2016 MLB postseason predictions

Movie quote of the day:

“I see you still look like a 15-year-old girl, but not hot.”

– Chaz Michael Michaels, “Blades of Glory” (2007)

mlb-postseason-logo

American League division champions/wild card teams:

East: Boston Red Sox (93-69)
Central: Cleveland Indians (94-67)
West: Texas Rangers (95-67)
Wild card: Toronto Blue Jays (89-73)
Wild card: Baltimore Orioles (89-73)

National League division champions/wild card teams:

East: Washington Nationals (95-67)
Central: Chicago Cubs (103-58)
West: Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71)
Wild card: New York Mets (87-75)
Wild card: San Francisco Giants (87-75)

AL Wild Card game (tonight):

Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson.
Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson.

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre
Toronto
(BAL) Chris Tillman – 3.77 ERA vs. (TOR) Marcus Stroman – 4.37 ERA

Both of these teams have the capability of scoring a bunch of runs, but both offenses have hit a wall in the last month. Baltimore has only scored 120 runs in its last 28 games, and Toronto has scored just 106 runs in the same span. Even though the Blue Jays are struggling more statistically, they’ve have handled business against the Orioles this season. In 19 games, Toronto has a record of 15-14 against Baltimore and has scored 97 runs – 5.1 runs per game. Both teams have been pitching well in the last month, but the Orioles have struggled on the road with a record of 39-42 – second-worst among playoff teams.

Prediction: Blue Jays 4, Orioles 3

NL Wild Card game (Wednesday):

San Francisco SP Madison Bumgarner.
San Francisco SP Madison Bumgarner.

San Francisco Giants (87-75) at New York Mets (87-75)
Citi Field
New York
(SF) Madison Bumgarner – 2.74 ERA vs. (NYM) Noah Syndergaard – 2.60 ERA

San Francisco’s offense has struggled to score runs in the last month. The Giants have scored just 122 runs and have a batting average below .250 in the last 29 games. Despite several injuries, the Mets have been one of the hottest teams in the league. They finished the regular season with a record of 18-10 in the last month – tied with Boston for best among playoff teams. New York has done everything right in recent weeks. In the last month, they rank in the top eight in team ERA, on-base percentage, and runs scored. Bumgarner has really struggled the last two months of the regular season posting an ERA of 4.03, whereas Syndergaard has been lights out with an ERA of 2.83.

Prediction: Mets 4, Giants 2

AL Divisional Round (Best-of-five series):

Texas SP Cole Hamels.
Texas SP Cole Hamels.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers

Neither of these teams has played exceptional in the last month. Texas has a record of 14-13 since the beginning of September, and Toronto is 13-15 during the same span. The Blue Jays’ offense has been struggling and I don’t think they have enough pitching to carry a team for a series. The Rangers’ offense has been performing well recently – scoring 130 runs in just 27 games – and the Rangers have a better pitching rotation led by Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels. Also, Texas has home-field advantage in the AL and the Rangers are tied for the best record at home among playoff teams.

Prediction: Rangers in four

Boston DH David Ortiz.
Boston DH David Ortiz.

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

Boston has been one of the hottest teams in baseball in the last month. The Red Sox have scored 150 runs in their last 28 games – most in the league. Their pitching has also been great – ranking in the top five in team ERA. Cleveland hasn’t been playing horrible either with a record of 17-11 since September 2. The Indians rank about middle of the league in team batting and hitting. Even though Cleveland will have home-field advantage in this series, it’s really hard to pick against Boston right now.

Prediction: Red Sox in five

NL Divisional Round (Best-of-five series):

Chicago SP Jake Arrieta.
Chicago SP Jake Arrieta.

New York Mets vs. Chicago Cubs

Both of these teams have played well since the beginning of September. Both teams have great pitching and have been scoring a lot of runs. The Mets arguably have been the hotter team in recent weeks and have a record of 5-2 against the Cubs this season. However, I think the Mets have had too many injuries this season and it’s eventually going to catch up with them. The Cubs are easily the best team in baseball and it’s tough to pick against them.

Prediction: Cubs in five

Washington OF Bryce Harper.
Washington OF Bryce Harper.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals

Washington has struggled to score runs recently and I think it’ll only be tougher now that Wilson Ramos is out for the postseason with a torn ACL. Both of these teams have stellar pitching – which will keep the Nationals in this series – but Los Angeles has the better offense at the moment. With Ramos out, Bryce Harper will really need to step up in this series which might be tough since Harper had a below-average season. I don’t think Washington’s Dusty Baker is much of a manager because his teams haven’t performed well in the postseason since he was with the Giants over decade ago.

Prediction: Dodgers in five

ALCS (Best-of-seven series):

Boston SS Xander Bogaerts.
Boston SS Xander Bogaerts.

Boston vs. Texas

I know that Texas has home-field advantage in the AL, but I’m not sure that the Rangers are built to win a pennant this season. The Rangers can hit the ball and have great starting pitching, but their bullpen’s ERA ranks toward the bottom. I don’t think that’s good enough to win a pennant. Boston has been hot in the last month. I think the Red Sox have the edge at manager with John Farrell – who won a World Series at Boston in 2013 – and have the better offense, starting pitching, and bullpen.

Prediction: Red Sox in six

NLCS (Best-of-seven series):

Los Angeles SP Clayton Kershaw.
Los Angeles SP Clayton Kershaw.

Los Angeles vs. Chicago

Both of these teams have great pitching, but I’m not sure the Dodgers have the offense to beat Chicago. The Cubs have it all. They can hit the ball, they have great starting pitching, and have an even better bullpen. Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball and has plenty of experience in the postseason. It’s hard to pick against the team that has won 103 games this season and has shown zero sign of slowing down.

Prediction: Cubs in five

World Series (Best-of-seven series):

world-series

Cubs vs. Red Sox

Prediction: Cubs in seven

I had the Cubs as my World Series champion in the preseason and I’m sticking with it. I think it’s Chicago’s year and I’m ready to see history be made since the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Both teams have great hitting and pitching, but I like the Cubs’ pitching and bullpen more than Boston’s. Also, I think Joe Maddon is the better manager even though he’s never won a championship. I think if these teams meet in the World Series it’s going to be a great one.

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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