District On Deck’s NLDS Predictions
By Max Rayman
Atlanta Braves V. Miami Marlins
Wild Card Round Outcome:
Atlanta swept Cincinnati 2-0
Miami swept Chicago 2-0
Atlanta won the NL East for the third straight year, but more importantly, they won their first playoff series since 2001. Now they will be looking to make it back to the NLCS for the first time since that same 2001 season. In order to do that, the Braves will be riding a potent offense of Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. Ozzie Albies, Adam Duvall, Marcell Ozuna, and Travis d’Arnaud.
Ace, Max Fried front’s the rotation, but behind him are youngsters, Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Anderson impressed against the Reds, holding that lineup scoreless over six innings. He only allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out nine. Without much depth in the rotation, these three will have a tough task ahead of them. Behind the rotation, is an elite bullpen made up of Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, Chris Martin, Will Smith, Darren O’Day, and A.J. Minter. Miami is facing an uphill battle if the Braves bullpen can enter the game with a lead.
Miami took advantage of the extended playoff field to sneak into the playoffs. After that, they channeled their inner playoff magic and swept the Chicago Cubs. In fact, the Marlins have never lost a playoff series, going 7-0 all-time, and winning the 1997 and 2003 World Series.
In a five-game series, how can the Marlins beat the Braves? Through their young starting rotation. Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez were lights out against the Cubs and will need to lead the way if the Marlins want to keep their playoff streak going. Throw in Pablo Lopez and the Marlins have a chance to keep the Brave’s offense at bay. Both Alcantara and Sanchez made their playoff debuts against the Cubs, with each of them being the winning pitcher. Alcantara allowed one run over 6.2 innings, while only allowing three hits, walking three, and striking out four. Sanchez threw five shutout innings, allowing only four hits, walking two, and striking out six.
A major question mark for the offense is Starling Marte. The veteran was hit by a pitch, fracturing his hand and caused him to miss the rest of the Cubs series. He is day to day and his status to return for the NLDS is uncertain. Look for Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, Brian Anderson, Miguel Rojas, and Garret Cooper to power the offense.
Prediction: UPSET ALERT! After struggling against the Reds starting rotation, Atlanta’s offense will also be stumped by a young and talented Marlins pitching staff. Don’t forget the Marlins playoff magic. Miami in four.