Baseball, Columnists, Sports

On-Deck Circle: The 2023 postseason is finally here

The MLB 2023 regular season came to an end on Sunday. Now that the field has whittled down to 12 teams, it is finally the most exciting time of the baseball season.

Chloe Patel | Senior Graphic Artist

The postseason opened up on Tuesday with four Wild Card Series. Here are my 2023 MLB Postseason Predictions, made before the Wild Card Series began. 

Wild Card:

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers: Rays in 3 

This would be a completely different series if the Rangers had active pitchers Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom. Their absence will give the Rays a much easier time. The Rays have also been very good at home, and it is tough for any away WC team to win two out of three games on the road. I think the Rangers get one game, but the Rays will pull it out at home in Game 3. 

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Minnesota Twins: Blue Jays in 3 

Kevin Gausman and José Berríos are a formidable one-two starting-pitcher punch for the Twins to face in a three-game series, but the Twins’ home-field advantage might be enough to help them sneak into the Divisional Series. This will be the best WC Series as two high-powered pitching staffs compete. If the Blue Jays’ offense finally wakes up after a disappointing season, they win in two games. Instead, I think they win in three, but the Twins finally break their 18-game playoff losing streak

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Brewers in 2

The Brewers’ pitching staff will be too much for a young, inexperienced D-Backs team. Corbin Burnes followed by Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff make an unreal three-game playoff series starting rotation. Despite Woodruff’s health concerns, I’d be surprised if the series even makes it to a third game. 

Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies in 2

This is the only series not decided by pitching staff or lack thereof. The Phillies are a more experienced team who look to be on a similar path to last year’s World Series ride. The Marlins don’t seem ready for the big stage, and Philly’s lineup is much better than their NL East rival.  

Divisional Series: 

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles: Orioles in 5

This might be the best series of the entire postseason with two juggernauts going at it for five games. Camden Yards will be rocking, giving the Orioles a huge home-field advantage in the pivotal Game 5. The O’s are the hottest team in baseball right now coming off a huge division win in a tough AL East. The Rays give the Orioles a sense of familiarity, which will help them get over any inexperience. 

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Houston Astros: Astros in 4

While the Astros aren’t their 2022 selves, I think they cruise to the ALCS for a marquee matchup with the Orioles. The Astros will be rested against a Toronto team fresh off a tough series against the Twins. The Astros have the pieces they need to make another World Series run, and they move on to the ALCS without much of an issue. 

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Dodgers in 4

I think the Dodgers are too much to handle for the Brewers. I could see the Dodgers sweeping, but I think Milwaukee’s pitching staff is enough to keep them afloat through four games. If the Brewers can get the series to five, I think Burnes is not who the Dodgers want to see in a Game 5, but I don’t think LA will let this series get out of hand. 

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves: Braves in 5

If anyone is beating the red-hot Braves, I think it would be their division rival, the even-hotter Phillies. But this Braves team has been outstanding this season, and I don’t see anyone slowing them down. While the Phillies upset Atlanta last postseason, it won’t happen again. The Braves sneak into the NLCS with a healthy Ronald Acuña Jr. 

Championship Series

Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles: Astros in 6

I don’t want to, but I have to go with the experience in this matchup. With Yordan Alvarez hot as ever at the plate and Michael Brantley back, I think the Astros take down the Orioles. The excitement around Camden Yards might help the O’s win a couple of games, but I don’t see the Astros letting this series go seven games. 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves: Braves in 7

This series is even more evenly matched than the AL, but I don’t think any team can equal the firepower of the Braves. NL MVP-favorite Acuña and red-hot Matt Olson are the two best hitters in baseball right now, and I don’t see a point where they slow down. Atlanta hopes to get two of its starting pitchers, Max Fried and Charlie Morton, back by the middle of the postseason, and if they’re both ready for the NLCS, the Braves will head back to the World Series. 

World Series

Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves: Braves in 6

This Braves team is special. Top to bottom, they are the best team in the league, and they prove it this postseason. The Braves beat the Astros in the 2021 World Series without Acuña. This time around, he is not only available, but he’s the best player in baseball. The result will be the same for the Braves as 2021. This time, Acuña will be at the center of their championship run.

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