2019 MLB Playoff Predictions

By: Justin Girshon

National League Wild Card

Milwaukee Brewers @ Washington Nationals

The Nationals pitching will dominate the Christian Yelich-less Brewers. With home field advantage, Max Scherzer on the bump, and a much healthier lineup; the Nationals will beat the Brewers by a core of 5-2.

American League Wild Card

Tampa Bay Rays @ Oakland Athletics

In a tight game, the Rays will outlast the Athletics. Although they will be on the road, the Rays lineup will out duel the Athletics bullpen in the final innings leading them to an October victory for the first time since 2013. The Rays will win by a final score of 3-1.

National League Division Series

St. Louis Cardinals (3) vs Atlanta Braves (2)

After a disappointing playoff run last year, the Braves will make a deeper run compared to last year by advancing through the division round. Led by Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña, Josh Donaldson and co, the Braves lineup will prove to be too much for the Cardinals pitching staff by scoring upwards of 25 runs through four games. The Braves will make their way to fight for the pennant after beating the Cardinals in four games.

Washington Nationals (wc) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (1)

The Dodgers will make quick work of the Nationals and advance to their fourth consecutive championship series. Led by Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Beuhler, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner; the Dodgers starting pitchers and lineup will be dominant making it a tough series for the Nationals. The Dodgers will sweep the Nationals on their way to the NLCS.

American League Division Series

Minnesota Twins (3) vs New York Yankees (2)

This will be the best offensive series throughout the playoffs. The Twins (307) and Yankees (306) each hit more than 300 home runs on the year and I expect to see many home runs throughout the series. Although the Twins will continuously put pressure on the Yankees pitching staff, the Yankees bats will be too much for the Twins. In a five game thrilling series, the Yankees will outlast the Twins.

Tampa Bay Rays (wc) vs Houston Astros (1)

After moving past one AL West team, the Rays will not be able to defeat another. The Rays will not be able to keep up with the Astros’ juggernaut. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Roberto Osuna will be huge during the series and send the Rays back home. The Astros will beat the Rays in four games advancing to their third straight ALCS.

National League Championship Series

Atlanta Braves (2) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (1)

Although the Dodgers are the number one seed and have much more October experience, the Dodgers will not advance to their third straight World Series. The Braves will hang with the Dodgers throughout the whole series and will continuously have clutch hits against the Dodgers bullpen. The Braves will edge the Dodgers out in a seven game series. The MVP of the series will be Ronald Acuña.

American League Championship Series

New York Yankees (2) vs Houston Astros (1)

In a repeat of the 2017 ALCS, the Astros will again beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series. The Astros will show the importance of starting pitching after having dominant starts in every game compared to the Yankees starters who will struggle against a strong Astros lineup. The Astros will advance to their second World Series in the last three years after defeating the Yankees in five games. The MVP of the series will be rookie sensation Yordan Alvarez.

2019 World Series

Atlanta Braves (NL) vs Houston Astros (AL)

The Astros and Braves built their rosters in similar fashion, rebuilding. After the 2013 MLB season if you told me the Braves would play the Astros in the 2019 World Series, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Even though the Astros and Braves were built similarly, there can only be one champion. Houston will again prove its dominance by crushing the Braves in the World Series. The Astros will score 40 runs throughout six games to become the 2019 World Series champions. After and MVP caliber regular season, Alex Bregman will solidify himself at least one MVP by winning World Series MVP.

Trevor Bauer Traded to Reds in Blockbuster 3-Team Trade

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Trevor Bauer is headed to Cincinnati.

The Cy-Young caliber pitcher was just one piece involved in a three-team deal that saw the Cleveland Indians acquire OF Yasiel Puig from the Reds, along with OF Franmil Reyes and P Logan Allen from the San Diego Padres. Prized prospect, OF Taylor Trammell, is headed to San Diego as well.

More pieces are involved as well.

The Indians made a bold move with this deal, with each team obviously having different motives for the trade. Cleveland’s intention in trading Bauer was to bring in major-league level talent to assist in what some may call a disappointing year offensively. They did exactly that, and more.

