The road to the World Series starts October 1st.
With the MLB regular season coming to an end September 29th, teams are making their final push to clinch a playoff birth. In the National League, practically all playoff spots have been taken with the exception of one Wild Card spot. This spot appears to be for the Milwaukee Brewers’ taking as the Chicago Cubs are 5 games behind with that many games left to play. If the MLB regular season were to end today, these are the teams that would be playing for the NL Pennant in 2019: Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. Barring a dramatic change in the standings, we would see the Nationals host the Brewers in the NL Wild Card game on Tuesday, October 1st.
Playoff positioning is still unclear over in the American League. Currently, there are only two teams that have clinched a birth, the Houston Astros (best record in baseball at 103-54) and the New York Yankees (2nd best record at 102-56). With 1.5 games separating the two, the battle for home-field advantage through the playoffs and World Series is still up for grabs. Now, if the regular season were to end today, these are the teams that would be playing for the AL Pennant in 2019: Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays. This would mean that the Oakland A’s would host the AL Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, October 2nd.
Now that we know who’s likely to reach the postseason, let’s take a look at the matchups.
NL Wild Card game
Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals: The Nationals may have exceeded expectations with the departure of Bryce Harper but if we’ve ever learned anything about sports, particularly with baseball, is that it’s the 40-man roster that gets you to the postseason and the 25-man roster that helps you win a World Series. The Nationals have proved that they’re a strong unit with veteran leadership. The Brewers, on the other hand, have been battling in the NL Central for years and are once again in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Although this year, they’re in the playoffs as a Wild Card team as compared to last year when they won the NL Central by 1 game over the Cubs. We see that as taking a step back, especially with St. Louis winning the division this year. Therefore, we expect to see the Nationals move on to the NLDS.
Pick: Washington Nationals
AL Wild Card game
Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics: Tampa Bay is once again back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. They’ve had to watch Boston and New York take full control of the AL East for many years and have had to complete with some of the best teams ever assembled during the last 6 seasons. With the disarray of problems in Beantown this season, Tampa Bay has stepped up and has established itself as a contender in the division (the best in baseball) once again. Their counterpart, the Athletics, are back in the playoffs for the second consecutive year. However, don’t let their record fool you. The A’s play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball with their only real competition being the Houston Astros. Even though they’ll be hosting this year’s AL Wild Card game, we believe it won’t be enough to get the ‘W’. Therefore, we expect to see the Rays move on to the ALDS.
Pick: Tampa Bay Rays
Here are our picks for both the NL/AL Division Series:
NL Division Series
Dodgers vs. Nationals
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers in 4 games.
Braves vs. Cardinals
Pick: Atlanta Braves in 5 games
AL Division Series
Astros vs. Rays
Pick: Houston Astros in 4 games
Yankees vs. Twins
Pick: New York Yankees in 4 games
Here are our picks for both the NL/AL Championship Series:
NL Championship Series
Dodgers vs. Braves
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games
AL Championship Series
Astros vs. Yankees
Pick: New York Yankees in 6 games
Finally, the marquee matchup we’ve been waiting to see since 1981 when the Dodgers beat the Yankees to win the World Series.
World Series 2019
Yankees vs. Dodgers
Pick: New York Yankees in 6 games.
We’ll know for sure which teams will be playing for their chance to win a World Series on September 29th. Stay tuned to GOTTA BE LEGEND for more analysis once the 2019 MLB Postseason starts on October 1st!