The 2017 MLB League Championship Series

On October 1st, I ranked the ten MLB playoff teams this season in the order I wanted them to win the World Series, and I also made predictions about how they’d do in their respective first-round matches. The two Wild-Card games and the four League Division Series are over, and before looking ahead to the two League Championship Series, so how did my teams and I do?

In a word, ugh.

AL Wild Card Game: I was correct. There was no way the Minnesota Twins would get through the New York Yankees juggernaut (or should I say Judge-rnaut?).

NL Wild Card Game: I was correct here. The better Arizona Diamondbacks would beat the Colorado Rockies.

ALDS Yankees-Indians: What happened to the Indians? They had a record 22-game win-streak this year and the best record in the American League. They were up 2-0 in the series, and it looked like Yankees manager Joe Girardi was gonna take a lot of heat for not challenging a questionable hit-by-pitch call that cost them Game 2. But these young Yankees, who are far less hateable than the past 15 years or so of Yankees, rallied back and won the series.

ALDS Red Sox-Astros: Ugh. I’m done with the 2017 Red Sox. Their offense was anemic without replacing David Ortiz’s big bat in the lineup. Both starting and relief pitching were solid through the regular season but not in the postseason. And there were some questionable lineup moves made by (former) Red Sox manager John Farrell. So the Astros move on.

NLDS Diamondbacks-Dodgers: Here’s the only one I got right. As fun and loose as the D-Backs are, they didn’t stand a chance against the high pricetag machine that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a sweep, and they can set up Clayton Kershaw to start Game 1 of the NLCS

NLDS Nationals-Cubs: And like they usually do when they get to the playoffs, the Nationals blow it in Game 5 of their series. This one bums me out about as much as the Red Sox loss. With Washington’s pitching and offense, and the Cubs just missing something since last year, I thought it would be their year to move on. But last year’s champions move on instead.

Success rate of my predictions: Wild-Card Games 100% correct (2-0), Division Series 25% correct (1-3). Just like last year. Ugh.

Now to the League Championship Series, where we have three teams that I really don’t want to win the World Series, along with a fourth team that I predicted two years ago to win it all this year.

 

American League: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros

          

The Yankees have been to and won more World Series than any other team. The Astros have been there once (2005) and were swept. That’s one of several reasons why this will actually be a fantastic ALCS. The Astros had more wins, but they played in a weaker division than the Wild Card Yankees. Both teams have had an impressive offensive season. The Yankees have Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate (and really tall guy) Aaron Judge ready to bash the ball all over the place like he did with his AL-leading 52 home runs. Meanwhile, the Astros have their own MVP candidate (and the one I think deserves it more) in shortest MLB player José Altuve and his league leading .341 batting average. As for pitching, I give the edge to Houston with Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. It will be fun watching these two dynamic younger teams… and cheering against the Yankees. As a Red Sox fan, that’s what I’ve got to do, even though the Astros just beat the Sox.

Prediction: The Astros are my highest ranked want-to-win-it-all team remaining at #3. The Yankees are at their typical #10. I want the Astros to move on, and I believe they’ll do it, but it’ll take seven games.

 

 

National League: Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

         

This is a rematch of last year, which automatically makes it less interesting for me, since I’m not a fan of either team (#9 and #7, respectively, on my October 1st list). Yes, the Cubs have Sox ties in General Manager Theo Epstein and starting pitcher Jon Lester. And yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a Sox connection in Manager Dave Roberts. But the Cubs just won it last year after a 108-year drought, and since my Red Sox had to wait three years to get their second after the 86-year drought, then the Cubs should have to wait at least that long. The Dodgers haven’t been to the World Series since their inspiring 1988 victory, so they’re due. I think their pitching rotation with Kershaw, Hill, and Darvish should outpitch the Cubs’ with Lester, Arietta, and Kendrick.

Prediction: They had the best record in baseball, along with the highest payroll, and I think this year, that will make the difference. Dodgers in six games.

 

Play ball!

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