Alex Jensen sizes up the MLB playoffs

With the ALCS and NLCS having started, let’s look at each team to understand their strengths and weaknesses from the regular season and how that can affect the postseason.

Boston Red Sox (2018: 108-54)

Important team stats:

AVG: .268

ERA: 3.75

Runs/Game: 5.41

Strengths: Boston has been an offensive powerhouse over the course of the season. Starting pitching has been a key factor in games, with Rick Porcello and David Price sharing the most losses by a starter for the season (7 each).

What to watch for: Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have carried Boston offensively, but Boston has found success even with role players, such as Brock Holt. Additionally, relief pitching has struggled notoriously throughout the season, so any falter from starting pitching may prove worrisome for the Red Sox.


Houston Astros (2018: 103-59)

Important team stats:

AVG: .255

ERA: 3.11

Runs/Game: 4.92

Strengths: While offensive numbers may not seem impressive, Houston’s use of small-ball has been very effective, allowing them to rank second in strikeouts and third in walks for the American League. Pitching, however, has been Houston’s strong suit this year, ranking first in ERA, hits allowed, runs allowed. Strikeouts, and home runs allowed.

What to watch for: Jose Altuve has continued to have success offensively, with a .316 average on the season, and Alex Bregman has had a breakout season with 51 doubles and 31 homeruns. Their offensive production will be key in their success. If the bats go silent, Houston will be hard pressed to succeed, even with a quality start from their pitchers.


Los Angeles Dodgers (2018: 92-71)

Important team stats:

AVG: .250

ERA: 3.38

Runs/Game: 4.93

Strengths: Seven Los Angeles sluggers finished with 20 or more home runs, ranking the Dodgers first in rankings for the National League. Despite a low average, the Dodgers also led the National League in runs.

What to watch for: Clayton Kershaw has had struggles in postseason pitching in the past, so how he performs will be extremely impactful for the team. If the offense can continue to be a powerhouse, the Dodgers have a very high chance of success, even as the “sleeper” pick of the four.


Milwaukee Brewers (2018: 96-67)

Important team stats:

AVG: .252

ERA: 3.73

Runs/Game: 4.63

Strengths: Milwaukee has been carried by the power trio of Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw, and Christian Yelich, who have combined for a monstrous 103 home runs. Additionally, Yelich, along with Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, and Jonathan Villar, has led the “Brew Crew” to win the “Speed Demons” for the National League with the most stolen bases.

What to watch for: Apart from Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee’s starting pitching has not been very consistent. However, relief pitching has been a savior for them. The late innings, therefore, will be crucial for the team if starting pitching struggles.

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