Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

2017 Playoffs Predictions


Now that we know that the Yankees battered the surprising Twins, and that the Diamondbacks outlasted the Rockies, lets do a quick prediction piece.

First; a quick look back.  I did the obligatory seasonal prediction piece in early April 2017; how did I do?

  • NL East: Predicted Washington in a close race, actual Washington (thought not by a “close” margin as I thought it would be over NY)
  • NL Central: Predicted Cubs by a fair margin, actual Cubs by “just” 6 games and it was close all year.
  • NL West: Predicted Dodgers “by a hair,” actual Dodgers by a mile even though both WCs came from the NL West.
  • NL Wild Cards: Predicted SF and NY, actual Arizona and Colorado.  Wow, could not have been further off here.  SF finished tied for the worst record in the game, and NY wasn’t far off.
  • AL East: Predicted Boston, actual Boston
  • AL Central: Predicted Cleveland by a lot, actual was exactly Cleveland by a lot (17 games to be exact).
  • AL West: Predicted Houston, actual Houston.
  • AL Wild Cards: Predicted Toronto and Texas, actual was NY Yankees and the surprising Twins.

So that’s interesting: I got all six divisional winners right, and whiffed on all four wild cards.  Maybe that’s the way modern baseball goes; thanks to rebuilding efforts its easier than ever to pick the divisional winners, but the two wild cards open up post-season baseball to a significant portion of the league.

Here’s my post season predictions:

  • NLDS: Nats over Cubs in five.  Nats should have enough to beat the Cubs if Scherzer is healthy.
  • NLDS: Dodgers over Arizona in five as well.   The Dodgers have their hands full and missing Arrieta a second time may be the difference maker.  I know Arizona gave LA fits in the regular season … but they’ll be more focused now.
  • ALDS; Houston over Boston in four: I think Houston just has too much firepower for Boston’s pitching staff, which is pretty thin past Sale.
  • ALDS: Cleveland over the Yankees in three; Cleveland whacked them in the seasonal series and should continue to romp.

Championship Series

  • NLCS: Dodgers over Nats in seven.  Seasonal series was 4-3, no reason not to think a NLCS would be the same.  I just don’t think the Nats will have enough to overcome the balanced Dodgers attack.  Maybe if the Nats had a guaranteed 100% healthy Harper i’d change my tune.  I hope i’m wrong.
  • ALCS: Cleveland over Houston in six.  Cleveland is just too good of a team and their pitching will overcome Houston’s.

World Series

  • WS: Dodgers over Cleveland in six.  Another heartbreak for Cleveland, but the Dodgers’ talent wins out with the help of home field advantage and two Kershaw starts.

Written by Todd Boss

October 5th, 2017 at 11:33 am

8 Responses to '2017 Playoffs Predictions'

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  1. NYY > CLE in 4
    HOU > BOS in 3
    Nats > CHC in 4
    LAD > ARI in 5

    HOU > NYY in 6
    Nats > LAD in 6

    HOU > Nats in 7

    Book it, Dano


    5 Oct 17 at 6:01 pm

  2. I was going to pick Houston anyway, but Boston’s only chance was for Sale to win two. That ain’t happening.

    There’s a trend, here, though — some of the absolute best pitchers in the game are getting bombed in the playoffs thus far. What happened to those taunt 2-1 playoff nail-biters? Are those a thing of the past? Is it too much to expect some dominant pitching performances, even from a Kershaw, Scherzer, or Strasburg?


    5 Oct 17 at 7:34 pm

  3. OK, to the picks. Boz has noted two or three times this week that this is the strongest final eight teams in a long time. By record, that seems true. Is it? Or is so much of the league down that there are some inflated records out there? Guess we’re about to find out.

    In the AL, I’m expecting CLE and HOU to dominate their series, winning in three or four. The Yankees do have the power and the bullpen to make things interesting for the Indians, but the Indians are such a complete team that it’s hard to see them being stopped, by NYY or HOU. I see the Indians in the WS, with neither series going the distance.

    I’ve been saying for a couple of months that the D-Backs are the Dodgers’ worst nightmare, which they then went out and proved late in the season. However, the wildcard game was the Snakes’ worst nightmare, as they burned both Greinke and Ray. With just 34 pitches, could Ray still come back for Games 2 and 5? I’m a lot less hesitant to pick AZ now, but I will anyway, in five.

    The Nats are beating the Cubs in three or four. It’s happening this year. The starting pitching and the full-throttle offense will finally show up when it matters.

    In the NLCS, the Nats have the RH starters to neutralize the D-Back RH-heavy lineup. Nats win this one, too, in five or six.

    Can the Nats beat the Indians? Yes. Will they? I doubt it. It would take superstar efforts from Bryce, Max, and Stras to make it happen. But I’ll take the Indians and six, and be thrilled that the Nats made it that far.


    5 Oct 17 at 7:55 pm

  4. Happy playoffs to all! Here’s the day we’ve been waiting for since last October. No excuses this year. PATIENCE against Hendricks . . . against whom Murph has three homers. Today is the day that Stras has been maturing for his whole career.


    6 Oct 17 at 9:07 am

  5. Summary of starters so far:
    – Sale got bombed
    – Verlander went 6 giving up 2
    – Bauer was amazing
    – Sonny Gray couldn’t find the plate
    – Jon Grey got destroyed
    – Arietta was not good
    – Severino couldn’t get out of the first
    – Santana gave up 4 runs in 2 innings.

    Pitchers getting bombed in the playoffs so far; well look where these games have been played so far. Houston (hitter’s park), New York (hitters’ park), Arizona (extreme hitter’s park), Cleveland (hitter’s park).

    Wait til we see games in LA (pitcher’s park) and DC (neutral to slight pitchers park i think). its also worth noting that the pitchers going tonight (Kershaw, Strasburg among them) are better than anyone up there, with the exception of Sale….

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 10:46 am

  6. Robles and Goodwin on the playoff roster, with six on the bench and seven in the ‘pen. Enny gets the last bullpen slot; Blanton, Cole, EJax, and Grace all left out. That’s four lefties and three righties in the ‘pen. Just hope someone has paid attention to Romero’s reverse splits!

    (Todd, it was Greinke for AZ, not Arrieta. Let’s hope Arrieta isn’t good, either! He’s being pushed even farther back in the rotation than Max.)


    6 Oct 17 at 10:54 am

  7. Enny vs. RHB, 2017: .230/.308/.374
    Enny vs. LHB, 2017: .295/.371/.462

    Enny vs. RHB, Career: .229/.315/.357
    Enny vs. LHB, Career: .313/.392/.469


    6 Oct 17 at 10:59 am

  8. New posted on the roster announcement.

    Todd Boss

    6 Oct 17 at 11:16 am

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