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After a shocking Wild Card game for the last spot in the National League Divisional Series, the Colorado Rockies are on their way to Milwaukee to continue their quest to return to the World Series. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves look to return to prominance. With a shot at baseball’s biggest prize in sight, who will go on to the National League Championship Series with a chance to represent the National League in the fall classic and who will go home?
Colorado Rockies vs Milwaukee Brewers
Two teams looking for their first ever World Series championship, Colorado and Milwaukee, have been to the top of the mountain but couldn’t finish the job. Prior to the Brewers switching to the National League, they represented the American League in 1982, where they fell to future rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Meanwhile the Rockies pulled off a miracle run in 2007 where they were the hottest team in baseball. However, it was not to be as they fell to the Boston Red Sox. The Brewers won their tie breaker game, a shootout between them and the Chicago Cubs. The Rockies would fall to the Dodgers in their tiebreaker game unceremoniously, with their only chance of continuing their run in October coming in a win or go home game against those same Cubs.
Player To Watch
Colorado: Left fielder Matt Holliday: Holliday, along with Chris Iannetta, are the two remaining members of that 2007 World Series runner-up team. Since leaving, he’s gained valuable post season experience with the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, including a championship in 2011 and an appearance in the World Series in 2013. In addition to providing numbers, he’ll be called upon to lead this team into battle as a veteran.
Milwaukee: Left Fielder Ryan Braun: It was five years ago that Braun was suspended from baseball for a year. After that year was over, the promising start to Braun’s career was now tarnished and derailed. While the performance enhancing drug use may have ruined any chance of a Baseball Hall of Fame run campaign, he has the chance to add “World Champion” onto his resume. With him being the unofficial leader of a team with several players who have been to the playoffs, and even on World Series championship teams, this could be the time for Braun to really cash in.
Prediction: Brewers beat the Rockies in four games
Both teams played the Cubs very well, and both teams came away with a victory at Wrigley Field. That said, this is one of the most talented Brewers teams since probably the 1980’s when they had Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper and Robin Yount. The Rockies have a good future should they maintain this team but the time just isn’t right for them yet. The Brewers have a better line up and seemingly a better rotation.
Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers
In a battle between two of the most iconic franchises in the history of the National League, the Braves and Dodgers will lock horns in hope to ignite a fire that will return their teams to prominence. The Braves look to win their first championship since 1995 when they were lead by legends like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine. The Dodgers look to add a new championship memory after their last championship, thanks in part to Kirk Gibson’s walk off home run in 1988.
Player To Watch
Atlanta: Left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr: Very few times do you see a rookie instantly become an instant game changer the way this kid has. Some experts are even saying he could be up there with Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout as the best player in baseball by the end of next year. While that would be nice, Acuña Jr has the chance to do something that Trout has yet to accomplish, become a post season hero. With this kid’s future, if he can start his postseason career off the right way, it can go a long way to his future.
Los Angeles: First baseman Max Muncy: After being released after spring training last year by the Oakland A’s and being signed to a minor league contract with the Dodgers, Muncy was called up in mid April this year, and what a difference he made. Hitting 35 home runs, staying above a .263 average, this guy proved that A’s general manager Billy Beane doesn’t always know best. If he can continue this miraculous break out season, then there’s nothing stopping him from writing his name into the history books.
Prediction: Braves in five
The Dodgers have possibly the best power hitting team in the National League. This is all well and good except for one thing, when you live and die by the big hits and the long ball, a good pitcher can slow your roll very quickly. While the Braves have a top five team in the league for pitching, their job will be to slow down the offense, which looks for knockout punches often. Where this really comes into play is the Braves have a good contact team and looks for the body punches that can help land the big blow. This will be a pitchers series, plain and simple but if Atlanta is patient and chips away, they can make this an interesting series.