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MLB Postseason Predictions: American League

As the 2018 Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season enters its final week, the postseason picture has begun to form. The American League (AL) playoff picture is set, heading into the final week with five teams establishing themselves throughout the season. However, it is almost October baseball, which means the regular season is a thing of the past. Here is what to look for this postseason in the American League, as well as my predictions. 

Boston has been the talk of the season for one reason: their incredible record. On Monday, Sept. 24., they won their 106th game of the season, a new high mark franchise record. Before falling off in early September, the Red Sox were on pace to break the 2001 Seattle Mariners record of 116 wins in a single season. The secret to Boston’s success has been their rotation and production from their outfielders. Despite battling injuries most of the season to superstars Chris Sale and David Price, the Red Sox rotation has found ways to keep opponents out of reach and let sluggers Mookie Betts and JD Martinez steal the show. The most impressive thing is that they did this in a division that features the Yankees, who have one of the best lineups in baseball. Look for the Red Sox to be extremely intimidating in the postseason.

 The Cleveland Indians continued their dominance over the AL Central this year, which is not saying much due to the division being in a state of rebuilding, establishing itself as the weakest division in baseball. That should not take away from how potent the Indians lineup is. Jose Ramirez has had a monster year and is a candidate for MVP. Francisco Lindor has done Francisco Lindor things and the rotation has been spectacular, spearheaded by performances from Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber. Look for the Indians to continue to make the softest splash of success this postseason, as the cards could fall in their favor. 

The defending champions, The Houston Astros, are back in the postseason and are looking to end the trend of early exits by defending champions. While not as dominant as last year, Houston still had a very strong season. The middle infield produced on both sides, and the rotation was strong, giving way to a team that boasts the best run differential in baseball at +261. Expect big performances from Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. Houston should be wary of Cleveland, as Astros ace Justin Verlander has a horrible track record against the Indians dating back to his days in Detroit.

Back in the Wild Card game for the second straight year, the Bronx Bombers are looking to make a deeper run the postseason. Despite having one of the best hypothetical lineups in baseball, the Yankees seemed to underperform this season, as Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge struggled at the plate and with injuries. However, the Yankees rotation was the key to their success this year, boasting top 10 stats in most categories. Look for an explosive offense this postseason from the Evil Empire. (Despite my personal hatred for the Yankees, it is nice to see them be a contender. It’s good for baseball when they’re good).

I would say this is a surprise, but it really isn’t. Every four or five years the Oakland Athletics will soar above being pathetic and shock the sports world. Led by Khris Davis, the A’s offense is powerful and the rotation keeps them in games. They are nothing flashy and have no star players. If the A’s can keep the Yankees in check during the Wild Card, watch for another Brad Pitt movie about them in two years.

PREDICTIONS:

WILD CARD GAME: New York over Oakland.  

ALDS: Boston vs. New York: Boston over New York 3-1.

ALDS: Cleveland vs. Houston: Cleveland over Houston 3-2.

ALCS: Cleveland vs. Boston: Cleveland over Boston 4-2.

Max Engel, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MEngel21@wooster.edu.

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