The Washington Nationals took down the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card game and the Tampa Bay Rays disposed of the Oakland A’s. Moving to the divisional round, there are four great matchups in store. Which teams will advance to the league championship series?
St. Louis Cardinals versus Atlanta Braves
The Cardinals finished 91-71 on the season, going 41-40 on the road and 50-31 at home. The NL East champion Braves won 97 games, going 47-34 on the road. They enter the series “dead” having lost five of their last six compared to “ice cold up” for the Cardinals. Atlanta has a +19 to +17 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator and has shown more stability, according to the Team Volatility Oscillator. Two of the top pitching teams in the league face-off, the Cardinals were second in the NL with a 3.82 ERA and the Braves were fourth at 4.18. Atlanta has the edge offensively, averaging 5.3 runs per game compared to 4.8 for the Cardinals. The season series went to the Braves, winning four of six. The outcome is likely to be similar in this playoff series. Go with the Braves to prevail in six or seven games.
Washington Nationals versus Los Angeles Dodgers
This could be the matchup of the divisional round. Both teams are “burning hot” coming into play, having each won their last six regular-season games. Washington was 43-38 on the road and 50-31 on the road during the regular season, while the Dodgers won 59 at home and 47 on the road during their 106-win season. Los Angeles has a +29 to +27 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator and both teams are stable at +52 and +35 on the Team Volatility Oscillator. If considering the over/under, the Totals Predictor shows a clear sign to bet the over. On the mound, the Dodgers were the best in the NL with a 3.39 ERA. The Nationals were 8th in the NL with 4.27 ERA. Both teams were among the best offensively, each averaging 5.4 runs per game. The Dodgers took the series during the season, four games to three. It’s difficult to pick against Los Angeles given they have home-field advantage. It won’t be an easy series since the Nationals are on a roll, but the Dodgers will prevail in a game seven to advance to the NLCS.
Minnesota Twins versus New York Yankees
In a series of two 100-plus win teams, the New York Yankees won 57 at home and 46 on the road, while the Twins won 55 at home and 46 on the road. The Twins are “burning hot down” on the Team Strength Oscillator after winning five of their last six games. The Yankees are “ice cold down” after dropping four of their last six. Minnesota has a +28 to +25 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator, while both teams are extremely stable according to the Team Volatility Oscillator. The Yankees are sixth in the AL in team ERA at 4.31, while the Twins are fifth at 4.18. Both teams are scoring nearly six runs per game. Extremely evenly matched, the Yankees won the season series by a narrow four to three margin. In a slight upset, the nod goes to the Twins to win, taking a game seven in New York.
Tampa Bay Rays versus Houston Astros
The Rays did a good job to advance past the A’s, but now take on the top team in baseball. The Astros won 60 at home and 47 on the road this season. They were second in the AL during the regular season with a 3.66 ERA and averaged 5.7 runs per game. The Rays just edged the Astros with a 3.65 ERA and were ninth in scoring at 4.7 runs per game. Houston enters “burning hot” having won five of their last six and the Rays are “average up”, winning four of their last six. Houston has a +27 to +24 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator and is an extremely stable team, meaning they are consistently performing according to their favorite/underdog status. The Rays won four of the six meetings during the regular season. However, this is the playoffs and the Astros have home-field advantage and playoff experience. Houston will win this series in five or six games.