MLB postseason predictions: Sporting News experts make picks for pennant, World Series

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There’s nothing fairly like postseason baseball, and this yr it is again to regular.

After the COVID pandemic led to an expanded playoff subject and centralized bubbles final season, issues will really feel extra conversant in groups are again in their very own ballparks — and, extra importantly, in entrance of their very own followers — as they vie to be the one hoisting the commissioner’s trophy when the World Series ends. But how will all of it play out? That what we’ll talk about right here.

MORE: 2021 MLB playoff bracket: Full schedule, TV channels

As all the time, we provide an ordinary caveat: Trying to foretell something in baseball is a foolish endeavor, nevertheless it’s very true within the postseason. There’s all the time a crapshoot nature to October hardball, and that is certain to play out once more in some kind this season. Having stated that, we’re gonna make daring predictions anyway, as a result of why not. Here are Sporting News’ predictions for the 2021 MLB postseason.

2021 MLB postseason predictions

Ryan Fagan, lead MLB author

ALCS: Rays over Astros
NLCS: Giants over Brewers
World Series: Rays over Giants
Breakout star: Wander Franco, Rays


— I wish to imagine within the White Sox. I actually, actually do. When they’re taking part in nicely, they’re a lot enjoyable to look at. I might not be shocked in the event that they marched all the best way to the World Series title. So a lot character on that workforce and so many gamers who’re straightforward to root for. It could be an important factor for MLB if these gamers — Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito, Jose Abreu, Eloy Jimenez, Lance Lynn and firm — received the championship. I actually hope I’m unsuitable. But I am unable to decide them. I do not belief the bullpen, and I do not belief the starters aside from Lynn (particularly if Carlos Rodon is out). I do not like that they went simply 13-19 towards the opposite groups within the playoff subject, together with a 2-5 mark towards the Astros, their ALDS opponent. And I actually don’t love the truth that they completed twenty sixth within the bigs in Defensive Runs Saved, at minus-39 (the Astros, by the best way, had been third at plus-77). Can’t give away outs in October and beat baseball’s greatest groups.

— I do not know what to do with the Giants/Dodgers/Cardinals part of the NL bracket. In doing these predictions, I had every of these groups within the NLCS in numerous variations. I imply, the Giants received 107 video games within the least-flukey method attainable. They’re a wonderful, relentless workforce that passes across the hero cape in addition to any workforce I’ve ever seen. The Dodgers are probably with out Max Muncy or Clayton Kershaw not less than for two rounds, and that is tough. There’s nonetheless a ton of expertise on that roster. Having to make use of Walker Buehler within the closing sport of the common season makes the one-game wild-card contest a bit scarier. The Cardinals have been taking part in higher than simply about everybody in September — 11 of their wins through the 17-game profitable streak had been on the highway — as soon as they slotted Tyler O’Neill into the lineup between Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, and now they add Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson to their postseason pitching workers. That may very well be large. I do assume if St. Louis survives the Giants/Dodgers combo, which completely might occur, the Cardinals will high the Brewers or Braves within the NLCS.

— It shall be attention-grabbing to see how groups — particularly on the NL facet — regulate for latest accidents to key gamers. The Giants are with out Brandon Belt, who led the membership with 29 homers however is sidelined with a fractured thumb. If any group has proven the flexibility to seamlessly regulate for accidents, although, it is this San Francisco workforce. The Dodgers received 106 video games within the common season, however we already talked about Muncy and Kershaw, two stalwarts who went down within the final week. The Brewers had been constructed on pitching — three stud starters atop the rotation and two lights-out relievers behind the bullpen. Well, now setup man Devin Williams is out after breaking his hand with a wall punch after Milwaukee’s division celebration.

MORE: 14 postseason oddities you might not know about

Jason Foster, senior MLB editor

ALCS: Rays over White Sox
NLCS: Dodgers over Braves
World Series: Dodgers over Rays
Breakout star: Wander Franco, Rays


— Though I haven’t got the Yankees or the Red Sox advancing previous the ALDS, I do ponder whether their wild-card matchup shall be worthy of the rivalry or whether or not it’s going to be a four-hour slog that does not actually entertain anybody exterior these fan bases. The baseball fan in me needs an exciting back-and-forth affair, however the realist is anticipating one thing in between a basic and the aforementioned slog. In any case, it is all the time attainable the winner might keep sizzling, shock everybody and damage these predictions. But I would not wager on it.

— It’s not mirrored in my picks, however I’m curious how a lot Cardinal Devil Magic we’ll see this postseason. It’s attainable we cannot see any and the Cardinals will fall to the Dodgers within the wild-card sport. But if St. Louis wins the wild-card sport, the NL postseason might turn out to be downright Satanic. Sorry, I do not make the foundations. But significantly, the Cardinals do appear to discover a new gear as soon as the postseason arrives, irrespective of their regular-season document. Although, their latest 17-game profitable streak might imply they discovered that new gear just a little too early.

— The Braves received simply 88 video games this season in a really weak NL East, however the workforce that completed the season is just not the identical workforce that performed so mediocre within the first half. Trade-deadline acquisitions Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario have reworked the Atlanta outfield and considerably lengthened the lineup within the absence of injured Ronald Acuña Jr. Not to say that starters Charlie Morton and Max Fried are loads able to giving even one of the best lineup suits. The level is, it should not shock anybody if Atlanta makes a deep run. Don’t let the document idiot you.

— Despite all the things I’ve simply stated, look for a repeat of final yr’s Fall Classic. Dodgers over Rays, regardless of the absence of Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw. But not less than Blake Snell cannot be eliminated too early this time.

MORE: Every MLB team’s worst postseason memory, revisited

Edward Sutelan, content material producer

ALCS: Rays over White Sox
NLCS: Brewers over Dodgers
World Series: Rays over Brewers
Breakout star: Wander Franco, Rays


— The Dodgers have been probably the most gifted workforce in baseball for the previous a number of years, but they’ve only one title to indicate for it. They’re one of the best workforce within the sport but once more, however the Brewers look constructed for the postseason. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta give Milwaukee a one-two-three punch to counter the Dodgers deep rotation of Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, whereas Josh Hader and Brad Boxberger shall be weapons within the postseason, even with out Devin Williams. Christian Yelich may very well be a sleeping big primed to get up and bolster a deep lineup within the playoffs. 

— For the second yr in a row, the Rays will attain the World Series representing the American League. Tampa Bay has an absurd quantity of pitching depth regardless of missing a real ace and the lineup has maybe the 2 AL Rookie of the Year front-runners in Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco. The White Sox have loads of star energy, however the Rays’ unconventional type of play makes them a very difficult workforce to arrange for, and Tony LaRussa is a really old-school supervisor. 

— The two postseason groups with the bottom payrolls make it to the World Series right here, in what will surely be a low-scoring Fall Classic. The Rays have the bullpen depth to hold with a workforce just like the Brewers, and their lineup benefit over Milwaukee ought to assist make up the distinction within the rotation. That elusive title lastly is introduced south to Tampa Bay.

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