The 2019 Major League Baseball regular season was a rollercoaster. With four no-hitters, four 100-win teams and new records for home runs and strikeouts in a season, there were plenty of surprises, heartfelt moments and record-smashing.
Playoff baseball is almost impossible to predict. Managerial strategy used in the regular season is often thrown out the window in favor of methods that reflect the added significance on every game. Star players may falter, unknown players may have historic performances — nothing is guaranteed, except for some chaos and upsets.
That being said, it’s time to try and predict which team will hoist the Commissioner’s trophy at the end of the month.
World Series Prediction: Houston Astros over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6
With the best record in the MLB, the Astros have no glaring weaknesses. Going into the playoffs, they also have potentially the best lineup with third baseman Alex Bregman, outfielder George Springer, second baseman José Altuve and shortstop Carlos Correa. Although Correa is currently injured with lower back tightness, he is expected to return for the American League Division Series. Surrounding this core, the improvement of first baseman Yuli Gurriel, the offseason signing of outfielder Michael Brantley and the midseason call-up of standout rookie Yordon Álveraz have turned this lineup from strong to unstoppable with power in all nine spots. Not to mention the Astros’ deadly pitching trio of Cy Young candidate Geritt Cole, mid-season acquisition Zack Greinke and ageless wonder Justin Verlander. It will be tough for any team to beat Houston in a seven-game series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to have the best shot at doing so, however. Like the Astros, the Dodgers also have an abundance of depth and talent. The Dodgers finished with the best record in the National League and closed out the regular season with seven straight wins. Their offense — headlined by MVP candidate and outfielder Cody Bellinger, first baseman Max Muncy and veteran third baseman Justin Turner — is second to none. Eleven players have reached double-digit home runs this season, so there are no easy outs in this lineup. With future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young Candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu and young phenom Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’s pitching rotation can seemingly hold its own against any playoff team.
However, given Clayton Kershaw’s playoff struggles and closer Kenley Jansen’s mediocre season so far, it’s hard to see the Dodgers being able to stop the Astros’ potent offense — which leads the league in batting average. Los Angeles will suffer its third straight World Series loss this year in a rematch of 2017’s fall classic.
Email Arvind Sriram at [email protected]