Playoff baseball is upon us for yet another October and here’s how the first round will play out

National League

Atlanta Braves defeat St. Louis Cardinals in five games 

This matchup has the potential to be the best one of the division series round. Looking at both teams, it is difficult to pick against the St. Louis Cardinals, but I’m a big believer in past postseason experience. That’s why I’m picking the Braves to win.

Another reason why I think the Braves can win is because of the additions they made this season. The Braves went all out at the trade deadline picking up three relievers, Mark Melancon, Shane Greene, and Chris Martin, adding depth and assurance in the back end. Adding Dallas Keuchel and having a go-to ace in their staff will certainly help them this October as well. There is no telling the impact that youngsters Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies will have in their second trip to the postseason either.

Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Washington Nationals in five games 

The Dodgers seem destined to get back to the World Series for the third straight season. That journey starts with defeating the Nationals. In the first year without star Bryce Harper, the Nationals have become a force to be reckoned with. The starting pitching in this series will be something to watch, since both teams have three quality starting pitchers. For the Nationals the first three starters could be Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, while the Dodgers counter with Walker Buhler, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun Jin-Ryu.

The Nationals are behind the 8-ball in this department considering they had to use their two best pitchers, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, in the Wild Card game. However, don’t be shocked if the Nationals pull off the upset. It’s difficult to count out the Dodgers, however, who have the most experience when it comes to the playoffs and seem hungrier than ever. I think the Dodgers will prevail after hitting a lot of home runs in game five against a tired Nationals bullpen.

American League

Houston Astros defeat Tampa Bay Rays in three games 

The Houston Astros are the favorite to win the World Series this year without a doubt. It starts with the opening series against the Rays who took down the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild Card game. The Astros won’t have a problem with the Rays. With the three-headed monster of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zach Greinke, this series might be over before it even starts. It also helps that the Astros have been here before. From top to bottom, the Astros’ infield is the best in the MLB.

The addition of Michael Brantley adds a veteran bat that helps produce in the middle of the lineup. Roberto Osuna is having an incredible season which only tips the scale even farther towards the Astros. They are the favorite to win the World Series for a reason, they will have no problem with the Rays in this series.

New York Yankees defeat Minnesota Twins in four games 

The Yankees and Twins have provided some of the best games during the 2019 MLB regular season. However, I don’t think this series will live up to the hype. The Minnesota Twins have been one of the more surprising breakout teams in recent memory but the Yankees have a history of defeating those teams when it matters most. The 2019 version of Murderer’s Row that includes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Edwin Encarnacion, Gary Sanchez, Gleybor Torres, and DJ LeMahieu are all healthy going into this postseason, there is more depth on this team than any team in the MLB. Torres and LeMahieu have been incredible for the Yankees this season and that will continue in this series. 

The Twins will have a tough time keeping this offense off of the scoreboard and if you give the Yankees the lead through six innings the game might as well be over. The back-end of the bullpen is stellar with Zach Britton, Adam Ottavino and Aroldis Chapman. The addition of Ottavino will help the Yankees this postseason and will bridge that gap to Chapman so that he won’t be overused too early in October. The Twins have had an incredible season and proved themselves every day. But, a team full of good players doesn’t beat a team full of star players in this series.