MLB Playoff Preview


Liam Bradford, Editor-in-chief

At last, about a week through October, the Major League Baseball playoffs are kicking off. This season’s playoff is highly anticipated, featuring two teams that rarely have the opportunity to play October baseball, the Padres and the Mariners. There is also a handful of returning playoff teams, such as the Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees, and Astros. 

The wild card weekend kicks off Oct. 7 with the Tampa Bay Rays traveling to Cleveland to face the Guardians at 9:37 a.m. PT. Given that all wild card series’ are best-of-three format, I believe that the Rays will win this series due to their high-powered pitching depth and competent offense. 

With the addition of the extra playoff team this season, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched the playoffs, taking the third and final wild card position in the national league in the last week of the regular season. They will travel to St. Louis to face the Cardinals, with the first game being on Oct. 7 at 11:07 a.m. PT. While the Phillies are currently on a roll, I don’t think that their stellar starting pitching will be enough to overcome the Cardinals’ lineup and elite infield defense. 

At 1:07 p.m. PT on Oct. 7, the longest playoff drought in baseball will be broken when the Seattle Mariners cross the border to play the Toronto Blue Jays. Both of these teams have solid pitching reinforcements and good offensive lineups. However, I think the more experience Blue Jays have a slight advantage and will win a close three-game series. 

The New York Mets slowed down at the end of the regular season, losing their grip on the National League East division to Atlanta. The Mets will have to waste the best one-two rotation punch in the wild card weekend against the San Diego Padres. While the Mets finished with a better record than San Diego, the Padres have one of the most balanced rosters entering the playoffs and should not be overlooked by New York. 

They play first on Oct. 7 at 5:07 p.m. PT. Max Scherzer and Jacob DeGrom vs. Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in the first two games of the series is a highly anticipated pitching showdown. I expect the Mets to sweep the Padres in the first two games. However, if the Padres lineup is able to pull off a win against either DeGrom or Scherzer, I think that Joe Musgrove will lead the Padres to the upset in game three. 

After the Mets, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Rays advance to the divisional series, the NLDS will feature the Mets vs. the Dodgers and the Cardinals vs. the Braves. The ALDS will feature the Rays vs. the Astros and the Blue Jays vs. the Yankees.

I believe that nobody in the National League can beat the Dodgers, and they will beat the Mets in five games. New York will be extremely fatigued after using their two best arms in the wild card series, and despite what I expect to be an excellent showing from DeGrom and Scherzer at the end of the series, the Dodgers will ultimately come out of this series unscathed. 

The Cardinals and Braves are no strangers when it comes to the postseason, as each of these teams has plenty of experience battling in the National League playoffs throughout the 2010s. I believe that this will be a close series that comes down to the last game. The Braves have so much offensive firepower despite last season’s loss of slugger Freddie Freeman. However, the Cardinals are extremely underrated, and I believe that with the help of MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals will win the series advancing to the NLCS to ultimately get swept by the LA Dodgers. 

In the American League, I think the Astros dominance will continue in an easy sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays. 

The Blue Jays and Yankees have played each other many times this season and are somewhat evenly matched. Both teams hit a lot of home runs and strike out a lot. The Blue Jays will be fatigued going into this series and will struggle with the Yankees lineup. That being said, I expect Toronto to catch fire against the Yankees’ secondary pitchers and win the series in the final game, advancing to play the Astros. 

I believe the Astros are the most well-rounded team in the MLB and, despite a good series, will beat the Blue Jays in five or six games. 

In the world series, I expect a rematch of the “asterisk season”, 2017. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers hate each other more than any other major league rivals and will battle in an excellent series. These teams are about as evenly matched as two superteams could possibly be. This series could go either way. 

“I expect the Mets, Cardinals, Rays, and Mariners will move on from the wild round into the divisional round. I think the top two teams, Dodgers and Braves, will meet in the NLCS. The American League is harder to pick, but I also think the top two teams will meet in the ALCS, the Astros and the Yankees. I think the Dodgers and Astros will rematch in the world series; I don’t think the Yankees can do it,” said senior Garrett Love. 

I expect an entertaining postseason and hope to see some upsets. Go, Padres!