By Maxwell Brucks
The MLB postseason starts on Oct. 3 with the opening game being the Texas Rangers versus the Tampa Bay Rays. In this article, I will break down each Wildcard series and give my predictions to a World Series winner. In this postseason, we have multiple teams ending long-standing playoff droughts and a couple of teams looking to repeat the last postseason’s success. No matter what, this postseason should have some fantastic moments, so let’s break down these series and play ball.
American League Prediction
The two top seeds in the American League are known powers of the league: the Houston Astros, and a team that has not been in the playoffs since 2017, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles boast the American League’s best record and will have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. The Orioles will face the winner of the series between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays. I think the Rays versus Rangers series will be the best series of them all, and I think the winner of this series will make it to the World Series. This series will come down to a very slim margin and I think the Rays will come out on top and beat the Rangers, and then go on to beat the Orioles. I think the Rays have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and will have a good enough offense to go with it. Beating the Rangers won’t be an easy task, as they have a very good offense with some quality pitching to go along with their offense. I think the Rays beat the Rangers and then beat the Orioles due to the Orioles’ lack of pitching. I don’t have any faith in the Orioles’ pitching staff in the postseason. None of the Orioles pitching staff strikes me as a true postseason pitcher which can and will cause problems. I think the Orioles offense won’t be able to outscore every team and thus struggle in the postseason and fall to the winner of the Rays versus Rangers series.
On the other side of the American League bracket, the Minnesota Twins will host the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card round. The winner of this series will head on to play the Houston Astros in a best-of-five series. In the Wild Card series, the Twins will have just enough offense to power them past the Blue Jays. The Twins pitching staff has carried them all year long, and that staff can do it for three more games. Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman hasn’t pitched well against the Twins in his career, so I think the Twins can grab game one and then find a way to take one of the next two. The Blue Jays offense will have to show up for the Blue Jays to win this series, and I just don’t see it happening. I believe the Twins will move on to take on the Houston Astros. When it comes to this series, I think it will be a pretty straightforward series. I think the Astros have the better offense and the pitching to handle the Twins bats. The Astros have also been in this spot before, and I believe that experience will help them beat the Twins.
This leaves the Rays and Astros to battle it out for the American League Pennant and I like the Rays to win this series. The Rays got off to a hot start in the Regular season, and I think they can replicate that success in the postseason. The Rays have a good pitching staff that can match up well with the Astros, so I will take the Tampa Bay Rays to come out of the American League.
American League Winner: Tampa Bay Rays.
National League Prediction
In the National League, the defending Pennant winners will start in the Wild Card round and look to defend their pennant from there. The defending pennant winner Philadelphia Phillies will play host to the Miami Marlins to start their postseason run. The Marlins’ last postseason appearance in a full season was back in 2003. The Marlins took the season series versus the Phillies 7-6. In this three-game set, it will come down to whether the Marlins can hit the Phillies’ top two arms. If the Marlins can do that, they may have a chance for the upset, but if not, it may be a very quick and forgettable series for the fish. In my prediction, I think the Phillies hit the Marlins well enough while the Marlins offense struggles, and the Phillies move on to face the Atlanta Braves. This series is a rematch of last year’s National League Division Series (NLDS) in which the Phillies were able to topple the Braves. This year the Braves are just that much better of a team than the Phillies and will take care of business. Now, the one downside is the Braves’ pitching can be a little suspect, but I believe their offense will be good enough throughout the series. This series will be a battle of heavyweights, and it should be one of the best series of the postseason, with the Braves coming out on top.
The top half of the bracket starts with the Milwaukee Brewers facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks. When it comes to this series, I think the Brewers have the better pitching staff and a good enough offense to make quick work of the Diamondbacks. Arizona’s ace, Zac Gallen, hasn’t pitched well away from home this season, and the Diamondbacks are on the road this series. For the Brewers, they are sending both Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta to the mound, who are both very capable of turning in a good start. The Diamondbacks don’t have the most explosive offense in the MLB, so I think the Brewers move on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. This series comes down to can the Dodgers hitters get to the Brewers’ pitching staff, and my answer is no. I think the Brewers’ pitchers can keep the Dodgers’ deadly lineup at bay while the Brewers’ offense scores just enough to win three games.
Now, in my National League Championship Series (NLCS), I have the Atlanta Braves beating the Milwaukee Brewers in six games. The Braves’ offense is good enough to score on the Brewers’ pitching. With the possible National League MVP in Ronald Acuna Jr. mixed in with Matt Olson, this Braves lineup is tough to deal with. The Brewers just don’t have enough star power to handle the Braves, and this means the Braves are heading back to the World Series.
National League Winner: Atlanta Braves
World Series Prediction
The two teams playing in the Fall Classic this year for me are the Tampa Bay Rays and the Atlanta Braves. These two teams match up very well with each other when looking at both sides of the matchups. The Rays have the pitching to match up with the Braves’ hitting. The winner of this series will be who can get the better of when it comes to that matchup. If the Rays can stifle the Braves’ lineup, then I believe they can come out victorious. Now, if the Braves’ offense starts to hit the Rays’ pitching, this series won’t last long, as the Braves will make quick work of the Rays. The Braves’ pitching and Rays’ hitting are similar in talent level, so that will also be a fun matchup to watch in late October. The best predictor of this series will be who wins between either team’s strengths. In my prediction, the Tampa Bay Rays will win their first World Series in Franchise history in 2023, knocking off the Atlanta Braves.
World Series Champion: Tampa Bay Rays