Division Series Breakdown
The wacky expanded Wild Card round is over and we're on to the Division Series. The two biggest surprises are the Athletics and the Marlins. On the Athletics side, the White Sox scorching hot offense fizzled out. The Marlins were just a better team than the Cubs. The series to watch hands down is the Dodgers versus Padres. The winner of that series may win the World Series. Before we talk about that, let's look at each matchup:
TB vs NYY
Who to watch: (TB) Brandon Lowe and (NYY) DJ LeMahieu
Brandon Lowe followed up his All Star rookie campaign by almost matching his entire season's stats from last year to this year in just 56 games. DJ LeMahieu captured the AL batting crown hitting .364 and being the only player ever to grab both the NL and AL batting titles in their career.
Underrated contributor: (TB) Randy Arozarena and (NYY) Kyle Higashioka
Tampa already had two above average outfielders in Kiermaier and Meadows, Arozarena joined those guys to make one of the more complete outfields in the playoffs. He's already hot, batting .500 from the last series. Higashioka has been Gerrit Cole's personal catcher, but as most Yankees fans agree, he's been better than Gary Sanchez overall. We'll see if the Yanks decide to make him the starting catcher, shifting Gary to DH or left bench.
Vegas: Yankees -125
HOU vs OAK
Who to watch: (HOU) George Springer and (OAK) Chris Bassit
Even though the entire Astros offense has taken a step back, Springer has been the closest to normal for this team. Chris Bassit is having the best year of his career, posting a 2.29 ERA over 63IP.
Underrated contributor: (HOU) Cristian Javier and (OAK) Sean Murphy.
After losing Verlander, someone from the Astros rotation had to step up, and Cristian Javier was the man. Averaging under 1 WHIP, and posting a 3.48 ERA in 54.1 IP, Javier could be crucial for a Game 3 start. While the entire Athletics team has been above average, Sean Murphy has the chance to be the MVP of this team. He's posting a 1.250 OPS so far this postseason.
Vegas: Athletics -130
LAD vs SD
Who to watch: (LAD) Mookie Betts and (SD) Manny Machado
You may be looking at two of the top three MVP candidates in the NL. Mookie was on pace for a 20/20 season, all while playing Gold Glove right field. Machado is hitting the best of his career at .304/.370/.580 all while playing (you guessed it) Gold Glove third base.
Underrated contributor: (LAD) Chris Taylor and (SD) Dinelson Lamet
It's really easy to be overlooked on the Dodgers with the likes of Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. Taylor is third on the Dodgers team in WAR (1.8). He plays multiple positions for them, and is an above average hitter. DInelson Lamet missed last series with bicep discomfort. Thankfully, the Padres bullpen sort of held up in time for Lamet to be healthy for this upcoming series. While Clevinger also missed time, Lamet is considered to be a strong #2 behind him.
Vegas: Dodgers -275
MIA vs ATL
Who to watch (MIA) Jesus Aguilar and (ATL) Freddie Freeman
Aguilar is the tump in the Marlins lineup. For them to have a chance, Aguilar needs to continue his 1.083 OPS pace. Freddie Freeman is the other of the top three MVP candidates, finishing with a 186 OPS+ and a .462 OBP.
Underrated contributor (MIA) Brain Anderson and (ATL) Mark Melancon
Anderson was the Marlins best player last year. He's continued that success this year in the regular season, but has yet to have a hit in nine at bats this postseason. To prevent the scrappy Marlins from winning, Melancon needs to lock them down in the ninth. This journeyman is still an effective closer finishing the year with 11 saves.
Vegas: Braves -310