atrocious in his playoff career, (4.59 ERA) this could finally be the year he puts it together. If he does, the Dodgers could go very deep into October.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (3-1)
ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Out of all matchups this year in the postseason, this one may take the cake for the most intense one that has been played in a very long time. Both teams have stellar offenses while each team’s pitching is good enough to shut down any opponent. Expect each game to be low scoring due to both team’s ability to suppress runs almost at will. Not only will pitching play a huge role in this matchup, but defense may be the most important key to winning this series, especially for the Rangers who have to be able to stop a Red Sox lineup that’s hitting a major-league best .282 batting average. All that’s to be said is that this entire matchup will pretty much be a tossup determined by if the Rangers pitching and defense will be able to keep up with the Red Sox’s blazing hot bats, which (sadly), probably won’t happen.
Winner: Boston Red Sox (4-2)
NLCS: Chicago Cubs Vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Sorry Cubs fans, but this just isn’t the year. On paper, the Cubs are an almost flawless team, with top tier hitting, pitching and relief pitchers. Unfortunately for them, their biggest flaw is the amount of pressure on them and the overall inexperience/youth of the team. This will ultimately catch up to them. The Cubs were an MLB best 103-58 in the regular season but in fact, the team with the best record almost never wins the World Series. The last team to do this was the 2009 Yankees, and the last NL team to accomplish this feat was the Mets of 1986 (30 years ago). History is against the Cubs and they will fall short (again), but hey, there’s always next year.
Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (4-3)
World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox
Although October is written by pitchers, the Red Sox offense is just so overpowering that it will carry them all the way. Their lineup is as deep as anyone’s, highlighted by sluggers earlier mentioned like David Ortiz, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts to name a few. What makes the Red Sox so dangerous is they are capable of hitting good pitching. Their rotation may be a bit flawed but the Dodgers aren’t a very heavy hitting team and the Red Sox will be able to simply outhit them, even with Clayton Kershaw on the mound (who is very vulnerable in the postseason).
Winner: Red Sox (4-2)
- James Gordon & Marco Moy