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MLB Divisional Series Playoff Picture

By Jared Cohen, Jason Sanfilippo, Staff Writer

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American League Divisional Series
(Best of 5)
Boston RED SOX vs New York YANKEES:

The greatest rivalry in sports meets for a five-game series for the American League Divisional Series following the New York Yankees dominate 7-2 victory in the American League Wild Card Game. The Yankees are not your typical wild card team although. They have finished the regular season with a 100-62 record, which is the third best in all of baseball. They have also set the record for most home runs in a season by a team (267). The Yankees have also been overlooked throughout the regular season. They had suffered many long-term injuries from stars including Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Since the return of Judge, the Yankees offense is back to the way it was expected since the team was established in the offense. The Boston Red Sox have claimed the top seed in the American League after a historical season finishing with a 108-54 record. Lead behind their two MVP candidates, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox are the favorite in not only this series but for the entire playoffs. Besides their two offensive stars, they have a dominant three-headed monster in their starting rotation in Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello.

Jason’s Prediction: This series will be an all-time classic. But once the Yankees defeat the Boston Red Sox in game one they will go on to take the series in just four games. The Yankees have something to prove after last years ALCS defeat and the Red Sox have had too successful of a regular season to continue the success in October.

Jared’s Prediction: This series will be on for the books. Ultimately, the Yankees will slay the dragon in the full slate of five games. The Yankees bullpen and young stars will show up to play and will overshadow the likes of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Chris Sale.

Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians

The defending champion Houston Astros look to defend their crown and the first team in their way is the Central Division champion Cleveland Indians. This series will contain loads of talent. The Astros are led by third baseman Alex Bregman, who lead the way in the regular season while 2017 MVP Jose Altuve was out as well as Carlos Correa. Their pitching staff is led by a rejuvenated Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. Cleveland is looking to make yet another run this postseason but trying to finally get over the hump. Lead by MVP candidate Jose Ramirez and all world shortstop Francisco Lindor. A key addition to the Indians roster is former MVP Josh Donaldson who is looking to show Cleveland that making a trade for him will be worthwhile. Their pitching staff is also lead by CY Young candidate Corey Kluber.

Jason’s Prediction: The Astros and Indians are very similar ball clubs with tons of talent. The Astros at their best are better than the Indians at their best and I think the Astros stars will outshine the Indians stars. But this series will take all five games for the Astros to win.

Jared’s Prediction: Astros in four, no questions asked. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Corey Kluber can only lead the Indians so far. The Astros are just better overall, better hitting, better pitching, better fielding. The real test for the Astros will be the American League Championship Series.

NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISIONAL SERIES
(Best of 5)
Colorado ROCKIES VS. Milwaukee BREWERS:

On the heels of Tony Wolters’ clutch RBI single in the 13th inning of the Wild Card Game, the Colorado Rockies now find themselves in a very tough matchup against Christian Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers. It has already been confirmed that the Brewers will use the “opener” approach for Game one (starting the game with a reliever and using the bullpen the rest of the way) that the Tampa Bay Rays perfected during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Rockies will counter with young hurler Antonio Senzatela to try and shut down the likes of Jesus Aguilar and MVP front-runner Christian Yelich. To think that I’ve written this much without mentioning perennial MVP contender Nolan Arenado shows how star-studded this series is. Two small market teams will fight for the right to face the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers / Atlanta Braves series, which I will preview next.

Jared’s prediction: The Rockies have been a Cinderella story thus far, but the Brewers have too much firepower in their lineup and in their bullpen led by flamethrower Josh Hader. Colorado will put up a fight, but I ultimately see the Brewers winning this series in four games and heading to the National League Championship Series.

Jason’s Prediction: The Brewers are the best team in the National League. Christian Yelich will shine bright in this three-game sweep.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves:

Fresh off a National League West tiebreaker game win against the Colorado Rockies, the Los Angeles Dodgers are now tasked with trying to slay the youngest and most exciting team in baseball (in my opinion), the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers will send soft throwing lefty Hyun Jin Ryu to the hill for Game one. The Braves will counter with the hard-throwing Mike Foltynewicz. Although the Dodgers have the likes of potential $400 million man Manny Machado on their team amongst the Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig, the Braves counter that with a tantalizing young core consisting of Ozzie Albies, Rookie of the Year front-runner Ronald Acuna Jr., Johan Camargo and the ultra-reliable Freddie Freeman. The high-priced Dodgers will try to beat the young core of the Braves to face the winner of the Milwaukee Brewers/ Colorado Rockies series.

Jared’s Prediction: In a very hard fought series, the young and pesky Atlanta Braves will outlast the Dodgers in a full slate of five games. Ultimately, the lack of playoff success in recent years will come back to bite the Dodgers, and the opportunistic Braves will seize the moment and jump right into the spotlight. The fact the Braves are here is amazing, as their rebuild was expected to be complete in a couple more years.

Jason’s Prediction: The Dodgers have something to prove and they showed it in the NL West tiebreaker game earlier this week. Unfortunately, they will fall short of their goal when they run into the hungry, young Atlanta Braves. It’s the Braves’ time now and they will put on a show in a series victory in five games, with Ronald Acuna Jr. leading the way for the ATL.

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MLB Divisional Series Playoff Picture