The National League playoffs have been set after the Washington Nationals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers for a spot in the Division Series in the NL Wild Card Game. That being said, it’s exciting to see the teams finally set up to play one another for potentially some outstanding baseball. Let’s take a look at the matchups.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Washington Nationals
So the Dodgers and Nationals meet again, but things are a bit different now as the Dodgers are clearly a dominant team while the Nationals are red hot. The last time they played one another, the Dodgers edged the Nationals out in a thrilling Game Five in 2016, but Washington will be looking for redemption. With clearly one of the best teams going against an incredibly hot side, this should be a very interesting matchup.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have been a strong team for a very long time as they have won seven straight division titles and are the defending National League champion. So yeah, there’s a lot to like about them as they have some of the best starting pitching in baseball, a lockdown bullpen, and big bats. The team is led by Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, and Max Muncy and are the favorites to win the pennant. It will be interesting to see a team with 106 wins going against a hot Nationals side.
The Nationals were left for dead essentially when they started the season 19-31, but after rallying off a 74-38 run to the playoffs and an enthralling NL Wild Card Game win, here they are in the Division Series. The Nationals have great starting pitching and a lot of good hitters on their team with a nice blend of veterans and young talent. Their biggest issue though is that the bullpen is atrocious as it’s collective ERA ranks very low. Washington will really need their bullpen to step up if they want to win the series because otherwise they will not do well.
Notes: Dodgers won the season series 4-3
James Rowe: Dodgers. While it would be nice to see the Nationals advance, the Dodgers are too good of a team for them to defeat. This will come down to each team’s bullpens and that’s not a good thing for Washington.
Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals
The Braves have had a very good season as they have shown that their rebuild is not a fluke. While they were clearly one of the weakest sides in last year’s playoffs, they are much more dangerous this season. Of course though, the Cardinals are playing some of their best baseball going into the postseason, which sets up a potentially great series.
The Braves have finally come out of their rebuild and have a plethora of good young talent. They have some exciting bats, solid pitching, and a very reliable bullpen. The team is led by Freddie Freeman, Dallas Keuchel, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna. Acuna and Albies, along with Mike Soroka and Max Fried, show the collective young talent the Braves boast. It shows how well built Atlanta is and could potentially go deep in the playoffs.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and it’s very exciting to see baseball return to such a great baseball town. The Cardinals have a strong lineup with Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, and Marcell Ozuna and a strong bullpen, which was a key factor in their run to the playoffs. The question is whether their starting pitching will keep up as aside from Jack Flaherty, the starting pitching is suspect. St. Louis has the experience and the talent to possibly make a deep run to the pennant.
Notes: Braves won season series 4-2.
James: Braves. I’m not convinced that the Cardinals are all that strong of a side to beat the Braves and they lack a strong starting rotation to keep up with Atlanta.