WRITTEN BY: JAKE GEIGER, STAFF WRITER
The 2020 MLB Playoffs have finally made it to the League Championship Series. Yesterday, the American League Championship Series (ALCS) began between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. The National League Championship Series (NLCS) starts today between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. Let’s preview all four teams as they fight for a chance in the 2020 World Series.
This ALCS is a fantastic matchup with the Rays’ stellar pitching and the Astros’ hot bats. The Houston Astros have made a surprise run so far in this postseason. Coming in as the sixth seed, they upset the Minnesota Twins in the first round. They then defeated the Oakland Athletics in four games.
The reason Houston has had so much success this postseason is because of their blistering offense. Top players Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve have all stepped up their play. Correa had three home runs, 11 RBI’s and batted .500.
The Rays advanced to this stage by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in two games and beating the New York Yankees in the deciding game of the last series.
Rays’ first baseman Mike Brosseau came in the eighth inning to pinch-hit and crushed a solo home run to give the Rays the 2-1 victory and advanced to the ALCS. Though the Rays’ pitching has been exceptional all season long, starters Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow and Charlie Morton look to continue their dominance into this pivotal championship series.
The Astros do not have the same depth pitching-wise. Former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was injured in the middle of the season and has been out for the past two months. Zack Greinke has the most success and experience out of all the Astros pitchers, but he is also dealing with injuries himself. The Astros will need starters Framber Valdez and Lance McCullers to have quality pitching to give the Astros a chance this series.
I predict the Rays will win 4-3 because of the pitching advantages.
The NLCS poses the top two seeds in the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. This was a highly predicted matchup before the season began, as both of these teams had plenty of hype and returning starters.
The Dodgers advanced by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in two games and the Padres in three. The Braves bested the Reds in two games and the Marlins in three games. Neither team has lost a playoff game and separated themselves as the top two teams in the NLCS.
Both teams have strong pitching, though the Dodgers have slightly better hitting. Led by All-Stars Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner, the Dodgers can score any time.
The Braves’ pitching staff has been led by two youngsters, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Both have been outstanding in their first postseason ventures and look to continue their success in the championship series. The Braves’ bats have been a little quiet this postseason, but Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman look to lead the way.
Game one starts at 8:08 p.m. today, Max Fried will take the mound for the Braves while Walker Buehler will start for Los Angeles.
I believe the Dodgers pitching will be just enough and their hitting will overpower Atlanta. I predict Dodgers in six.