The Major League Baseball season begins in earnest tomorrow, overlooking the two games in Japan last week between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners that count both for the regular-season standings and giving Ichiro Suzuki a proper retirement celebration in his home nation.
We misfired on our World Series prediction last October, yet here we are again with some more predictions that are guaranteed to go wrong. Hey, we won’t be as wrong as those peeps betting on the Baltimore Orioles to win it all in 2019, however.
Or maybe we will be? Only time will tell.
Here are our predicted orders of finish for all six MLB divisions, followed by playoff teams and how all that will unfold in October. Check back sometime later to see how we did? We will only remind you if we did it right, obviously.
East Division: Boston, New York (wild card), Tampa Bay, Toronto, Baltimore
Central Division: Cleveland, Minnesota (wild card), Detroit, Kansas City, Chicago
West Division: Houston, Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas
(And in case you were curious … The Rays will push the Twins for that second wild-card spot, coming up just short on the final weekend of the season, while the A’s pitching staff will continue to prevent the team from truly being great. The Angels will start to climb again, now that a new manager has the reins.)
Playoffs: The Yankees will beat the Twins in the AL wild-card game, although we still think MLB should switch format here to a best-of-five series. Then make the League Division Series seven games. More money for everyone that way—and a better measure of a team’s quality than a one-off elimination game after playing 162 regular-season contests. An ALDS matchup between Houston, with the league’s best record, and New York will be epic, like that 2017 AL Championship Series was. The Astros’ pitching is just too good, though, so Houston moves on. Meanwhile, Cleveland will defeat the defending champions in the other ALDS, similar to what happened in a 2016 playoff matchup. In the end, the Astros have too much offense for the Tribe’s pitching staff, although it is really hard to imagine much more than a coin flip separating the top four teams in the American League this season.
East Division: Atlanta, Philadelphia (wild card), Washington, New York, Miami
Central Division: Milwaukee, Chicago (wild card), St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh
West Division: Los Angeles, San Diego, Colorado, Arizona, San Francisco
(And in case you were curious … The Nats will be better than anyone thinks, staying in the playoff chase until the final week of the season, right along with the Cardinals. The Padres will rise in the West, as the Giants tumble some more in the final season of their legendary manager’s career.)
Playoffs: Bryce Harper and Co. will host the NL wild-card game against the Cubs, and for the second year in a row, Chicago will go home quickly once it reaches the postseason. With the Dodgers having the best record in the league, the Phillies will take on the team Harper should have signed with this month. While Philadelphia will score some runs, the L.A. pitching staff will overcome that lineup to advance. In the other NLDS matchup, the young Braves are still a year or two away from becoming the dominant force in the league. Milwaukee is on a mission after last season’s playoff ouster, and the Brewers will move on to face the Dodgers once more in the NLCS. Can L.A. make it three straight World Series? No NL team has won three straight pennants since World War II, so we will stick with the Brewers making it to the World Series for the first time since 1982.
World Series: Houston vs. Milwaukee
Ah, the Midwest against the South. At least the coastal bandwagon fans will tune out to watch something else, right? MLB’s worst nightmare, of course. However, real baseball fans will be treated to an excellent series that sees the Astros win their second championship in three seasons, in six games, over the Brewers. The MVP this time around will be Houston second baseman José Altuve.
There you have it. See you in October to discuss what went wrong with the above.