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HardballTalk’s postseason predictions

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The playoffs are weaponized randomness. The one-and-done Wild Card games are like Russian roulette, only with worse odds. As such, the sorts of caveats we offer with our usual regular season predictions apply even more so now. Picking playoff winners is a fool’s errand. Luckily, we here at HardballTalk are not afraid to look foolish.

As a General Observation, the Astros are Bill’s and my favorites. Indeed, we have the exact same bracket with the exception of the number of games each series will go, which we’re just pulling out of our butts anyway. Ashley picks the Braves to beat the Astros in a big, big upset in the World Series that I would very much like to see happen but which I do not have the courage to predict myself.

But such is life and predictions, the common thread between which being that none of us know what we’re doing, we’re all wrong most of the time and, in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

CRAIG

AL Wild Card: Rays beat Athletics
NL Wild Card: Nationals beat Brewers

ALDS1: Astros beat Rays in 4 games
ALDS2: Yankees beat Twins in 5 games

NLDS1: Dodgers beat Nationals in 4 games
NLDS2: Braves beat Cardinals in 5 games

ALCS: Astros beat Yankees in 6 games
NLCS: Dodgers beat Braves in 5 games

World Series: Astros beat Dodgers in 6 games

 

BILL

AL Wild Card: Rays beat Athletics
NL Wild Card: Nationals beat Brewers

ALDS1: Astros beat Rays in 3 games
ALDS2: Yankees beat Twins in 4 games

NLDS1: Dodgers beat Nationals in 4 games
NLDS2: Braves beat Cardinals in 5 games

ALCS: Astros beat Yankees in 5 games
NLCS: Dodgers beat Braves in 6 games

World Series: Astros beat Dodgers in 6 games

 

ASHLEY:

AL Wild Card: Rays beat Athletics
NL Wild Card: Brewers beat the Nationals

ALDS1: Astros beat the Rays in 4 games
ALDS2: Yankees beat the Twins in 5 games

NLDS1: Dodgers beat the Brewers in 4 games
NLDS2: Braves beat the Cardinals in 3 games

ALCS: Astros beat the Yankees in 5 games
NLCS: Braves beat the Dodgers in 6 games

World Series: Braves beat the Astros in 6 games

So it is written, so it shall be done. Right Casey?

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Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.