Bauer will give the Reds another ace in what has been a surprising starting rotation with the likes of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Anthony DeSclafani, as they try to make a playoff push. Bauer still has one more year of team control, giving the Reds the luxury of allowing themselves to now focus in on the offense going into the 2020 season.

The deal shakes up the league, as Bauer goes from the AL to the NL, and the Indians suddenly seem like World Series contenders. There may be no clear-cut winner, but the deal will have an impact as we approach October baseball.

Marcus Stroman Headed to the New York Mets

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Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher, Marcus Stroman, is headed to the New York Mets.

Stroman, 28, is heading to New York after having his name in trade rumors all year. After a down year in 2018, Stroman has rebuilt his value this season with a 2.96 ERA and the second highest ground-ball rate in the MLB.

The Mets add another quality arm to an already loaded rotation, with Stroman being added to the likes of Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, and Steven Matz. New York is likely to move one of these arms, expected to be Syndergaard or Wheeler, but nevertheless have an excess of talent at the starting pitcher position.

No one knows if the Mets are contenders or not, or whether they’re attempting to become one or not, but this move is nonetheless an upgrade for them.

Astros Acquire Zack Greinke

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The Houston Astros have assembled the best rotation, by far, in the MLB.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are sending six-time All Star, Zack Greinke, to the Astros in exchange for four minor league prospects.

Houston is going all-in, rightfully so, giving up four prospects in the deal, but Greinke, 35, is having an excellent year himself going 10-4 through 22 starts with a 2.87 ERA. Although age may catch up to Greinke, he has been pitching like an ace, yet in Houston he will slot in as the number three starter. This allows the Astros to take the risk on Greinke, as even minor decline keeps him as a top #3 option, and allows Greinke an opportunity to take some pressure off of himself.

Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke. Good luck to the rest of the MLB, a new World Series favorite has been crowned.

2019 MLB All-Star Game Preview

Image via AP Photo/Tony Dejak

The 90th annual MLB All-Star game will be held Tuesday, July 9th, and as the week approaches, we update you with the rosters, selections, starters, and event times.

American League Starting Lineup

  • Manager: Alex Cora, Red Sox
  • Catcher: Gary Sanchez, Yankees
  • First Base: Carlos Santana, Indians
  • Second Base: DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
  • Shortstop: Jorge Polanco, Twins
  • Third Base: Alex Bregman, Astros
  • Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels
  • Outfield: George Springer, Astros
  • Outfield: Michael Brantley, Astros
  • Designated Hitter: Hunter Pence, Rangers

American League Pitchers

  • Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Astros
  • Starting Pitcher: Gerrit Cole, Astors
  • Starting Pitcher: Lucas Giolito, White Sox
  • Starting Pitcher: Mike Minor, Rangers
  • Starting Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi, Twins
  • Starting Pitcher: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays
  • Starting Pitcher: John Means, Orioles
  • Starting Pitcher: Charlie Morton, Rays
  • Relief Pitcher: Ryan Pressly, Astros
  • Relief Pitcher: Shane Greene, Tigers
  • Relief Pitcher: Brad Hand, Indians
  • Relief Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees

American League Reserves

  • Catcher: James McCann, White Sox
  • First Base: Jose Abreu, White Sox
  • Second Base: Tommy La Stella, Angels
  • Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Indians
  • Third Base: Matt Chapman, Athletics
  • Outfield: Mookie Betts, Red Sox
  • Outfield: Austin Meadows, Rays
  • Outfield: Joey Gallo, Rangers
  • Outfield/2B: Whit Merrifield, Royals
  • Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
  • Designated Hitter: Daniel Vogelbach, Mariners

National League Starting Lineup

  • Manager: Dave Roberts, Dodgers
  • Catcher: Willson Contreras, Cubs
  • First Base: Freddie Freeman, Braves
  • Second Base: Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks
  • Shortstop: Javier Baez, Cubs
  • Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
  • Outfield: Christian Yelich, Brewers
  • Outfield: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
  • Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

National League Pitchers

  • Starting Pitcher: Mike Soroka, Braves
  • Starting Pitcher: Jacob deGrom, Mets
  • Starting Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  • Starting Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
  • Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Diamonbacks
  • Starting Pitcher: Luis Castillo, Reds
  • Starting Pitcher: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
  • Relief Pitcher: Will Smith, Giants
  • Relief Pitcher: Kirby Yates, Padres
  • Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Padres

