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Oct 04, 2018

MLB DFS Playoff Preview

After 2,429 regular season games, two game 163's, and two wild-card games, there are only eight MLB teams left in play. Playoff baseball, the best kind of baseball, officially starts tonight. There's a bit of everything in the four division series this year so let's break it down and take a look at each series.

Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers

The Rockies and the Brewers kick off the action tonight in Milwaukee. Rock-tober is in full effect as the Rockies won 9 of 10 games which included an eight-game winning streak before losing game 163 to the Dodgers. They ended up escaping a 13 inning-thriller victoriously in Chicago the next night to secure a spot in the division series. Arenado, who leads the team in average, home runs, and runs batted in, enters the divisional series riding a ten-game hit streak and has gone bridge four times in as many games. A major key to this series is how the Brewers' pitching will fare in Colorado. According to ESPN Park Factors, Coors is the second highest scoring park in the bigs. This is good news for the Rockies as the Brewers' big weakness heading into the playoffs is their lack of starting pitching. Milwaukee manager Craig Counsel is aware of this fact and will be playing bull-pen games for at least the first two games. If all goes well expect them to do the same when they head to Colorado where visiting pitchers can be easily traumatized.

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The second NLDS pins the young Atlanta Braves against the defending National League Champions. The Dodgers enter the playoffs playing good ball. They have lost consecutive games just twice in their last 35 games, a stat that bodes well in a five-game series. Ryu will take the ball for game one tonight, not Kershaw. This comes as a bit of a surprise as Kershaw is, well, Kershaw. But Ryu has a sparkling 1.97 ERA in his 82 IP this season and has allowed just one earned run in his last 19 innings. Kershaw will start game two with Buelher and Hill slated for the next two games. This staff looks as good as any heading into the playoffs, but you don't have to look too hard to see their recent October pitching struggles. Just google "Kershaw Playoffs", not pretty. As for the Braves, they enter the playoffs carried by 20-year-old Acuña and 21-year-old Albies. The eternal question comes up yet again, will the inexperienced crumble under the pressure, or are they too young to realize the magnitude of the situation? The last time the Braves were in the playoffs was in 2013 when they lost in the NLDS in four games to the Dodgers. They'll look to reverse that script this year, but will need the youth to step up.

Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians

In the American League, the reigning World Series Champion Astros look to become the first MLB team since the Yankees in 2000 to repeat as champions. They will face off against the Indians who sauntered into the 2018 playoffs, coming out of the worst division possibly of all time. The 'Stros are the heavy favorites here, but the Indians have a strong staff in Kluber, Bauer, Clevinger, and Carrasco that may surprise some people. A major question for the Indians is which Andrew Miller they are going to get. Will it be the sub-2.00 ERA, dominant Andrew Miller we got used to over the last five years? Or will it be the 4.00 ERA Andrew Miller we have seen this year that just gave up a four-spot to the Royals in his last outing? If Miller can settle into his own and provide quality relief help, this Indians staff becomes quite formidable.

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

Lastly, we have the Red-Sox and Yankees showdown. The first time these two rivals have faced in the playoffs since 2004 when the Red-Sox pulled off the greatest series comeback in Playoff history. The two teams enter the series as two of only three teams to win 100 games this year. They are also both led by rookie managers. Alex Cora for Boston and Aaron Boone for the Yankees have surprised many with their respective clubs' dominant performances this season. Fun fact, they played together with the Indians in 2005. But none of that matters in this series. Of course, the players on the field are the ones actually playing the game, don't be surprised if this series will come down to which of these new managers makes the right moves at the right time.

Dan Quinn