The March To The World Series Begins
The MLB postseason is here. The path to the World Series is possibly as difficult as it has ever been. That means it’s time for predictions, and of those there are many. My own prediction? It’s time for me to layout the postseason in my own mind and add a drop to the ocean of predictions all over the internet.
Wild Card And Division Series
- AL Wild Card: Yankees versus Red Sox
- ALDS 1: Rays versus winner of Yankees/Red Sox
- ALDS 2: White Sox versus Astros
- NL Wild Card: Dodger versus Cardinals
- NLDS 1: Giants versus winner of Dodgers/Cardinals
- NLDS 2: Braves versus Brewers
American League Division Series
The AL Wild Card came down to Game 162 this year, with New York, Boston, Seattle, and Toronto all tied up for the two spots going into the final game of the season. Instead of predicting a winner for the Wild Card games, I am going to put together a scenario for both possible outcomes of the Wild Card.
ALDS: Tampa Bay Rays Versus New York Yankees
On paper, this is a fantastic series. The Rays, coming off their first 100 win season in franchise history, have another shot at the World Series after losing to the Dodgers last season. The Yankees are looking to shake off a decade of missing the World Series and having not advanced past the ALCS since 2009 when they last lifted the Commissioner’s Trophy.
While the Yankees do have one of the biggest power lineups in the league, I’m going to give this series to Tampa Bay 3-1.
ALDS: Tampa Bay Rays Versus Boston Red Sox
This hypothetical isn’t nearly as interesting. Boston has had World Series experience in the last decade, but this team is much different than the 2018 iteration of the Red Sox, notably missing Mookie Betts. The Rays don’t necessarily have the star power, missing Tyler Glasnow, but they are fantastic as a whole, with everyone working together like a well-oiled machine.
Rays take this series quickly, 3-0.
ALDS: Chicago White Sox Versus Houston Astros
This is the series to watch in the AL. Despite the questions, Tony La Russa has brought the White Sox back into contention, and they don’t look like a pretender to the throne either. On the other side, we have everyone’s least favorite team, the Houston Astros. The Astros are looking to shake their recent controversy, which we need not get into here. They’ve got a legitimate shot here too, on what may be the last dance for Carlos Correa. The impending free agent has been the core of this Astros team, for better or worse.
This series will be a close one. As much as I hate to say it, I am giving it to the Astros, 3-2.
National League Division Series
This season’s wild card features a first. The Dodgers qualified for the wild card, despite recording 106 wins this year. Any other year, they’d have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs, but this year is different. The Cardinals are… also there. I am covering both outcomes of the Wild Card, but I really only see one viable outcome of this game.
NLDS: San Francisco Giants Versus Los Angeles Dodgers
We had the White Sox/Astros series as the series to watch, and now we have our series to watch on the National League side of the bracket. Following an arms race in the National League West and a tight race for the division title, this series is definitely the best possible and most likely outcome of the wild card. The Dodgers come into this series with the best starting rotation in the playoffs, but, like the Rays, the Giants don’t run on star power alone.
I give this series to the Giants 3-2.
NLDS: San Francisco Giants Versus St Louis Cardinals
I’m going to make this quick. Outside of Harrison Bader doing his best 2011 David Freese in this series, it’s over. Fast.
Giants win this one 3-0.
NLDS: Atlanta Braves Versus Milwaukee Brewers
Once the playoffs hit, the regular season doesn’t matter. Well, that is mostly true, except in one regard. Injuries. This series is defined by them. The Braves lost Ronald Acuna Jr in July to a torn ACL, and Mike Soroka to an Achilles injury. On the other side, the Brewers just lost one of their top relievers, Devin Williams, in a wall-punching incident that left him with a broken hand.
This series goes to the healthier of the two, but not without long-term effects. Milwaukee takes it, 4-2.
ALCS: Tampa Bay Rays Vs Houston Astros
This is a good series. Two teams, both run like well-oiled machines, squaring off for the American League Pennant. Dusty Baker seems to have a good feel for his locker room, and it shows on the field. The Rays, despite missing Glasnow, as mentioned earlier, are possibly the tightest knit team in the league.
The Rays claim the American League Pennant, 4-3.
NLDS: San Francisco Giants Vs Milwaukee Brewers
On paper, this looks pretty close. Two teams, both division champions. However, reality will prove to be much different. The Giants have 12 more wins than the Brewers, and a better overall rotation and bullpen depth. Without Devin Williams, the Brewers will be overly reliant on Josh Hader, causing a 2016 Aroldis Chapman-esque situation.
The Giants claim the National League Pennant, 4-1.
The 2021 World Series
World Series: San Francisco Giants Versus Tampa Bay Rays
This is it. The march through October culminates in this series. 7 games, one king of Major League Baseball. A combined 207 wins, two division championships, and plenty of fireworks. So who wins? I think this series has real potential to be one the best in recent years. This is a matchup of Moneyball and firepower. The Rays have one of the lowest payrolls in the league, which may surprise people after they won 100 games this year. They function as a team with all the star power in the league, without any of the star power. A tight-knit group to its core, the Rays will match up well. Unfortunately, not well enough. A Giants lineup, including plug-and-play star Kris Bryant, will overpower Tampa in the end.
The San Francisco Giants will be your 2021 World Series Champions. 4-2.