OPENING DAY has come and gone, and we are into day two! Welcome in ball boys and ball girls! Welcome to the first of my division predictions; we just started the season, and I gave my first playoff prediction for the NL. These predictions will come out monthly, around the beginning of the month for the rest of the season. So please sit back, relax, grab a drink(soda, water, a beer you choose), and let's enjoy the season.
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Let's start with my FINAL division standings before we get too deep into the season.
Division Standings: West
LA Dodgers: 105-57 (1)
SD Padres: 102-60(4)
SF Giants: 82-80
Colorado Rockies: 70-92
Arizona D-Backs: 65-97
Division Standing Prediction: Cental
St Louis Cardinals- 97-65(3)
Chicago Cubs- 95-67
Cincinnati Reds- 83-79
Milwaukee Brewers- 81-81
Division Standings: East
Atlanta Braves: 102-60(2)
Washington Nationals: 96-66(5)
Philadelphia Phillies: 93-69
NY Mets: 90-72
Miami Marlins- 85-77
The NL's upset is the Chicago Cubs, who missed the playoffs by one game to the Nationals, and the Phillies, who missed by just three games.
NLCS Wild Card
The Padres could be one of the highest win total teams of all time playing in the Wild Card. They will be going against the Washington Nationals in the one-game play-in. The Padres will likely throw either Yu Darvish or Blake Snell, and the Nationals will either throw Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg. Which either one would be a great matchup. I think the Padres have the edge here because of Tatis Jr., Machado, Hosmer, Myers, and the other offensive pieces. However, the Nationals could match them run for Bell, Soto, Robles, Tuner, and others. I do have to take the veteran and world series experience of the Nationals in this one.
NLDS 1 v 5
The number one seed LA Dodgers going against the wild card winning Washington Nationals? If this sounds familiar to you, it is; it's because the same thing happened in 2019, with the Nationals winning in five. The Dodgers will likely use a 3-man rotation with Kershaw, Bauer, Bueler, which would put Price and Urias coming out of the pen, which wouldn't be awful. The Nationals would also likely use a 3-man rotation with Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin. With Lester and Fedde coming out of the pen. The rotations and bullpen stack up relatively evenly to me. The offense is where things get a little more interesting, which is why I give the edge to Dodgers and Mookie Betts. Betts is the x-factor and the reasons the Dodgers win in 5. 3-2.
NLDS 2 v 3
I promise I didn't just take a time machine back to 2019 and square the STL Cardinals against the ATL Braves again. The Braves are much improved since the 2019 series, and so are the Cardinals. The Braves made a deep run in 2020, forcing the Dodger's hand deep into the NLCS. The Cardinals returned all major pieces this last off-season and added 3B Nolan Arenado, who hasn't been to playoffs since 2018. The Braves will like to go with a rotation of Max Fried, Mike Soroka, Drew Smyly with Charlie Morton pitching out of the pen. The Cardinals will like to go with a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, and Kwang Hyun Kim. I like the Cardinals with the edge with playoff experience and the overall depth of their pen. The Braves may have a slightly more potent offense, with Acuna and Ozuna leading the charge. But the Red Birds can match run for a run with Arenado and Goldy leading the way. I am taking the Cardinals in five.
NLCS 1 v 3
For the NL pendant, we will see the Dodgers going against the Cardinals in a best of seven. Let's break down the positions and who I think has the advantages and where.
Rotation- Advantage Dodgers
Bull Pen- Advantage Cardinals
Defense- Advantage Cardinals
Outfielders- Advantage Dodgers
Infielders- TIED, Dodgers get SS and 2B, Cardinals take 3B and 1B
Difference Makers- I think the true x-factors for each club are the superstars. Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado. These guys projected to me to have a great season and lead their teams to the NLCS. Their performances will make or break if they can advance to the World Series.
Overall, the advantage here goes to the LA Dodgers in seven. The Cardinals at least made their case that they are legit World Series contenders to keep Arenado around and gave Yadi and Waino one heck of a curtain call.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed my first Playoff Prediction. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.