2019 MLB Playoff Predictions

If editor in chief Alison Goldberg is correct, then Christian Yelich is on the verge of etching his name somewhere next to Kirk Gibson (this reference was for our older readers) in the history books

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2019 MLB Playoff Predictions

Alison Goldberg, Co-Editor in Chief

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October is just about here, and playoffs are in session for Major League Baseball! After wild card races that went down to the final week of the season in both the American and National Leagues, the 2019 postseason bracket is finally completed. Will the St. Louis Cardinals advance after holding off the Brewers to win the National League Central division? Which low payroll team will survive the single-elimination game in the American League? Can another wild-card team advance to win the World Series? Will a team that was once an astounding 11 games under .500 win the 12 games needed to take home the trophy? Let’s see what The Shield’s Co-Editor in Chief, Alison Goldberg, and advisors, Mr. Pugliese and Mr. Simone, predict for what should be another exciting postseason. 

American League Wild Card

Alison Goldberg: Oakland A’s over Tampa Bay Rays

In 2018, the A’s started the season with the lowest opening-day payroll. This year, the Rays started the season with the lowest one. The fact that either of them has even made it this far is beyond me. In a one-game elimination scenario, I see the A’s taking the W. The A’s made it to this point last year and failed to overcome the Yankees in the Bronx. This year, the A’s have home-field advantage and have learned from their atrocious choice to utilize the bullpen for an elimination game. Led by third baseman Matt Chapman, the A’s have a stellar defense as well as some unexpected strong bats that I believe will power them to the ALDS.

Mr. Simone: A’s

I really think this could be the most exciting game of the entire postseason. I respect both teams tremendously but I am selecting Oakland simply because I have developed an anti-Tampa bias. This animosity, however, is based solely on Tampa Bay Rays’ manager Kevin Cash’s refusal to use ONE closer all season, thus ruining some of my fantasy teams. 

Mr. Pugliese: Rays

National League Wild Card

Goldberg: Milwaukee Brewers over the Washington Nationals 

Wow. What a season the Brewers had! From being at the top of the division, to sinking and being counted out, they really made a strong push to capture the second wild-card spot after losing the reigning NL MVP, Christian Yelich, to a season-ending injury. I believe the Brew Crew can easily keep its season going once they knock down a struggling Max Scherzer. 

Simone: Nationals

This one will not be close. Led by Trea Turner and Juan Soto, the Nationals will demolish the Brewers early and often. Great season for Milwaukee but the front office’s inability to grab a frontline pitcher at the trade deadline will come back to haunt them. Look for them to be big buyers in the offseason (re: Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole). 

Pugliese: Brewers

American League Division Series

Goldberg: New York Yankees over Minnesota Twins and A’s over Houston Astros

Although the Twins have shocked everyone this year, I don’t see them going any further than this series. I don’t see how the Twins’ pitching staff can shut down the Yankees’ powerful offense. That’s what it comes down to for my decision.

Now, I know the Astros have been an absolute powerhouse this year and definitely have the potential to make it to the World Series, but I think the A’s will shockingly prevail past them. Look at the teams’ two most recent series – Oakland took three out of four each time. Unless Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole & Zack Greinke can throw complete games, I don’t believe the Astros will take this one. 

Simone:  Astros, Yankees

Full disclosure for anyone who doesn’t know this already, I am the biggest Houston fan in all of New York. And I simply do not see the Astros losing to Oakland. The aforementioned Verlander, Cole and Greinke will dominate the A’s and allow the team to be fully rested before taking on one of the most impressive teams I have seen in recent sports memory. Yankee fans should be simply in awe of what their team has been able to do, given the uncanny number of injuries the team has been forced to deal with. But the scrappy, home-run happy Twins will not make this an easy one for the Bronx Bombers. 

Pugliese: Astros, Twins

National League Division Series

Goldberg: Brewers over Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves over St. Louis Cardinals 

Brewers? Over the Dodgers? Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, I am fully aware of how the NLCS ended last year. I believe the Brewers’ powerful young core and extremely improved pitching staff will lead the Brewers to another NLCS.

The Braves have a speedy, powerful lineup, a great front four of a rotation and new assets in their bullpen that will help them secure a spot in the NLCS. The Cardinals don’t have that many reliable pieces when it comes to pitching or hitting. Unless Jack Flaherty can start every game, the Cardinals will have a limited October. 

Simone: Nationals over the Dodgers; Braves over the Cardinals

The Dodgers have an incredible young core of position players, and I do think they will win a World Series before Kershaw retires. But it won’t happen this year, not with a matchup against Patrick Corbin, Strasburg and Scherzer. As long as the Nationals’ bullpen doesn’t implode, they will advance. 

As for the other matchup, I couldn’t agree with Alison more… Jack Flaherty is a monster! (The fact that I traded him away in a fantasy league came back to haunt me in a major way.) But the Braves just have too much depth. Ronald Acuna and company will prevail. 

Pugliese: Dodgers, Braves

American League Championship Series

Goldberg: A’s over Yankees

Another underdog prediction? Yes. The A’s might’ve been shut down for seven-straight innings by the Yankees in last year’s wild card game, but the pitching situation for both teams has changed significantly. Luis Severino pitched that game after a rather dominant season. This year, Severino barely played. The Yankees’ pitching will be the death of them in the postseason and I believe this is where it comes to an end for the Bronx Bombers.

Simone: Astros over Yankees

Another year of staying up late at night sweating out games in the Bronx. Another year of wondering if the greatest franchise in sports history is going to crush my hopes. But I predict it will be another year of wearing my Verlander jersey to annoy Yankee fans. And sorry, I don’t think it will go the full seven games this time around. 

Pugliese: Astros over Twins

National League Championship Series

Goldberg: Brewers over Braves

Brewers vs. Braves would make an exciting NLCS. The Brewers and Braves both messed around with their rotations the whole year. They both added new arms to the bullpen at the deadline. The difference maker will be how they utilized these pieces. I believe the Brewers pieced together a much more stable rotation and bullpen, which will be the difference in this series. 

Simone: Nationals over Braves

These two teams, from the best division in baseball, will square off in an epic, seven-game series. I don’t think either team has a stable bullpen, so expect lots of late-night, extra-inning affairs. Anthony Rendon will clinch the Nationals’ trip to the World Series with a mammoth home run against Luke Jackson. 

Pugliese: Dodgers over the Braves

World Series

Goldberg: Brewers over A’s

The Oakland Athletics squaring up against the Milwaukee Brewers would be an EXTREMELY enjoyable Fall Classic! And I do believe the Brewers can take it all this year. With each of these teams piecing together a rotation and bullpen, the stronger of the two will be the difference. Although, there is another HUGE game-changing possibility, the return of Christian Yelich. If he’s able to resume playing, seeing him DH in Oakland will be one of the all-time greatest sports stories. 

Simone: Nationals over the Astros

Alison’s Yelich prediction would be something special. And I would certainly root for him to return. But I just think that this postseason will be about taunting Bryce Harper, the man who left the nation’s capital for a few extra millions. Two star-studded teams will play the full seven games, with Strasburg outlasting Cole in Game 7, thus earning him more money on the free agent market. It will crush me to see the Astros lose, but I have great respect for how the Nationals fought back this year.

Pugliese: Astros over Dodgers