MLB moves to Division Series of playoffs; Here are The Torch’s picks to move on to the League Championship Series

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The Miami Marlins celebrate their Wild Card Series playoff win over the Chicago Cubs, and now move on to play the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series.

With the wild card match ups behind us, the Major League Baseball COVID-19 version of the playoffs now enter the League Division series. The National League wild card match ups featuring a best of three series saw the Atlanta Braves down the Cincinnati Reds, the Miami Marlins beat the Chicago Cubs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminate the Milwaukee Brewers, all in two straight games. In the other National League match up, the San Diego Padres took down the St. Louis Cardinals two games to one.

On the American League side, the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Houston Astros beat the Minnesota Twins, all two games to zero, with the Oakland A’s eliminating the Chicago White Sox two games to one.

So, now the Division Series are upon us, and here is how we see things shaping up. 

Braves vs Marlins: The Marlins have been the best story of the season, starting with many of their games being postponed in the beginning of the season. With the expanded playoff, the Marlins took the opportunity to be the team that no one expected to make it, and now they are in the NLDS. There is another story line in that the Marlins have never lost a playoff series, but that streak will end here. This Braves team has everything you need to win a World Series, from great starting pitching, to a great bullpen, and one of the best offenses in MLB. They have so much versatility in their lineup as well as in their bullpen that it will be hard for any team to stop them. If Max Fried can continue to be the ace that he has been this year, then this Braves team will be a very hard one to stop.

Dodgers vs. Padres: The Dodgers continue to shine in the regular season just to be let down in the playoffs. They always have the talent to win it all, but a mistake here or there always does them in. This year they have two MVPs in their lineup, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger, and two arms we have seen be dominant in their rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Beuhler. The Padres on the other hand have very little playoff experience. Led by young SS Fernando Tatis Jr. and SP Chris Paddack, this Padres team is out to prove that they belong. Along with Tatis, the Padres hit Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, and Tommy Pham, who are all guys that have performed in the league for a long time. They also have a really deep bullpen that can go deep into games if need be. The Dodgers will win this series, but San Diego will not be a roll over.

Astros vs. Athletics: Everything points to the A’s winning this series, but their lack of hitting so far this year creates some doubt. As much as we hate it, the Astros are a good baseball team, and their offense seems to show up at the best possible time. Their pitching is really below average, but they have obviously been there before, and they can smell it now. They want nothing more than to shut baseball fans up by winning a World Series fair and square. The A’s are the exact opposite of the Astros, with great pitching from top to bottom, but with an offense that struggles to string hits together. This series will come down to who can play to their strengths better, and as much the purists may hate it, the Astros will advance to the American League Championship Series.

Yankees vs. Rays: Although the Rays have a lot of talent in their lineup and on their pitching staff, this seems to be the Yankees year and there is no possible way the Yankees lose this series. Their bats are all healthy for the first time this year, and they are absolutely teeing off. Not to mention they have a top-five pitcher in baseball in Gerrit Cole and solid pitchers both on their starting staff and coming out of the bullpen. The Rays dominated the Yanks in the regular season, but Yankee history shows that they will beat them when it matters. Tampa has to be near perfect in everything if they want a chance to win the series, because this Yankee lineup can hit from one through nine. 

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