Last night the Boston Red Sox, behind the bat of Brock Holt, beat up on the New York Yankees. It was an impressive win and history was made with Holt hitting for the cycle, but why is no one talking about the Houston Astros sweeping the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
Houston is the defending World Series Champions, they won 103 games in 2018 and beat Cleveland like they were playing a minor league team in spring training. Yet if you watched the news this morning you may not even realize they played. New York, Los Angeles and Boston are big TV markets, but let’s not loose sight of what the Astros are doing on their way to defending their 2017 Championship.
With all-stars like George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Gerrit Cole the Astros have to be feared and respected. Let’s stop paying attention to a non-deciding game between the Yankees and Red Sox and start talking about the sweep that took place last night.
According to @OddsShark the Dodgers and Brewers are +350 to win the World Series, just behind the Astros at +260, but let’s be honest is anyone picking the Brewers to beat LA?
Let me be clear I am not a Dodgers fan, but clearly they are the horse to bet on in the NLCS. Los Angeles finished 2018 with an National League leading 3.38 team ERA lead by not Clayton Kershaw (2.73 ERA), but by Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.97 ERA over 82.1 IP). Oh and that guy Kershaw, may be the best pitcher we have ever seen, wasn’t even the team leader in wins. That honor falls to Rich Hill. Why then am I bringing up Kershaw in all this, because that just shows the depth of the Dodgers starting rotation. They will have to face the likes of Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley, Chase Anderson and a few other castoffs from other teams. Hands down the Dodgers have the better starting staff.
While the Brewers have the clear favorite for the NL MVP in Christian Yelich and a solid center fielder, though over-hyped coming out of Kansas City, in Lorenzo Cain I dare you to name the other seven starters. Go ahead, I can wait while you try. Times up. Milwaukee was second in the NL in home runs, behind the Dodgers. They finished seventh in average, LA was eighth, and sixth in OBP while their counterpart was third. Los Angeles is lead on offense by guys like Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig and Kemp, household names for fans of the MLB. Clearly the advantage in hitting swing to the Dodgers.
With all that being said the one category that the Brewers may dominate in over the Dodgers is heart. No statistic can measure heart, but you can see it on the field and for sure the Brewers have it. Unfortunately pitching, hitting and skill usually beat out heart in professional sports and the NLCS will be no different.
Before the 2018 season the Atlanta Braves were likely not on your list to make it to the MLB post-season. In 2017 the Braves had finished in the middle of their division with only 72 wins and 90 losses, clearly not impressive. Many pundits (guys who pretend they can predict the future, maybe I fit in that category as well) would have told you the 2018 Braves would be lucky to get to a .500. Buy were we, they, us wrong.
Ending the season with a 90-72 record the 2018 Atlanta Braves flipped they 2017 record and proved just how wrong we all could be about a team. With 90 wins they finished eight wins ahead of the Washington Nationals who were picked to win that division. It was a special season for this young team lead by old faithful Freddie Freeman.
Freddie Freeman was rejuvenated in 2018 having one of the best seasons of his career. He set career highs in hits and doubles, while playing 162 games. Freeman played in the most games since 2014 when he also played in 162.
Freeman wasn’t the only standout for the Braves as Mike Foltynewicz seemed to finally live up to his potential in his fifth year as a major league player. Foltynewicz was rewarded for his success by being named to his first all-star team. All of this while surpassing former phenom Julio Teheran as the ace of the the Braves’ staff.
Yes Freeman and Foltynewicz stood out and are names you probably knew already , but the main reason Braves nation should be excited about the future lies in the young bucks. I’m talking about Ozzie Albies (age 21), Dansby Swanson (age 24), Ronald Acuna (age 20) who lead the team in home runs and Sean Newcomb (age 25) who had 12 wins this season. These are the names of the future for the Atlanta Braves
So yes Braves fans you were eliminated from the playoffs tonight by Manny Machado and the Dodgers, but hold your head high and know that next year could be your year. Your future is bright and filled with rising stars.