The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

2018 MLB LCS Preview

The MLB has come down to its final four and for the remaining teams, it seemed like an easy road to the League Championship Series. Every divisional series matchup lasted either three or four games with only a select number of games being relatively close. The competition should definitely pick up with even more intriguing matchups to watch for.

In the American League Championship Series, the defending World Series Champion Houston Astros will battle the team with MLB’s best record: the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox took out their archrival the New York Yankees in four games during the ALDS including a 16-1 beatdown and a nail-biting 4-3 victory in Yankee Stadium.

All eyes this season have been on the franchise record 108-win Red Sox and the historic offense they bring with the likes of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez. Those three combined to hit 98 home runs and 313 runs batted in during the regular season, but all eyes will be on pitching as the key factor. While Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi had strong outings in the ALDS, David Price remains the big question as he still looks for his first career postseason victory in his 10 playoff starts.

In the other dugout is no slouch, the defending champion Houston Astros have been picked as the favorite in this series. And why wouldn’t they be? The ERAs for Justin Verlander (2.52), Gerrit Cole (2.88), Charlie Morton (3.13), and Dallas Keuchel (3.74) lead the way on a pitching staff that has one of the most dangerous bullpens to face if you can beat the starters.

Alex Bregman and his .556 ALDS average leads a lineup that has taken a dip in terms of stats, but still deadly with George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, and reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve. After running through the Cleveland Indians in three games, the Astros are looking to make it back-to-back trips to the World Series after many years of disappointments.

On the other side, the NLCS contains a team that most people predicted and another team that no one would’ve guessed at the beginning of the season. The road team is once again the defending National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The NL West Division champions beat the Atlanta Braves in four games to make it to the NLCS for the third consecutive year.

The Dodgers are thriving after acquiring shortstop Manny Machado, who played a key role in the NLDS by hitting two home runs for six runs batted in. As accustomed for the Dodgers, their pitching staff is led by their ace Clayton Kershaw who surprisingly started game two instead of game one, but the strategy definitely paid off. For the success Los Angeles has had over the past few years, no World Series are to show for it, but they’re ready to drive for their first since 1988.

However, the Dodgers have to contend with the NL Central Division champs the Milwaukee Brewers. In their first NLCS appearance since 2011, the Brewers wiped the floor with the Colorado Rockies the NLDS and enter this series on an impressive eleven-game winning streak dating back to the regular season.

The pitching has been dominant led by starter Jhoulys Chacin and relief pitcher Josh Hader in a pitching staff that held the Braves to two total runs and a team ERA of 0.64 in the NLDS. Big season acquisitions Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Kratz have maintained an offense that give enough run support for their staff, but that will be tested in the NLCS.

The potential World Series matchups have many fans intrigued to see who will compete in the fall classic, but the action will be hot and heavy in both the ALCS and the NLCS as action gets underway this week.

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