Steve Believes: 2019 National League Divisional Series Round

                                                      One half of the Wild Card matchups has finalized, as the Washington Nationals rallied from a late 3-1 deficit to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3. Their prize? They now have to face the two-time National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers in one half of the National League Divisional Series round.

                                                      Check out the bullet points and text below to see whom I picked to win that series, as well as the other National League Divisional Series matchup:

  • St. Louis Cardinals Vs. Atlanta Braves-On paper, the Cardinals boast more starting pitchers with winning records this season than the Braves do. And unlike the Braves, they come into the postseason winning their final regular season game against the Chicago Cubs, whereas the Braves got swept in a three-game series against the New York Mets. But when it comes to these two teams regular season series against each other, the Braves have the advantage in that regard, as they won two out of three in each individual series for an overall 4-2 regular season record against the Red Birds. The Braves were also 10 games or more above .500 both at home and on the road this season, whereas the Cardinals were only game above .500 on the road in that same span. This is Atlanta’s second consecutive playoff appearance. But unlike last season, they open the playoffs at The Chop Shop a.k.a. SunTrust Park, which is one of the best home-field advantages in all of baseball. Look for them to ride that advantage to a 2-0 series lead, and then finish the Cardinals in four games to advance to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2001.
  • Washington Nationals VsLos Angeles Dodgers-I summarized briefly how the Nationals got into this position. But what I didn’t summarize is that they might not utilize their dominant duo of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg until Game 3 and possibly Game 4, as they both pitched in that Wild Card play-in game against the Brewers. However, the Nationals have a third ace on their staff in Patrick Corbin to help them match the Dodgers’ three-headed monster of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The 2019 overall regular season series between these two teams was 3-3 and oddly enough, the road team took two out of three in each individual series. The Dodgers current National League West reign, and streak of consecutive postseason appearances has made them somewhat the MLB version of the New England Patriots, minus being the last team standing in each of those past six seasons. All signs point to a fourth consecutive trip to the National League Championship Series, based on both their current seven-game winning streak and recent history. However, I like the vibe of this Nationals team, as well as their starting pitching just a little bit more than the Dodgers. Look for them to get a split at Dodgers Stadium and dethrone the reigning two-time National League champions in four games. Yup, two teams from the same division will face off in an NLCS for the first time since 2011, as well as National League East teams facing off against each other in an NLCS for the first time since 1999.

                                             Well, those are my predictions for the 2019 National League Divisional Series round.

                                             Tune in on Friday to my predictions for the American League Divisional Series matchups.