On the American League side of the bracket, every squad that made it are some of the most elite teams in baseball as each side is good enough to win the World Series and there are even three sides that won 100 games or more. The AL was very strong in 2018 as the “weakest” side is a strong contender for the pennant. It will be fun to watch this side of the bracket as even two bitter rivals will face off against one another in the Division Series round. With that being said lets take a look at the competitors.
Cleveland Indians vs Houston Astros
The franchise with the longest title drought at 70 years, they are a team the has enough experience in the postseason as they know how to find ways to win. However, there are a lot of question marks as they played a relatively easy schedule and in a division where there are too many sides that are going through rebuilds or are underachieving. That being said, despite being the “weakest” team in the American League side of the bracket, they are still dangerous as they have a great rotation with the likes of Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, but they also had five pitchers win at least 10 games for them. Their offense is also something to not take lightly as they have some great hitters like Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, and Francisco Lindor. They can really hit the ball well plus their defense is pretty solid. With how great their pitching staff is (including a great bullpen), they matchup well against any team in the AL especially with such a great offense that could support them.
The defending champions, the Astros might actually be better than the 2017 edition as they possess some great players in every facet of their team. The hitting might not be a home run hitting machine, but with players like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer on the squad plus the breakout season from Alex Bregman, they are a pretty solid hitting core. Their rotation is outstanding as well as they have three pitchers that are aces in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Dallas Keuchel. Their bullpen is outstanding with Roberto Osuna leading the way. The Indians might matchup well with other teams, but the Astros can actually matchup well with other squads as well. There’s a reason to believe that they will repeat this year.
Notes: In the seven games played between the two this season, Houston won four of them.
James Rowe: Astros. I do think this is more evenly matched than some may think, however I believe the Astros are just too good. I really believe they will repeat, but I expect this to be a great series.
Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
The Red Sox did set a franchise record for wins in a season, but they might actually be the best Red Sox team to ever be assembled. They truly can mash the ball as they have players like J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, and Andrew Benintendi leading their offense, but they also possess a lot of depth in their lineup as even their bench is good enough to start for most teams. They also have great pitching as they have the best pitcher in the AL in Chris Sale, but they also have Rick Porcello, David Price, and the emerging Eduardo Rodriguez in their rotation, plus their bullpen isn’t too shabby with the likes of Craig Kimbrel in there. They are a fun team to watch.
The Bronx Bombers won their contest against Oakland in the Wild Card Game on Wednesday, but they showed why they are a team to be reckoned with as they have some great talent on their roster. This team is technically in a rebuild as they are still transitioning their older players out for newer ones, but they have a plethora of young and exciting talent that still makes them a strong team with the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar. Their rotation is great with the likes of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and Sonny Gray. What separates them the most from other teams in the league is how talented and dominant their bullpen is as they have names in there like Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton, David Robertson, and Dellin Betances whom all can close games. This team can absolutely mash as they set a new MLB record for team home runs, but they also have great pitching and solid defense. They are the perfect storm for a deep playoff run.
Notes: Red Sox won the season series 10-9. This is also going to be fun to watch as they are bitter rivals and it is the best rivalry in baseball. A rivalry matchup to start the postseason is always awesome.
James: Red Sox. Yes, this will be a five game series and there will be some great and probably tense moments in this series as it is a rivalry after all, however, the Red Sox just simply have the best team here. It should be a great series to watch honestly.