Brewers in 4
The Colorado Rockies had a hard road to the Division Series, as they had to play three games in three days, in three time zones, culminating with a 2-1 win over the Cubs in the Wild Card Game. The Rockies pitching is stretched incredibly thin as they begin the NLDS in Miller Park against the surging Milwaukee Brewers. No team played better down the stretch, as Milwaukee needed to win their last eight games including going into St. Louis and sweeping the Cardinals just to have a chance to tie up the Cubs in the final weekend. Add in an impressive tiebreaker win in Wrigley Field and you can see the Brewers are poised for a long run.
The Brewers had success against Colorado in the regular season, winning five of seven games. Both teams have solid bullpens, though the Brewers pen is deeper, with Corey Knebel, Jeremy Jeffers and Josh Harder each recording double-digit saves. Wade Davis led the National League with 43 saves, but can at times get in trouble, with an ERA over 4.00.
The Rockies have more weapons in the middle of the lineup, but the Brewers lineup is deeper and more versatile with Christian Yelich playing at a higher level over the last six weeks to take the MVP in the National League. The Brewers have more value off the bench, thanks to the acquisition of Curtis Granderson who is used to playing in high-level games in October.
The Rockies most reliable pitcher, Kyle Freeland was used against the Cubs, giving Milwaukee another big edge in starting pitching. Unless the Rockies get some big blows from Noland Arenado and Trevor Story, the Brewers have a big advantage up and down the spectrum. Look for Milwaukee to win the battle of the Beer named ballparks in four games.
Dodgers in 3
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been here before, coming one win away from winning the World Series in 2017. At times this year, the Dodgers were sleepwalking as they never truly found their groove until late in the season. The Atlanta Braves are a young and hungry team, that is in the playoff well ahead of schedule. Though with a team of postseason neophytes going against a veteran Dodgers team with six straight Western Division Championships its hard to see the Braves standing much of a chance of actually winning the series.
After dealing with heart issues, Kenley Jansen looks healthy and ready to assume the role as the Dodgers reliable stopper in the ninth inning. The Braves weakness is their bullpen, as they searched all season to find someone who could reliably close wins in the ninth inning.
While Clayton Kershaw has had his troubles in the postseason, he still is better than anybody in the Atlanta rotation. Add in the strong September from Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler and the Dodgers pitching looks stacked, with Mike Foltynewicz as the Braves only truly reliable starter.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte, and Ozzie Albies can create havoc on the bases for the Braves, and Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis are both tremendous clutch hitters. However, the Dodgers have a red-hot Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner a postseason hitting machine to drive the bus for their lineup. That’s leaving on Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Manny Machado and Comeback Player of the Year Matt Kemp, all of whom are able to hit a big home run any time.
The Dodgers beat the Braves five of seven meetings in the regular season, and hold too big of advantage up and down for this to be anything but a sweep.