Favorites To Win The World Series in 2019
With the beginning of the divisional series, the tension and emotion that characterizes the postseason have also arrived… well, at least in the National League. While in the Old Circuit both series have been pushed to a fifth and final match, in the American League the New York Yankees have already advanced to the Championship Series, and there have been few climactic moments.
So let’s review what the Houston Astros Achilles heel might be, the strength of the Yankees and the aspects that will help define both series in the National League.
Houston, We Have a problem
After the first three Divisional Series games against the Tampa Bay Rays, everything went according to plan for the Astros. With a mix of dominant pitching and timely batting, they seemed to be heading for an easy series win over the Rays. In Game 3, that changed. Zack Greinke, acquired at the transfer limit to become the third arm of the rotation, simply didn’t find his best form, allowing 6 clean runs on 5 hits, including 3 home runs, in 3.2 innings.
For Houston’s bet to work this season, they need Greinke to be a solid third starter. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are two of the best pitchers in the major leagues, but behind them, there is little depth. In case the former Dodger doesn’t work, the load will increase for the two aces. Only Jose Urquidy and Wade Miley remain as openers on the pitcher staff. Miley saw action on Monday, so A.J. Hinch will give the ball back to Verlander.
Beyond the series against Tampa Bay, which can still be complicated – and a lot of it – the Astros must be worried about what this would mean in a potential clash against the powerful lineup of the New York Yankees. If Verlander and Cole are forced to carry the weight of the pitch in the face of such a dangerous offensive, Houston’s chances in another World Series are dramatically reduced.
It was the Yankees who sealed their passage to the Championship Series without any major problems. With an intense attack, the New Yorkers totaled 23 runs in their three duels with the Minnesota Twins, whom they have now beaten in 13 consecutive playoff games.
Once again, New York batting has been the order of the day. With a lineup that includes Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and company, the Manhattan Mules simply found no match. The pitcher also responded at key moments, leaving the Twins with full bases on two occasions in the decisive game. Houston and Tampa hardly missed those situations, but confidence in the Big Apple must be at its highest.
Strasburg vs. Buehler
Nationals and Dodgers will send their best arms to the mound in Game 5 of the Divisional Series. For the Nats, Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 1.50 PCL) will climb the hill for the second time in the series. On his first chance, the right-hander allowed 3 hits and a single run in six episodes of work.
Walker Buehler (1-0, 0.00 PCL), for his part, threw a single hit ball in six innings, tying completely to Washington’s offensive. This Game 5 has all the elements to be a classic. The Nationals exorcised some demons in the Wild Card Game when they overcame a two-run deficit in the eighth to beat the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Dodgers have better batting, but their bullpen has raised doubts about this series, and that could be crucial if both openers hang up a few zeros. The X factor will be Victor Robles, who didn’t play on Monday because of a hamstring problem, but it’s dangerous. Cody Bellinger will also be looking for grief, as he did throughout the regular season.
One More Battle In Atlanta
The series between Atlanta Braves and Saint Louis Cardinals have been pure emotion, and we can expect more of the same in the ultimate game. Neither of the two encounters has been defined by more than three runs of difference, and in three of the four games so far, there has been a comeback and somersault in the last two innings.
The Braves have had a good series of Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies and above all, Dansby Swanson, but might regret the opportunities they missed in both mishaps. The Cardinals, for their part, have the advantage in the line of experience. Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and Kolten Wong, among others, have already won the World Series.
The pitcher’s duel, in theory, the Cardinals also have the advantage with Jack Flaherty (0-1, 3.86 PCL), however, the Braves turned it with 8 hits and 3 runs in 7 innings of work. Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 0.00 PCL) will seek to repeat his performance of Game 2 when he allowed only three unstoppable in seven games.
|New York Yankees||+240|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+500|
|Saint Louis Cardinals||+1100|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+4000|
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