2017 MLB Playoff Preview
by Scott Lenz, Marketing Manager, PCC
Wild card: New York Yankees defeat Minnesota Twins. The baby Bombers – Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez – and a red hot Luis Severino (7-1 in his last eight starts) prove too much for a wide-eyed, worst to wild card Twins team that is just happy to be here.
Divisional round: Cleveland Indians defeat New York Yankees, Houston Astros defeat Boston Red Sox. It’s a sign of the times when the two most storied franchises in the AL go down to a recent perennial also-ran, and another team that wasn’t even in the AL 5 years ago. But it’s all about who’s hot in October – and the Indians and Astros are it. An offensive lineup firing on all cylinders, and a healthy Andrew Miller, tilt the scales for Cleveland – while the addition of Justin Verlander to MVP front runner Jose Altuve’s upstart squad pushes Houston to their first League Championship since 2005 (when they were in the NL).
AL Championship: Cleveland Indians defeat Houston Astros. Again, the Indians are the hottest team in baseball – and also the hungriest, after a heart-pounding (and –breaking) Game 7 of last year’s World Series extended their ring-less drought to nearly seven decades. It should, however, be a series for the ages – as this is the first time in 40 YEARS that two 100-win teams will meet in the ALCS (Yankees vs. Royals, 1977).
Wild card: Arizona Diamondbacks defeat Colorado Rockies. Home field advantage doesn’t usually mean much in baseball, but without that thin air to augment their offense, the much improved Rockies will go down to D-Backs’ ace Zack Greinke, who has a playoff size chip on his shoulder.
Divisional round: Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals defeat Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers finally get enough quality pitching from their aces to defeat a D-Backs roster full of sluggers, while the Nats finally manage to get out of the first round for the first time since their move to D.C. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw proves he is not the MLB’s Dan Marino, and Washington’s Bryce Harper comes back from his weeks-long injury chomping at the bit to win a divisional series.
NL Championship: Washington Nationals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers. Yeah, the Dodgers had the best record in baseball with 104 wins – but ask the 2001 Seattle Mariners what that means in the playoffs. The Nationals, with their powerful but streaky offense and dominant but fragile pitching, finally get everything right to advance to their first World Series in franchise history, which includes their time as the Montreal Expos. (Oddly enough, the only other current MLB team to never reach a World Series: The Seattle Mariners.)
WORLD SERIES: Cleveland Indians defeat Washington Nationals. The bright lights of the World Series will have less of a blinding effect on the Indians, who were just a few million drops of rain away from taking the title in 2016. The Nationals – notorious playoff chokers like their same-city brethren in the NHL, NFL and NBA – will stay true to form, succumbing to the Indians’ evenly distributed offense of speed and power, and superior pitching. Thus, the current longest standing World Series drought – 68 years – ends: for the second year in a row.
And that means: Texas Rangers’ (57 years) fans? Get ready to rejoice in 2018!