The Braves are the favorites to win the World Series heading into the postseason, but I wouldn’t call them the trendy pick. Many national analysts have pointed out the issues that have recently arisen with their pitching. Charlie Morton will miss at least the NLDS, and Max Fried is also questionable with a blister that has been irritating him. Beyond that, the best team in baseball just doesn’t always win.
Despite having a historic regular season, the Braves aren’t guaranteed anything. Their most difficult matchup could be waiting for them in the NLDS, a rematch with the Phillies who sent the Braves packing in the same round the year before. However, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan in his recent MLB bracket predictions, he has the Braves exacting revenge on their NL East foe.
NLDS: Brewers over Dodgers, Braves over Phillies
Vengeance for 2018. The Brewers pushed the Dodgers to the limit in the NLCS that year — and lost in Game 7. It’ll be another great series but go to the Brewers this time.
The best regular-season team in baseball takes a big step forward as the Braves attempt to win their second title in three years, while the Phillies wonder what it’s going to take to usurp Atlanta in the NL East.
I’ve seen a lot of Braves fans commit to cheering for the Marlins over the next few days, which is completely understandable for several reasons. Watching the Phillies lose at home before they even get to face the Braves would be enough comedy to last the entire offseason. The Braves have also owned the Marlins over the last six years. They should have no problem beating the Fish in 3-4 games and advancing to the NLCS, while the Phillies pose a much greater threat.
However, if the Braves could knock the Phillies out of the playoffs after clinching the division on their home turf earlier this year, that is poetry. That is how you get proper revenge on your biggest rival that knocked you out of the playoffs a year ago.
In the NLCS, Passan has the Braves topping the Brewers.
League championship series
NLCS: Braves over Brewers
As long as Strider, Fried and Morton are ready to go, Atlanta can come close to matching Milwaukee’s pitching — and the Brewers won’t come close to doing the same with the Braves’ lineup.
I also think the Brewers have a fantastic chance of knocking off the Dodgers if Milwaukee can advance past the Wild Card Series, but the Brewers don’t have the firepower to hang with the Braves over a seven-game series.
In the World Series, Passan picks the Braves over the Rays.
Braves over Rays
This is a rare offense with special power from top to bottom. Two years ago, when they beat the Astros, the Braves did it without Acuña. This time around, he’ll be at the center of another title.
The Braves and Rays have been two of the most successful organizations in baseball over the last decade. This would be an incredibly fun matchup, but Tampa Bay is dealing with a plethora of injuries. Perhaps they have the depth to get to the World Series, but beating a team like the Braves with so many guys out would be a long shot.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire