Two games are in the books in both the American and National League Division Series.

The Cleveland Indians own a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL, while the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are tied 1-1 in the NL following Los Angeles’ 1-0 win Sunday night in Chicago.

So far, the two series have largely played out as expected, and it’s doubtful either the ALCS or NLCS will wrap up in short order.

Below are brief overviews for both matchups and predictions for how they’ll play out after two games.


Playoff Schedule


ALCS Prediction

Having registered three hits in 21 postseason at-bats, Jose Bautista could’ve used his day off for some personal reflection—maybe figure out why he’s struggling so much.

Instead, the six-time All-Star has become an ALCS truther, according to Vice Sports’ Mike Vorkunov:

Finally, somebody is willing to speak out about MLB favoring the league’s biggest marketslike Cleveland.

It’s easy to see why Bautista and his teammates might be frustrated. The Blue Jays have scored one run and struck out 25 times through the first two games of the ALCS. Toronto couldn’t even touch Josh Tomlin, who finished with a 4.88 FIP during the regular season, according to

The biggest concern for the Blue Jays is how they navigate around the Indians bullpen.

In 2014 and 2015, the Kansas City Royals were a prime example of how far dominant late-inning relievers can take a team in the playoffs. In 35 innings, the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar gave up one earned run in last year’s postseason.

Winning a critical playoff game is much tougher when you have only six or seven innings to actually take the lead. It’s simply not fair to go from Corey Kluber to Andrew Miller, as the Indians did in Game 1. Josh Tomlin then did enough in Game 2 to hand things over to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead.

Like the Royals did so effectively, Cleveland is forcing Toronto to inflict all of its damage early in the game, when the starting pitchers are going through the lineup for their first and second times.

The Blue Jays have too much offensive firepower to envision this series ending in four or five games. And for as good as Cleveland’s pitching has been so far, rolling with Tomlin and Mike Clevinger in a playoff rotation isn’t ideal. Trevor Bauer is a wild card as well.

The ALCS will be close, but Miller, Cody Allen and Dan Otero swing it in favor of Cleveland.

Prediction: Indians in six


NLCS Prediction

Can the Dodgers start Clayton Kershaw in every game?

The three-time Cy Young Award winner was excellent in Game 2 on Sunday night, going seven scoreless innings and allowing two hits. As The Ringer’s Rany Jazayerli argued, the Dodgers are capable of winning on any given night when they can rely on their two best pitchers:

The trouble for Los Angeles is that Kershaw is a finite resource. He probably only has one more start for the rest of the series.

Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias fill out the starting rotation. Hill can be great at times, but his Game 2 start in the National League Division Series is evidence of how quickly he can unravel. Maeda and Urias are rookies—the latter of whom is 20 years old.

The Cubs offense isn’t going to be as quiet as it was Monday night over the rest of the series. In addition, the narrative of Game 2 would have been vastly different if the wind hadn’t knocked down Javier Baez’s deep fly to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning.

On a different night, that ball would have cleared the fence, and Chicago would have taken a 2-0 lead. Statcast showed that the odds were in favor of Baez homering in a similar situation:

Having the stronger team isn’t always a guarantee of advancement in the playoffs—see the 2016 Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series. The Dodgers have an opportunity to close out the series at home over the next three games.

And Anthony Rizzo is leaving a major hole in the middle of Chicago’s lineup. After Sunday night, he’s batting .043 in six postseason games.

Still, Chicago has a dangerous offense from top to bottom and a deeper rotation, the latter of which is vital in a seven-game series.

Prediction: Cubs in seven

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