National League Reserves

  • Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, Brewers
  • Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
  • First Base: Josh Bell, Pirates
  • First Base: Pete Alonso, Mets
  • Second Base: Jeff McNeil, Mets
  • Second Base: Mike Moustakas, Brewers
  • Shortstop: Paul DeJong, Cardinals
  • Shortstop: Trevor Story, Rockies
  • Third Base: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
  • Third Base: Kris Bryant, Cubs
  • Outfield: David Dahl, Rockies
  • Outfield: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies

Event Times

  • MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game, July 7, 2019
  • All-Star Futures Game, July 7, 2019
  • Home-Run Derby, July 8, 2019
  • MLB All-Star Game, July 9, 2019

Yankees, Red Sox Play First MLB Series in London

Image via Max Schreiber/USA TODAY Sports

The MLB hosted its first ever London series, starting June 29th, 2019, and the first game did not disappoint. The Boston Red Sox played the New York Yankees and the two teams combined for a whopping 30 runs, 37 hits, including 10 doubles and 6 home runs. The game lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes, missing the record for a nine inning game by 4 minutes, which was also set by the two teams in 2006. The final score was 17-13 Yankees.

The second game did not match or eclipse the run count of the first, but it did not disappoint. The Yankees won 12-8, sweeping the short two game series, with both teams combining for 28 hits.

The series was great for Major League Baseball, and the show the two teams put on only made the game more appealing to the international audience as the MLB attempts to expand its borders.

See you next year London!

Cody Bellinger has Historic April

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Los Angeles Dodger’s star, Cody Bellinger, had arguably one of the best opening months in MLB history. The OF/1B for the Dodger’s tied Albert Pujols (2006), Alex Rodriguez (2007), and Christian Yelich (2019) for the most home runs hit before May 1st, each having 14. Bellinger though broke, and now holds, the all-time records for RBI’s (37), hits (44), and total bases (96) before May 1st.

Bellinger is on fire right now. He’s tied for the MLB lead in home runs and has sole possession of first in RBI’s, runs, hits, on-base percentage, slugging, and batting average, with a ridiculous .427 average. His plate discipline has also greatly improved so far this season. His strikeout rate is at 11.7 percent, cut down from the 23.9 percent he had in 2018, and his walk rate is 14.1 percent, also an increase from 2018, showing that this start is no fluke.

The Dodger’s are in first place in the NL West and the first team to reach 20 wins, Bellinger being the driving force for that. He not only is contributing on offense, but he’s also making highlight reel plays out on the field. After a breakout rookie year in 2017, awarded with the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award, Bellinger’s production dipped a bit in 2018, and whatever adjustments the 23-year-old made have paid off, as he is now a front-runner for the NL MVP award.

The season is still young, and there’s a long road ahead, but Bellinger and the Dodger’s are again looking like early favorites to reach the World Series.

 

Each First Round Draft Pick From The 2019 NFL Draft

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That’s it! The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is over and some of the biggest names are officially off the board. Here are every draft pick from the first round:

Selection No. 1 – Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

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Selection No. 2 – San Francisco 49ers: DE Nick Bosa

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Selection No. 3 – New York Jets: DT Quinnen Williams

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Selection No. 4 – Oakland Raiders: DE Clelin Ferrell

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Selection No. 5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Devin White

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Selection No. 6 – New York Giants: QB Daniel Jones

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Selection No. 7 – Jacksonville Jaguars: LB Josh Allen

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Selection No. 8 – Detroit Lions: TE TJ Hockenson

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Selection No. 9 – Buffalo Bills: DT Ed Oliver

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Selection No. 10 – Pittsburgh Steelers (Via Broncos): LB Devin Bush

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Selection No. 11 – Cincinnati Bengals: OT Jonah Williams

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Selection No. 12 – Green Bay Packers: DE Rashan Gary

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Selection No. 13 – Miami Dolphins: DT Christian Wilkins

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Selection No. 14 – Atlanta Falcons: G/T Chris Lindstrom

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Selection No. 15 – Washington Redskins: QB Dwayne Haskins

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Selection No. 16 – Carolina Panthers: OLB Brian Burns

