2016 Postseason Rundown
The MLB playoffs have been underway for nearly two weeks, and we are one game away from knowing the top two teams in each league. The postseason has already been filled with exciting finishes and the most important games have not even started yet. While nobody knows the team competing against the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, it is still possible to make predictions for the rest of the MLB postseason.
The American League Championship Series matchup has been set for quite some time after the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians were able to sweep their opponents in the Division Series. It is safe to say that this is not the ALCS matchup that most people were expecting before the playoffs began. The Cleveland Indians looked poised to make a run to the World Series before injuries knocked out starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco. The Blue Jays have one of the most feared lineups in baseball, but they struggled to score runs during the final two months of the regular season.
The offense of the Blue Jays has come alive in the playoffs, so they have to be considered the favorites. They may be known for their power hitters, but the Blue Jays actually had a better pitching staff than the Indians this season. The offensive and pitching depth is going to be too much for the Indians to handle with a depleted rotation. Blue Jays win a tight series in six or seven games.
The Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers still have one more game left to play in the NLDS, but both teams will be a big underdog to the Chicago Cubs. Neither team has an offense or pitching staff that can match the Cubs. Despite having a struggling offense throughout the entire NLDS, the Cubs are still the third highest scoring team in the playoffs. If the Cubs can score a lot of runs and beat a solid team while only hitting .200, then they are going to be very tough to beat when the offense starts performing. The Washington Nationals pose a bigger threat to the Cubs in the NLCS than the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite the presence of young star Corey Seager, but neither team seems capable of winning more than two games in the NLCS.
A World Series pitting the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs should be extremely exciting. The power hitters of the Blue Jays against the great starting pitching of the Cubs makes for an interesting matchup between two great teams. The Cubs are the only team in the National League that can put up a better lineup than the Blue Jays, so they are not going to have a problem playing on the road with the designated hitter. National League teams have always struggled to find a solid hitter to put in the DH spot during the World Series, but it may actually be a strength for the Cubs thanks to their deep roster. They may have the pressure of entire city on their back, but the Chicago Cubs are too talented to have another postseason letdown.