2015 MLB Postseason Predictions: Divisional Series
With two dominating performances, the Astros and Cubs have advanced to the Divisional round of the MLB playoffs where the other six teams await. Considering the teams that are left, it is sure to be an amazing round of games that baseball fans will love.
The Blue Jays won the AL East And will have the home field advantage as they face the AL West champion Texas Rangers. Toronto looked like they were going to have another average season until they acquired Troy Tulowitzki in a trade with Colorado and then David Price from Detroit. Since then, they have been on a roll and have played great baseball.
The Rangers also went on a hot streak toward the end of the season and came from nowhere to edge out the Astros and Angels to win their division. Their run came out of nowhere but the addition of pitcher Cole Hamels and better play from stars like Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre have led Texas back to the postseason.
Both teams are very good and this should be a great five-game series, but I will give the edge to Toronto here. I think they have better pitching overall and their offense, powered by Tulowitzki, Bautista, and Donaldson might just be too much for the Rangers.
WINNER: Toronto Blue Jays
The Astros beat the Yankees Tuesday night to advance to the Divisional series to face the AL Central champion Kansas City Royals. The Royals responded to last year’s World Series loss with a great season and another trip to the postseason.
The Astros relied on their ace Dallas Keuchel to get past the Yankees so they will have to rely on their other starters to begin this series. But pitching aside, their offense will have to be huge for them to have a chance to win this series. Altuve, Gattis, Rasmus, Gomez and the rest of the Houston hitters will need to produce as many runs as possible for them to advance.
The Royals played all season with a fire and determination to get back to the World Series and win it all this year. They had a few setbacks and dealt with their share on injuries, but pulled through it and finished the 2015 as a favorite in the American League. Their mid-season acquisition of Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto also helped bolster their pitching rotation. And I do believe that with their pitchers and fielders, manager Ned Yost will lead Kansas City back to the World Series. And it will start with a series win here against Houston.
WINNER: Kansas City Royals
The upstart Chicago Cubs beat the Pirates 4-0 on Wednesday and now must face NL Central champs and rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards seem to always find a way into the postseason and did it again in 2015 despite having Chicago and Pittsburgh challenge all year for the division title.
A huge part of the Cardinals success is their pitching. Despite injuries, St. Louis finished the year off strong and finished on top of a tough division. No matter what anyone predicts, the Cardinals always seem to find a way to get in done in the postseason. But this year they will face a young, fiery Cubs team that may just give them a battle.
Chicago began the season with hopes of improving with new manager Joe Maddon taking over. But I don’t believe that anyone could have predicted that the Cubs would already be making a mark in the postseason. Well, anyone except for the people that made Back to the Future II! But with great pitching from Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester and stellar fielding and hitting from Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs are hoping to make a magical run to the World Series for the first time since 1908. And I am going to predict that Chicago will take that first step toward the World Series with a great five-game series victory over the favored Cardinals.
WINNER: Chicago Cubs
The other Divisional series in the National League is between the NL East champion New York Mets and the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were one of the favorites to win their division all season long. The Mets, however, were one of the biggest surprises of the MLB season.
New York was behind Washington and Atlanta, at the least, as far as ranking the teams in the NL East when the season began. But with subpar seasons by those clubs and a shockingly great season by the Mets led them to the top of the division. The Mets can thank their young, but good, pitching rotation and some quality offense for their rise to the top. And they will need every bit of that as they are the underdogs in this series against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers, unlike the Mets, were picked by many to win the NL West and for good reason. They have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and, with that money spent, they should be where they are. Part of that huge payroll goes to the one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, two of the best pitchers in all of baseball. But Los Angeles also has tons of money invested in their fielders. But one thing that could help LA right now is the availability of outfielder Yasiel Puig. He could play a huge role in their postseason push. But for this article, I will look to the past and the Dodgers lack of winning when it really matters. So with that said, I will pick the Mets to pull off the upset and keep their miracle season alive.
WINNER: New York Mets
Daryl Karpinski Jr.