Photo Credit: For the Win
Los Angeles looked like they had the best team in Major League baseball for the first five months of the season, but a slow down in September has seen their historic win pace cool down.
A lot of the Dodgers’ problem has been a complete collapse in their pitching staff; during September LA’s pitching staff has posted a slash line of 5.09/4.24/3.75 (ERA/FIP/xFIP), which is awful compared to the numbers they posted in August 3.60/4.32/3.70. As a result of the worse pitching, the Dodgers’ offense is getting buried before it gets a chance to get really going and that’s led to a the losses piling up during the last month of the season.
Dodgers’ fans are hoping the team is getting the slump out of the way now, instead of in the post season. Because they’re running out of patience for an expensive roste that has yet to bring home a World Series championship.
West: Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers once looked like they were on pace to rewrite the MLB record book, but an extremely cold September has ended any chance at 116-wins. It doesn’t matter though, as LA locked up a play off spot weeks ago and are only two wins away from clinching the West.
Central: Chicago Cubs – After starting the season slow, the Cubs took off during the second half of the season to reclaim first in the Central. The big issue for Chicago has been its starting staff’s consistency, which should make the construction of the post season roster interesting.
East: Washington Nationals – Washington hasn’t faced too many challenges this season as they’ve run away with the NL East. It’ll be interesting to see how the team’s bullpen holds up during short series with a potent offense and a starting staff that has struggled (at times) to go deep into games.
Wildcard No. 1: Arizona Diamondbacks – The Diamondbacks would be leading three of MLB’s other divisions with their record, but because they’re in the same division as Los Angeles they get to host a Wildcard game. Zack Grienke and Taijuan Walker anchor a dynamic pitching staff but they have a relatively weak bullpen behind them that could be a problem during the playoffs.
Wildcard No. 2: Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee has been playing great baseball as of late, 7-3 in the last ten games, and they’ve got a talented pitching staff. With Colorado cooling down, and the issues with the Rockies bullpen, the Brewers are going to take over the second Wildcard spot to squeak into their first playoff game since 2011.
Arizona will role out a better starting pitcher, and a better line-up than Milwaukee in the Wildcard…but the Diamondbacks bullpen will be a problem. The Brewers will hang around after their starter exits the game, which will let them take a lead once the D-Backs’ pen is unable to hold onto the lead. Milwaukee closer Corey Knebel comes into the game and locks down the “W”.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals: Washington is the more talented and complete team, Milwaukee has been playing better baseball as of late. This series is going to test the patience of both offense’s as these pitching staffs are really good at moving pitches around the zone. Because the Nationals have a more talented offense, the advantage lies with them.
Washington beats the Brew Crew in five games.
Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Low Angeles went out and made moves prior to the non-waiver and waiver trade deadlines to strengthen their pitching staff, and that’s huge for the team’s post season roster. But Los Angeles hasn’t been playing very good baseball as of late, and they’ll be facing the defending champs in the NLDS.
Chicago wins the series in five games.
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals: The advantage for Washington is its starting staff, the advantage for Chicago is the defense. Both teams are similar offensively, although the Nats line-up is a little longer, so this is going to be a competitive series. If Chicago’s offense can get the Nationals’ starters out of the games early, the Cubs will probably be able to repeat as National League champs…but it’s unlikely that Washington’s starters will get chased early.
Washington earns its first National League pennant in six games.
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