This prediction thing isn’t so hard, folks. After all, I got the Wild Card Games right, so how hard could it be predicting the rest of the postseason?

OK, OK, it’s incredibly hard. I’ve surely jinxed myself now. But hey, that won’t stop me from putting my picks out there. So below, we’ll break down the postseason schedule, and I’ll make my predictions all the way up to the World Series.

Let’s see if I can keep my “hot streak” going.


You have to feel for Cleveland. It has a number of devastating injuries to deal with and the best offense in baseball. Simply put, the Boston Red Sox and their legion of bashers would be my pick in this series even if the Indians had Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar available.

It’s hard to bet against an offense that features David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. and led the league in runs scored and batting average.

And manager John Farrell sees a lot of similarities between this unit and the one that won the World Series in 2013, per Sam Galanis of NESN:

The similarities are probably in how tight-knit group this team is when compared to 2013. Very different characters, very different personalities. A younger team, a more athletic team in the ‘16 version. But still, kind of a dynamic type of offense that I think the offense in ‘13 was as well. The common denominator between both are how they care for one another inside our clubhouse existed. That’s strong today, and I think that’s probably maybe customary to successful teams that have withstood a number of different challenges.

If Boston’s starting pitching and bullpen hold up, it’ll slug its way to the World Series.

Prediction: Red Sox


If there was a theme song for this matchup, it would certainly be Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”

Remember this?

Or this?

Yeah, there’s bad blood, all right.

And despite all of that, among the four divisional series, this is also the one I feel least confident picking. Honestly, I could see this matchup going either way between two teams that seem fairly even. The offenses are equally dangerous. The Blue Jays probably have the better overall staff, though the Rangers have Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish atop the table.

Ultimately, my gut pick is that the Rangers will win the rematch, in five, with home-field advantage on their side. But honestly, I won’t be shocked if the Blue Jays win the series.

I will be shocked if tempers don’t boil over at some point, however.

Prediction: Rangers


In a series that very likely could go all five games, the pitching matchup between Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer will be key. Both pitchers have had shaky postseasons in the past, but the pitcher who can rise to the occasion will likely take his team to the NLCS.

If Scherzer struggles, the Nationals won’t have Stephen Strasburg available to right the ship. That’s a huge loss for Washington. 

Injuries, in general, may end Washington’s season. Stephanie Apstein of breaks down the team’s woes in that department:

All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is out until 2017 with last week’s tear of his right ACL, an injury he also incurred in 2012. Bryce Harper, last year’s NL MVP, is expected to play, but he has hit just .243 (87 points worse than in ’15), gotten on base at a .373 clip (also 87 points worse) and slugged .441 (108 points worse) while struggling through a right shoulder injury. And ’15 playoff hero Daniel Murphy, who hit .529 and slugged 1.294 with four home runs in the Mets’ four-game NLCS sweep of the Cubs, strained his left glute on Sept. 18 and hasn’t started a game since.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, are healthy, balanced and certainly no strangers to this stage. It’s tough to bet against them here.

Prediction: Dodgers 


You can’t write a better script than this. The San Francisco Giants have won the World Series three times in the past six years (2010, 2012, 2014). The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, haven’t won the World Series since 1908.

If ever there was a team you’d expect to break the hearts of the Cubbies after their amazing regular season, it’s the Giants.

But the Cubs are baseball’s most well-rounded team. They won the season series, 4-3, and they won’t have to face Madison Bumgarner until Game 3, meaning they’ll only see him once in the series. Of course, if they drop the first two games at home, that means they’ll all but be eliminated, given Bumgarner‘s dominance.

At this point, it’s hard to argue that Bumgarner is anything less than the greatest postseason pitcher of all time. Bob Nightengale of USA Today made a pretty strong case:

  • He has now gone 23 consecutive innings in the postseason without giving up a run.
  • He is yielding a 0.79 ERA in his last nine postseason appearances, including three complete games since 2014.
  • In his last eight postseason road games, he is 8-0 with a 0.50 ERA, and has yet to give up a hit with a runner in scoring position in 24 at-bats.
  • He has three career postseason shutouts, one shy of the record set by Giants Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson a century ago.
  • He has made six postseason starts without permitting a run, tying Hall of Famer Tom Glavine for the highest total in baseball history.
  • And, he has the lowest ERA, 1.94, of any starter with at least 12 postseason starts.

But, again, the Cubs only have to face him once, in all probability. That’s good news for Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and one of the game’s best offenses. Add in a solid rotation, a shutdown closer in Aroldis Chapman and manager Joe Maddon’s genius, and this feels like a Cubs team capable of beating the mighty Giants.

And perhaps capable of beating a curse, too.

Prediction: Cubs


I think the Red Sox are the best team in the American League, and I think their offense is better than any other team’s strength. I’m sticking with Ortiz and the Sox here.

Prediction: Red Sox 


I think the Giants will be the biggest test for the Cubs. I think beating Bumgarner and company will alleviate some pressure and give baseball’s best roster more confidence in the face of stifling pressure. Plus, I simply think the Cubs have less question marks than the Dodgers.

Prediction: Cubs


The curse ends this year. In seven games, in a World Series that will go down as one of the best matchups in baseball history, but when the smoke clears, Chicago will be celebrating.

Prediction: Cubs 


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