MLB Playoff Predictions

David Koier, Courier Staff

It’s finally September and that only means one thing: the MLB season is winding down and it’s almost time for the playoffs!

This season has been all over the place when it comes to standings. Part of the American League has looked dominant all throughout the season, while the other half has looked completely awful. The National League on the other hand has had some close races that only September baseball can solve.

With many of the divisions’ titles still up for contention and the Wild Card races closer than ever, it seems only fair that I share my picks for what I think the MLB playoff picture will look like in October.

Let’s start with the American League. In the AL East the Boston Red Sox are the clear-cut winners. They currently have a 97-46 record with a 7.5 game lead on the second place Yankees. Eight games away from tying their franchise record in single season wins; the Red Sox are on their way to winning 106 games, easily beating out any other team’s overall record. Led by the power bats of J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox are looking to win their second World Series championship in the past five years.

Next up is the AL central. In my opinion the overall worst division in baseball this season (I mean look at their records!) the only pick to win this division would have to be the Cleveland Indians.

At 81-61, the Indians wouldn’t even be in the American League Wild Card picture if they weren’t on top of their division. Not to take anything away from how the Indians have been playing, but it’s really easy to win your division when your second-place team is 16.5 games behind you and is 13 games under .500.

The AL west is a very tough pick for me. With two very hot teams competing to win the West, I have to go with the reigning World Series champs Houston Astros.

After dropping a series in mid- August to the Oakland A’s, the Astros shared the top of the West with the A’s. It seemed that the Astros started to slow down after that loss, but business seemed to pick up at the end of the month. A 2-1 series win over the A’s helped the Astros take sole control of the West. The Astros are currently 8-2 in their last 10 games and have yet to lose a game in the month of September. Tied for the second-best record in the MLB, I have to go with the world champs, but don’t worry I didn’t forget about the A’s.

What about the wildcard? If the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics were in the National League they would have a solid lead on top of any division that they were in.

Unfortunately for both teams they are in the American League and in two divisions with teams on top that are just too hot. I think that the one game wildcard playoff between these two teams at Yankee Stadium will be one of the most competitive games of the playoffs.

Now on to the National League. The National League has some of the closest races going on right now and this is one of them. After a long time of going back and forth on who I wanted to pick, I decided that I think the team representing the East would be the Atlanta Braves.

In a season that saw both the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have amazing comeback seasons, the East is really still up for grabs. Both teams have tough schedules in the rest of September featuring two series against one another. Whoever gets the upper hand in both of those series will take control of the East.

Before the season I said that the NL Central division would produce multiple teams in the playoffs. The top three teams in the National League Central currently have the three best records in the National League and if the season ended today, there would be three Central teams in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the season does not end today and any of those three teams could be out of the picture at the end of September. My pick though for the Central (and as a Brewers fan it really pains me to write this) is the Chicago Cubs. Although the Brewers are 8-2 in their last ten and the Cubs are 5-5, the Cubs will soon again be hot, and the Brewers will be inconsistent.

The final three game series between the two teams starts today and whoever wins this series will be the leader of the division. There are many games left in September though to keep that lead and I think that the Cubs will come out victorious in the end.

TeNL East is another tough decision to make. The Dodgers have been one of the hottest teams throughout the season, but the offense of the Rockies has been dominant as well. After much thinking and tossing the two teams back and forth, I came to the decision that the Colorado Rockies will win the NL East.

The Rockies currently have a 1.5 game lead on the Dodgers and I think that their bats are as hot as ever. With a fairly easy schedule for the rest of September, the Rockies have one more series against the division rival Dodgers that they must win if they want the East.

As I mentioned in the NL Central prediction, currently two Central teams own the Wild Card, but I don’t think the end of the season will look that way. The one game playoff to decide who will play the Cubs will be held at Miller Park in Milwaukee and will see the Brewers face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cardinals had a red-hot August, but have slowed down exponentially in September, and I don’t think they will gain any of their momentum back.