As we head further into this year’s baseball Playoffs, let’s go back and check in on our 2018 Predictions as written in April’s MLB Preview! Then we’ll reassess and make our current MLB Playoffs Predictions for the Division Series, League Championship Series, and 2018 World Series.
In our Preview, “Dutch Lion” picked the following division champions:
American League (Predicted Record followed by the real ’18 Final Record in bold)
- New York Yankees (97-65) > (100-62)
- Cleveland Indians (100-62) > (91-71)
- Houston Astros (94-68) > (103-59)
- WILD CARDS: Boston Red Sox (96-66) > (108-54) & Los Angeles Angels (90-72) > (80-82)
- Washington Nationals (97-65) > (82-80)
- St. Louis Cardinals (91-71) > (88-74)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67) > (91-71)
- WILD CARDS: Milwaukee Brewers (91-71) > (95-67) & New York Mets (90-72) > (77-85)
So we were right about three of six division champs: Cleveland, Houston, and Los Angeles. We were right about six of ten playoff teams overall when we add in the N.Y. Yankees, Boston, and Milwaukee. We were completely wrong about the L.A. Angels, Washington, St. Louis, and N.Y. Mets. Of course, everybody was wrong about Washington. For some reason it just didn’t work for the Nats this year. I’m very happy with our prediction on St. Louis and the N.L. Central Division. The Cardinals went 88-74 after we called for them to tie for the division title with a 91-71 record. They almost made it. With their young pitching and new manager, look for them to have a big year in 2019.
Overall, not a bad prognostication. In addition, we’re proud of nailing the N.L. Central Tiebreaker game with Milwaukee involved. They beat the Cubs instead of losing to the Cardinals after finishing the regular season with identical 95-67 records.
Where did we predict future Playoff qualifiers Oakland and Colorado would end up? Not so close: Oakland (66-96) > (97-65) & Colorado (78-84) > (91-71). What?!?! We were only 31 games off with Oakland and 13 off with Colorado. No big deal.
Regarding the ALDS, we predicted Cleveland over Boston & New York over Houston. Then we had Cleveland over New York for the ALCS.
In the NLDS, we predicted Washington over Milwaukee & Los Angeles over St. Louis. Then in the NLCS we had Washington over Los Angeles.
In the World Series, we went with Washington over Cleveland for D.C.’s first World Championship since 1924.
Those predictions were in April. Now it’s October. Let’s move forward with some new crystal ball prophecies.
#1 Boston (108-54) over #4 New York (101-62) – Is this the greatest matchup ever in a league division series? 108 regular season wins vs 100 wins + 1 Wild Card victory? Why is this only a best-of-5? C’mon Commish! Can we appeal this and make it a best-of-7, or better yet, a best-of-9 game series? Most people don’t know this but the World Series was a best-of-9 in the first World Series in 1903, and then again from 1919-1921. Let’s go back in time and bring it back! PICK: Boston (*PS: Look for an upcoming article by Dutch Lion about his ideas for a completely revamped and revised baseball schedule and playoff structure! I’ve been planning this argument for a long time but I want to get it absolutely set before I release my revolutionary idea.*)
#3 Cleveland (91-71) over #2 Houston (103-59) – There’s something about Cleveland. The Indians haven’t won the World Series since 1948, which is now the longest drought in baseball since Boston and both Chicago teams ended their droughts this century (2004, 2005, and 2016). The Tribe knows all about those teams. In ’05 they finished 2nd to the White Sox in the A.L. Central after a great September. In ’16 they entered Heartbreak City against the Cubs, losing Games 6 and 7 on their home field. What’s next for Manager Terry Francona? I think Cleveland could do it. I expect a comeback against Houston. PICK: Cleveland
#1 Boston over #3 Cleveland – This is Boston’s year, at least in the American League. 108 wins??? The only problem with being THAT good is you put a target on your back, as I heard Ron Darling explain the other day during a broadcast. He knows from being a stud pitcher on the 1986 Mets who also went 108-54. You realize that record is a perfect 2-1 ratio, a .667 winning %. In baseball, that’s almost impossible. In other words, it only happens once every 20 or 30 years…..’86 Mets = World Champs, ’01 Mariners (116-46) = lost in the ALCS, ’18 Red Sox = ??? PICK: Boston
#1 Milwaukee over #5 Colorado – Milwaukee is one of the finest teams of 2018. A great hitting lineup. One of the best bullpens I can ever remember. Hader, Knebel, Barnes, Soria, Jeffress = Awesome. PICK: Milwaukee
#2 Los Angeles over #3 Atlanta – Atlanta is probably the worst team in this year’s Playoffs. L.A. is terrific. PICK: L.A.
#2 Los Angeles over #1 Milwaukee – This series would be awesome but would tear me up at my seams. I love both squads. I cheer so hard for them year-round and then to have them face each other would be gut-wrenching. These teams are both fantastic. It feels like 2018 is the Red Sox year, or the Brewers year, or the Dodgers year. Of course, last year was the Dodgers year. It really was…..yet…..it ended up being the Astros season to remember. I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these three win it all now. Last year I picked L.A. to win it all. They almost did. In fact, they barely didn’t. Losing Game 7 at home to Houston due to Yu Darvish’s pitch-tipping would make an appropriate village logo for Heartbreak City. This year, I have a gut feeling once again. I think THIS is the Dodgers year. It’s actually like a time capsule, to both last year, and to 1988, and to those great Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s. Is THIS the year? Is THIS NEXT YEAR? It’s been a 30 year drought for the Dodgers franchise. Their last World Championship was 1988. They’ve been knocking on the door this entire decade. They’ve won 6 consecutive division titles. I’m going with Los Angeles to finally break down that door they’ve been knocking on. PICK: L.A.
2018 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers over Boston Red Sox – Like last year, this year’s Series will be a tiny bit of an upset. Not that it would be a huge surprise. It’s just that, like I explained above, sometimes you get these feelings that deep down, you KNOW this is “_so and so’s_” year. With a dominant 108-54 record, most of us felt like this is and was Boston’s year. Well, it very well could be. However, you know what got me thinking? It was Yasiel Puig, of all people. When L.A. won the division tiebreaker game over Colorado, Puig was interviewed in the clubhouse and all but guaranteed a Dodgers World Championship Title. The reason it intrigued me was thinking about pressure. When the 2005 White Sox clinched the division over the Cleveland Indians late in September ’05 after a gigantic Indians comeback from 15 games down, it was a catalyst for the Sox. All the pressure was now gone. They played loose the rest of the way. They played like they had from April through August. They ended up going 11-1 in the postseason now that the pressure was off. It was simply their huge shift in thinking and feeling. I feel that same feeling all over again with this Dodgers team. I think Puig is right. They have no pressure now that they made it back to the postseason after scuffling all year to get there. Now that they made it, they are playing without pressure. Book it Vin Scully! This IS the year. Go Dodgers! I Love L.A.!!!! PICK: L.A. Dodgers