The division rounds of the MLB Playoffs start today at 1 PM EST.
ALDS: Astros vs Twins
This should be a great series between the Twins and Astros. The biggest question the Twins have to answer is if they can stay calm and put together good at-bats throughout the game. Because three runs and two runs will not win a game against an offense and pitching staff like Houston. The Astros have the championship pedigree and experience throughout their roster and that will help them in this series. They have Verlander going Game 1 and if they take the first two at home I’m not sure if the Twins, with all their youth, will be able to recover. While the Twins do have solid starters, they will have to win their games at home or it could be a very short series.
My pick is Houston.
ALDS: Orioles vs Rangers
This is going to be a very entertaining series. There is a whole lot of offense and firepower in this series. The biggest question everyone wants answered is about Baltimore. This is the team's first playoff run together and they are very young. How will they handle losing an important game? We just watched Texas go on the road and destroy a talented Tampa team across two games. They have players with experience; Corey Seager is crushing baseballs. How will they handle this very potent offense in Texas?
This series will come down to Baltimore’s pitching staff and defense. We all know they can put up runs. How will this inexperienced staff handle the moment? The one guy who can impact this series in a big way is Grayson Rodriguez. He will be pitching in a game later in the series, potentially on the road. If he brings his best stuff Texas could be in for a long night in an important game.
My pick is Baltimore.
NLDS: Phillies vs Braves
This will be the best series out of all of them. Look for it to go the distance. Atlanta won the season series, but beating the Phils now will be no easy task. This series is a true toss-up. Both teams know each other well, so there will be no surprises. Strider and Fried vs Wheeler and Nola. The thing that is the most worrisome for the Braves is that the Phillies offense always shows up in the biggest games. Harper, Turner, Schwarber, and Stott have to outperform Acuña, Olson, Albies, and Riley. It's too bad this is just a best of five. If the Phillies can steal a game in Atlanta at the start of the series, they will win it. If they do not, it will be the Braves advancing.
I have the Braves.
NLDS: Diamondbacks vs Dodgers
I’m sorry. I hate the Dodgers and will never be able to pick them in a series. The Dodgers and Yankees are my two least favorite teams and I can’t even think about picking them. Even if they have Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts and a staff headlined by the great Clayton Kershaw. I believe Arizona can and will win this series, biases aside, even though they are a young team. They just destroyed Corbin Burnes and Freddie Peralta and I see them continuing the hot streak in LA. They will need to pitch their way to the next round with Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen. Out of all the Dodgers playoff teams in the past five or six years I believe this is the weakest. I would not be surprised if Arizona takes this series, led by the play of superstar Corbin Carroll.
My pick is the Diamondbacks.
Now onto the ALCS…
ALCS: Orioles vs Astros
The most exciting matchup possible on the AL side. Will this be the year for Baltimore? They have had a magical regular season and they will try to continue their run against the defending champions. Again, this will come down to the pitching. Houston has a slight pitching advantage in terms of starters and Baltimore has the offensive advantage. If Baltimore can get five solid innings from their 3rd and 4th starters, then I have Baltimore in this round because their bullpen is so good.
Will Jeremy Peña have a special playoff run like last year? How will Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman fare in the biggest baseball games of their lives? A positive sign for Adley is he’s played in the CWS and performed extremely well, setting a record for hits in a CWS with 17 and getting a ring.
I have Baltimore.
NLCS: Braves vs Diamondbacks
Atlanta will run away with this series. Arizona is not quite on the level of the Braves and this will show in this series. The offense of the Braves is too good. I do think with big performances from Gallen and Kelly they can get two wins, but the run will stop there. Atlanta is having the dream season and the dream team is going to the World Series. Corbin Carroll will have to have a monster series for the Dbacks to stand a chance against the juggernaut Braves. Acuña will win NLCS MVP and continue the monster year he is having. This will further solidify him as the best player in baseball right now.
World Series: Orioles vs Braves
This is a dream World Series. Two teams that are easy to like to watch play baseball. The young Orioles will be getting their first taste of the World Series. This will not be the last time they make it to the final dance, though, with Jackson Holliday knocking on the door and Heston Kjerstad just getting called up. They will be great for the foreseeable future. The problem for them is that this isn’t their season. It’s the Braves'.
Atlanta has the magic right now and I don’t see it stopping. Much of this team has been here before and got it done without Acuña. Now they will do it with him. One of the best lineups of all time will lead them to another World Series ring. Acuña will take home World Series MVP honors and this will be regarded as one of the best all-around seasons by a player in the last 50 years. Being the only member of the 40/70 club, taking home the regular season MVP, NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP will cement Acuña’s 2023 season in the history books forever.
Atlanta in 6.