League Championship Preview

astros vs red sox
The Astros will have to take down the 108-win Red Sox to win their second straight AL pennant. (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

ALCS

Astros vs Red Sox

This isn’t what I predicted, but it did seem to be conventional wisdom that this would eventually be the ALCS and now here we are.

It does seem to be an interesting matchup because a lot of the strengths matchup with the strengths of the other team. The Red Sox offense has just been mashing people all season, but you definitely can’t take the Houston lineup lightly as they’re a very deep lineup that is also pretty versatile.

The Astros should be the favorites in this series despite the fact that they didn’t win as many games in the regular season as the Red Sox did. They should be the favorites in my eyes because the offenses are pretty equal in my eyes, while the Astros have a slightly better bullpen, even though it’s not a strength of either team, but the biggest gap is the starting rotations. Chris Sale has been great all season and he performed really well in the ALDS, but after him things can be a little shaky, which is not the case for Houston. They have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel, all of whom looked good in the ALDS.

What definitely helps Boston is having home-field advantage in the series. It’s never a bad thing to have home-field in a series, but also they played really well in their two games at Yankee Stadium, so maybe there’s something about this team when it comes to going on the road and being able to come through in the face of adversity.

I think this series will go deep and the key to the series will be how the Red Sox do when Chris Sale pitches. If they’re going to win this series they will have to win the games that Sale starts and there’s no question about that. After Sale I don’t have a lot of faith in the possible starting pitching matchups that Boston could face when Sale isn’t pitching. They can’t even afford one loss in situations Where Chris Sale pitches in my opinion.

I’m going to pick Houston to win this series simply because they have the better pitching staff. I think the Red Sox offense will perform better against the Astros staff than the Indians did, but I just think over the course of the series, the starting pitching difference will take over.

Pick: Astros in six

dodgers vs brewers
The Dodgers will have to go through the hottest team in baseball to win their second straight NL pennant. (Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

NLCS

Dodgers vs Brewers

Miller Park should be rocking this series and that will play a big role as the Brewers have a ton of momentum right now, and they have the best bullpen left in the playoffs and it’s not even very close in my opinion.

The Dodgers offense heated up in the NLDS against the Braves, so if you’re a Dodgers fan that was a welcome sight, but this Brewers pitching staff is better than the Braves staff, so the Dodgers will need their stars like Manny Machado and Cody Bellinger to show up.

A lot of this series will also probably come down to two-out hitting. The Rockies were able to get some guys on base against the Brewers, but every time they did, the Brewers were able to get strikeouts and get out of any jams. On the flip side, the Dodgers were able to come up with some really clutch two-out RBIs against the Braves, most notably in game four on the hit by Brian Dozier that gave them the lead for good.

The Brewers lineup didn’t blow away the Rockies, except for a pretty good game in game three, but outside of Christian Yelich, this is a lineup that you can maneuver through, especially if Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and the rest of the Dodgers starting pitchers show up. If they aren’t as sharp as possible, there are guys like Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw who can do damage and Lorenzo Cain can get on base and make some things happen.

I’m expecting this series to be really close and for each game to come down to just a few at-bats here and there, and in a series like that, I’ll side with the team with the better bullpen, and this season and especially right now, that’s the Brewers

Pick: Brewers in seven

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