The MLB season is down to the final four teams, battling for an appearance in this season’s World Series. The Yankees and Astros face off in the ALCS and the Nationals and the Cardinals battle in the NLCS.
Washington Nationals versus St. Louis Cardinals
The Nationals are perhaps the hottest team in baseball, coming from nowhere after the first couple of months to storm into the post-season. After taking down the Brewers in the Wild Card game and Dodgers in the Divisional Round, they took game one in the NLCS. They are “burning hot” and +25 on the Power Ranking Indicator. The Cardinals are coming off a series win over the Braves and are +27 and “average down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Washington has been the more stable team according to the Team Volatility Oscillator at +35 compared to +5 for the Cardinals. If picking the over/under, go with the “over” as both teams have been playing in games trending in that direction.
During the regular season, the teams had nearly identical home records and road records. Head-to-head the Cardinals won five of eight, but the Nationals took three of the last four. Max Scherzer is set to pitch game two versus Adam Wainwright and our site gives the Nationals a 65 percent chance of going up 2-0 in the series. The Cardinals are averaging 4.3 runs per game in the playoffs with an ERA of 2.30 while the Nationals are averaging 3.9 runs and an ERA of 3.43.
Washington is likely to go up 2-0 and if they do, will be difficult for the Cardinals to win the series. The pick is the Nationals to keep the magic going and win in six or seven to advance to the World Series.
New York Yankees versus Houston Astros
The Yankees come in with a somewhat surprising sweep over the Twins in the Divisional Round, while the Astros needed five games to dispose of the Rays. The Yankees are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator versus “average up” for the Astros and both teams are at +28 on the Power Ranking Indicator. You might want to pick the “under” in games in this series with the Astros trending farther under the line than the Yankees have been over the line. Both teams have been extremely stable with the Astros are +57 on the Team Volatility Oscillator to the Yankees +45. This means the teams are extremely consistent according to the favorite/underdog status.
Head-to-head this season the Astros took four of the seven games. During the playoffs the Yankees are averaging 7.7 runs per game with a team ERA of 2.33. The Astros averaged 3.8 runs and had an ERA of 3.56 against the Rays.
Houston has been extremely tough at home, going 60-21 in the regular season and the Yankees have been excellent as well, going 57-34. James Paxton is scheduled to pitch the first game for the Yankees and Justin Verlander will go for the Astros. The key to this series will likely be home field advantage. Both teams should be favorites at home. Look for Houston to find a way to win a game or two on the road and hold home field. This could be a seven game series with the Astros advancing.