So Much for that "Best Team Ever" Narrative + Early Postseason MLB Predictions
Over their last 10 games, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 1-9. The team’s recent skid included two sweeps by the Arizona Diamondbacks, which I think is more significant than people realize. The most significant part of this skid is that the team has gone from being inexplicably scorching hot, to inexplicably ice cold. The teams that succeed in the postseason are often the teams that roll into October with the most momentum. Any momentum that the team had going into the postseason has run out. So far this month, the team is hitting a combined .204 with a .259 OBP. The team’s pitching, which had been remarkably good all season, have seen their combined ERA jump from 3.60 during August, to 5.14 so far in September.
During the postseason, the one aspect of a team that matters more than anything else, is pitching. We have seen this nearly every postseason since 2010, and the team with the best pitching, wins the most games and subsequently, the World Series. The problem with the Dodgers is that until September, they had excellent pitching all around, but now they have 6 pitchers with an ERA above 13.00 during this month. The Dodgers tend to have excellent pitching from year to year, and they are led by their undisputed ace, Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw has led the MLB in ERA four times, strikeouts three times, and also has three Cy Young Awards as well as an MVP. The problem with Kershaw is that, for how good he is during the regular season, once the postseason rolls around, his numbers become incredibly pedestrian. His career ERA during the regular season is 2.34, but during the playoffs, it jumps to 4.55, and many of those runs are allowed during or after the sixth inning, which gives his team less time to score more runs to attempt to retake a lead.
The team's’ postseason struggles are well documented at this point. Ever since 2011, the front office has traded for top level talent and hoped that this would lead them to an elusive World Series title. Unfortunately for them, this has not been successful, because not only does the team have no World Series rings since 1988, they have not even made it back to the fall classic since that same year. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for Dodgers fans (actually that's not true, I can’t stand the Dodgers and I would be thrilled if they never win a game again), but they are not going to win the World Series this year. The team lost all the momentum it had going into the postseason this month, and it looks more and more like it will be another classic October collapse for the Dodgers.
I predict that the Dodgers will still win the division, but they will end up losing to the Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs, assuming that Arizona can win the Wild-Card game. The Dodgers’ front office has found a formula that is very effective in the regular season, but come October, they are helpless.
I think that the Diamondbacks are the hottest team in baseball right now, as they are riding a 13-game winning streak that included sweeping the first place Dodgers twice, and I think that if they can win the Wild-Card game, they will have the best shot at making it to the World Series of any National League team. Now, if the Giants are not in the playoffs, I would prefer for an American League team to win the championship, and I think that it will happen this year. The Indians are rolling right now, as they are also riding a 13-game winning streak, the Red Sox appear like they will end up winning the AL East, and the Astros just acquired Justin Verlander. I think that the team most likely to make it out of the American League is the Houston Astros, and I think that they will beat the Diamondbacks in the World Series in six games.
You heard it here first, the Houston Astros will win 2017 World Series over the Arizona Diamondbacks in six games.