After a cold spring and a long, hot summer, October is finally here and with it, the glories of playoff baseball. After 162 games, a pair of tiebreakers, and the two Wildcard games, only 8 teams remain.
In the American League, the Red Sox and Yankees will have another chance to renew their rivalry, which has given us some of our greatest baseball memories and the Astros will try to defend their title against an Indians team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1948.
In the National League, the Braves and Dodgers will look to end long title droughts of their own while the Brewers and Rockies seek their first World Series crown.
All have compelling story lines and all have earned their right to compete, but only one team can be crowned as 2018 World Series champions. Here’s who our writers think will be lifting the trophy.
*Note: these predictions were made after the wild card games and before the start of the divisional series.
Nick Lombardi: Yankees over Dodgers
“As good as Boston is, the Yankees proved in that final series that they’re better than the Red Sox right now. They’ve won 4 of the last 6 games against Boston and are 8-3 in their last 11 games overall. Let’s be honest here. The winner of the Red Sox-Yankees series is winning it all this year. And right now, my money is on Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to get the Bronx Bombers over the finish line.”
Jason Williamson: Red Sox over Brewers
“Everyone else is picking the Red Sox, and I’m not gonna be the one to say otherwise. They’ve won 108 games for a reason, and with the starting pitching back to full strength, it’s just too much for the rest of the playoff teams to handle. The runners up will be Milwaukee. The Brewers are just as hot as the Rockies (they’ve won 9 in a row, after all) and have the stats to back it up. Still, the Sox are just too good to bet against.”
Derrick Moore: Astros over Braves
“The Astros may not be the best team in baseball, but they still won 103 games and are great on both sides of the ball. They’re 5th in RBI, 6th in runs, and 7th in batting average, but their best weapon is their league leading 3.11 ERA. In a hitting-heavy AL, baseball’s best pitching will shut opponents down. The Braves will shock everyone and make it to the World Series on the back of their youth (the Braves are the youngest of the playoff teams) and their individual stars. Ronald Acuna is slugging .552 and Freddie Freeman is batting .309 with an .892 OPS. It still won’t be enough to win it all, but watch out for Atlanta to shock the world.”
Jake Jollymore: Rockies over Red Sox
“The Red Sox are the best team in AL, but there are two big problems with them winning it all. #1 is that they’ve been very average in September, sporting a 15-11 record in the final month. #2 is that their bullpen is god awful at times and only okay at best. The Rockies, on the other hand, have won 9 of their last 10 to make the playoffs and are the hottest team in baseball over the last month. Sometimes the best team does win, but the playoffs are usually about who’s hot. And that’s the Rockies.”
Chris Caradine: Red Sox over Brewers
“The Red Sox are just too good to lose a best of seven series against any of the AL teams, including the Yankees, and should be considered a lock to go to the World Series. As for the Brewers, I just think they’re the safest pick in the NL, having a top-5 pitching corps and a solid hitting corps. Again, I just don’t see the Sox losing a seven game series, and they’ll finish off the campaign with the title this time around.”
Ian McCulloch: Red Sox over Dodgers
“The Rockies and Brewers may be the hot hands coming into October, but at the end of the day Los Angeles’ pitching is just too good. The Dodgers have the second lowest ERA in baseball, give up the 3rd fewest walks, and are T-3 for lowest opposing batting average. You can’t get hot if you never get on base.
That’s why the Red Sox will beat them. Between J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts, Boston can pull home runs out of nowhere and instantly blow up a great pitching performance with one swing of the bat. The starting pitching is also arguably the best in baseball, and the only weakness is an average at best bullpen. But this is one of the best teams the Red Sox have ever had, and I don’t expect them to waste it.”
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Photo Credit: MLB