By: Ross Sutton
After a thrilling couple of days of National League tiebreakers and the Wild Card game, the NLDS matchups are set; the Rockies will play the Brewers, and the Braves will play the Dodgers. The Rockies clinched a spot in the NLDS by beating the Cubs in 13 innings, in the incredible NL Wild Card game, and the Brewers got their spot by beating the Cubs in Monday’s NL Central tiebreaker game. We know these two teams know how to beat the Cubs, but how do they matchup against each other?
The Brewers have one of the best offenses in all of baseball, largely impart to Christian Yelich putting up Barry Bonds-like numbers in the second half of the regular season. In regards to their pitching though, the Brewers have said that they will go with the “bullpening” strategy for game 1 of the NLDS. This means that they plan on using a pitcher from their bullpen to be the starter (or opener, as it’s called when “bullpening”) for an inning or two, and then use a lot of their bullpen for the remainder of the game. It is not shocking that the Brewers are utilizing this strategy for game 1, as they have one of the best bullpens in the MLB and do not have an ace starting pitcher like most playoff teams do.
Much like the Brewers, the Rockies are a team built around their offense and bullpen. The Rockies have always had a top offense in the league, but they spent a ton of money this offseason to sign relievers Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, and Wade Davis. The two most well-known players in the Rockies offense are Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon, who are two of the league’s best players. In my opinion, the biggest advantage the Rockies will have over the Brewers is their starting pitching. Kyle Freeland was one of the best starters in the league this year and did something that is rarely seen, a Rockies’ pitcher finishing the regular season with an ERA under 3.00. Since Freeland pitched in the WIld Card game against the Cubs though, the Rockies will have Antonio Senzatela (4.38 ERA) start game 1 of the series.
This should be a hard fought battle between two really good teams, but I have to give the Rockies a slight edge in this series, as they have the better group of starting pitchers. The Brewers’ offense is red-hot though, so the Rockies will certainly have their work cut out for them.
Final Prediction: Rockies in 5
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