Whelp, here we go again. This time we’re going to be taking a look at the National League playoff picture. If you haven’t read my AL playoff piece, you can check it out here. I’ll spare the Pumpkin Spice Latte fuelled opener and cut right to the chase.
My Pick: New York Mets
Current Leader: Washington Nationals
Holy crap was I wrong on this one. I really, truly thought this would be the year the Mets mafioso conglomerate of pitchers would finally stay healthy and dominate to their potential. Big X on that one. The Nats have been dominant all year and the only thing that has slowed them down has been injuries. If healthy, they have an elite lineup backed by a solid 1,2,3 in Mad Max, Strasberg and Gio, making them a serious contender. If Bryce Harper and his new cornrows can lead the charge, look out for the Nats in the postseason.
My Pick: Chicago Cubs
Current Leader: Chicago Cubs
It was a bit of a scary start for the defending World Series champions, but an 108 year curse being lifted was bound to lead to a hangover. The ship has been righted and the Cubs have returned to form in the second half, with the big key being the improvement of the rotation. Bryant and Rizzo are getting hot down the stretch, and some great midseason adds in Jose Quintana, Justin Wilson and Alex Avilla have all been solid in their short Cub careers. Winning back-to-back championships may be the toughest thing to do in sports, but this team is deep and talented, which certainly gives them a shot to win again in October.
My Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers
Current Leader: Los Angeles Dodgers
What is there to say about the Dodgers. They’re undoubtedly the best team in Major League Baseball, and it’s World Series or bust. Everything has gone right for the Dodgers this year, and if they perform like they have all season, expect big things in the playoffs. Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish lead a starting staff, while Kenley Jansen is pretty much automatic in the back of the pen. The only way the Dodgers can’t be favourited throughout the playoffs is if they beat themselves. A lot of hype and pressure surrounds this team, and it will be interesting to see if they can block it all out and keep playin’ ball.
My Picks: Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies
Current Leaders: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies
Both wild card picks are playoff teams thus far, but the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of best stories in baseball this year. Rookie manager Torey Lovello has his team firing on all cylinders, and following a disastrous 2016, the Snakes are back on track. Lead by the most underrated superstar in baseball Paul Goldschmidt and a dangerous lineup around him, Arizona’s lineup can compete with anyone, but the pitching will be the real factor in if they have success in October or not. After all-stars Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, Patrick Corbin has had a big second half, but the backend of the rotation and bullpen will have to step up down the stretch. For the division rival Rockies, they will go as far as their dynamite offense will take them. Their rotation isn’t great, putting a lot of pressure on Jake McGee, pat Neshek and Gregg Holland at the backend of the bullpen. If Colorado can get back to mashing after some second half struggles, they could be a dangerous matchup for anyone in the NL.
NL Playoff predictions
My Pick: Washington Nationals
WC: #5 Diamondbacks over #6 Rockies
This game will come down to pitching, and Wether it’s Greinke or Ray who get the ball for Arizona, they’ll be able to neutralize the Colorado bats.
ALDS: #1 Dodgers over #5 Diamondbacks in 4 games
The Diamondbacks will compete right to the end, but the Dodgers will be too much to handle for a young Dbacks team with limited playoff experience.
ALDS: #2 Washington Nationals over #3 Chicago Cubs in 5 games
This is a toss up , but as I said earlier, repeating playoff success is extremely difficult. A very even matchup across the board, the Bryce Harper lead Nationals win the tightest and best series of the playoffs.
ALCS: #1 Dodgers over #2 Nationals in 5 games
Washington was my pick to win it all in April, but the depth of the Dodgers will be too much to handle for the Nats. The Dodgers have had the mojo working for them all year and I don’t think they slow down.
World Series: #2 Indians over #1 Dodgers in 6 games
Clayton Kershaw will finally make it to the big dance and perform great, but just like the Royals of a few years ago, the Indians will prevail as champions after losing in game 7 of the World Series last season.
I had Cleveland over Washington in my pre-season predictions, and I’m sticking with the Indians as my champion.
Who do you think wins the NL and the WS? Comment below or tweet me @BigPete44 or us @RallyTowelMedia.