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Selection No. 17 – New York Giants (Via Browns): DT Dexter Lawrence

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Selection No. 18 – Minnesota Vikings: C Garrett Bradbury

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Selection No. 19 – Tennessee Titans: DT Jeffery Simmons

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Selection No. 20 – Denver Broncos (Via Steelers): TE Noah Fant

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Selection No. 21 – Green Bay Packers (Via Seahawks): S Darnell Savage

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Selection No. 22 – Philadelphia Eagles (Via Ravens): T Andre Dillard

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Selection No. 23 – Houston Texans: T Tytus Howard

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Selection No. 24 – Oakland Raiders (Via Bears): RB Josh Jacobs

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Selection No. 25 – Baltimore Ravens (Via Eagles): WR Marquise Brown

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Selection No. 26 – Washington Redskins (Via Colts): DE Montez Sweat

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Selection No. 27 – Oakland Raiders (Via Cowboys): S Johnathan Abram

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Selection No. 28 – Los Angeles Chargers: DT Jerry Tillery

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Selection No. 29 – Seattle Seahawks (Via Chiefs): DE L.J. Collier

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Selection No. 30 – New York Giants (Via Seahawks/Packers/Saints): CB Deandre Baker

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Selection No. 31 – Atlanta Falcons (Via Rams): T Kaleb McGary

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Selection No. 32 – New England Patriots: WR N’Keal Harry

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Top 10 Greatest Saints To Ever Play

Johnathon Vilma, Pat Swilling, Mark Ingram. All dominate Saints players yet they didn’t make the cut for my personal top 10 Saints players. Here is my top 10 Saints players.

Number 10: DE Will Smith

Super Bowl winning DE Will Smith was murdered tragically April 9th, 2016. Will Smith’s greatest play, in my opinion, was Tracy Porter’s game-sealing interception as he laid a key block on Peyton Manning.

Number 9: QB Archie Manning

Although it was another era when Saints fans typically wore paper bags over their heads, there was a shining star at QB by the name of Archie Manning. He gave the Saints hope yet we were typically considered the “laughing stock of the league.”

Number 8: WR Joe Horn

WR Joe Horn was not only a great receiver, he was a hilarious personality to have around New Orleans. He’s iconically know for his cell phone celebration after a touchdown.

Number 7: LB Sam Mills

LB Sam Mills passed away August 3rd, 2005 after a battle with colon cancer. Mills was inducted into the Saints and Panthers Hall of Fame. Mills is the inspiration behind the Panthers’ slogan “Keep Pounding.” He was in “Dome Patrol.” The “Dome Patrol” was a nickname for the Saints linebacking corp.

Number 6: OL Willie Roaf

OT Willie Roaf, aka “Nasty,” played for the Saints and Chiefs for thirteen seasons. He was such an exceptional tackle, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Number 5: RB Deuce McAllister

DEUCEEEEE!!! Deuce McAllister is the greatest running back in Saints history. He was drafted out of Ole Miss in the first round and spent eight seasons with the Saints.

Number 4: WR Marques Colston

WR Marques Colston, the greatest WR to never make a Pro Bowl. After drafted in the seventh round out of Hofstra, he was never looked at tremendously. He has just under 10,000 career yards (9,759) and 72 touchdowns.

Number 3: K Morten Anderson

K Morten Andersen is one of the greatest kickers ever after just being passed by ageless K Adam Vinatieri. Andersen ended his career with 2,544 points. He was inducted into the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Number 2: LB Rickey Jackson

HOF LB Rickey Jackson was inducted into the 2010 class. Jackson was the leader of the “Dome Patrol.” The “Dome Patrol” consisted of Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson and Pat Swilling.

Number 1: QB Drew Brees

Although this may be obvious, I placed Brees as the greatest Saint ever because after Hurricane Katrina, the Saints, and quite frankly, the whole city of New Orleans was in desperate need of a hero. The Saints were rumored to be relocated to San Antonio if NOLA couldn’t recover. Within a few years of being signed, Brees brought a Lombardi to NOLA.


Photo Credits : Canal Street Chronicles {#10-3}{Cover Photo}, Pro Football HOF {#2}, NY Times {#1}