(1) Brewers vs (WC) Rockies
These might actually be the two hottest teams in baseball entering the postseason despite the fact the Rockies didn’t end up winning the NL West. This matchup has a good chance to feature more offense than a normal playoff series would.
Colorado had to use their ace Kyle Freeland in the Wild Card game to get them here, so it’ll be interesting to see how they set up their pitching staff for this series.
Milwaukee on the other hand was able to win their game 163 to take the NL Central title on Monday, so they’ve had the luxury of being able to have more flexibility when it comes to setting up their rotation for this series.
Another big advantage that Milwaukee has is the bullpen. The backend of the Brewers bullpen is really talented and they’ve been pitching their best going into the playoffs, which is a good sign as playoff baseball has become more and more geared toward super bullpens.
The Brewers also have a lineup that is right there with the Rockies depth-wise, and they have the guy who should be the NL MVP and is playing probably the best baseball of his career right now in Christian Yelich.
Overall I could see the Rockies winning this series if their bats get really hot, but when it comes to starting rotations and bullpens I give an edge to Milwaukee and when it comes to the overall depth and ability of each lineup, maybe a small edge to Colorado, but I don’t think it’s enough to overcome the edge the Brewers have on the mound.
Pick: Brewers in four
(2) Dodgers vs (3) Braves
The Braves are probably a year ahead of where people thought they would be in their rebuild, but here they are, as NL East champions they are able to get a series in the NLDS and give themselves a chance to play for the pennant.
The Dodgers have had a fairly bumpy season based on what they normally do, but they were ultimately able to do what they needed to do to win yet another NL West division title.
This is a really interesting matchup to me and that’s mostly because the Dodgers pitching staff isn’t as good or as deep as normal and the Braves have a really deep lineup that features a lot of young talent, but also franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman and a veteran who maybe had the best season of his career this year in Nick Markakis.
Both starting pitching staffs are staffs that I could see not pitching great in this series, but also ones that I could see silencing the opposing lineup a good amount.
The Dodgers of course have Clayton Kershaw, but it’s not like we’ve never seen him struggle in the playoffs before. They did have the emergence of Walker Buehler this season and that’s been huge for them, giving them another pitcher they can rely on.
The Braves have some really nice young starters in Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb just to name a few. Overall this Braves staff might be more talented than the current Dodgers rotation, but these guys haven’t been here before so you never know how they’ll respond to postseason pressure.
Both bullpens I view as shaky. That’s not what you’d expect to hear about the Dodgers after the past few seasons of having as dominant a bullpen as any, but that’s the case this season, and frankly I don’t trust to Atlanta bullpen all that much either.
I think there could also be some runs scored in this series and that’s going to lead me to pick Atlanta in a tightly-contested series, just because I think they have a little more lineup depth and I think some of their young studs will just play like they have nothing to lose because they don’t know any better.
Pick: Braves in five