MLB Playoffs 2019: Latest World Series Bracket, Predictions and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 12, 2019

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates his solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays with Carlos Correa (1) during the eighth inning of Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Only one of the four teams left in the Major League Baseball postseason has qualified for the World Series since 2014. 

Houston is looking for its second Fall Classic trip in three years, and it holds home-field advantage in the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. 

A.J. Hinch's side defeated the Yankees at this stage two years ago, and it has the arms capable of silencing the opposing bats. 

Houston is favored to win the ALCS, per Caesars, and it sits at -155 (bet $155 to win $100) to take Saturday's Game 1.

In the National League Championship Series, Washington holds an early edge, but the momentum could swing back in St. Louis' favor due to its starting pitching. 

If the Cardinals come back from the one-game deficit, they will make their third World Series appearance since 2011. Washington is searching for its first. 

However, the Nationals enter Game 2 as the favorite at -140, while St. Louis is a home underdog at +130 (bet $100 to win $130).

                             

Postseason Bracket

ALCS: No. 2 New York vs. No. 1 Houston 

NLCS: No. 4 Washington vs. No. 3 St. Louis (Washington leads 1-0)

                   

World Series Prediction

Houston vs. St. Louis

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Despite needing five games to get out of the ALDS, Houston sits in a good position to earn a return trip to the World Series. 

Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are in line to start four of the seven games if the series goes the distance. 

After Zack Greinke opens the seven-game set, Verlander is slated to throw in Game 2 and Cole in Game 3. 

Game 2 will be key for the Astros, as Verlander is back on full rest. In Game 4 versus Tampa Bay, the 36-year-old was hit hard in a rare appearance on short rest. 

In his last five ALCS starts, the former Detroit pitcher has given up nine earned runs, and in 2017, he limited the Yankees to a single run over 16 home innings. 

Cole has not suffered a defeat since May, and since the start of September, he has conceded two earned runs once. 

If the pair of 20-game winners keep up the same high level, they would hand the Astros four wins on their own. 

Even if one of them struggles, Houston's offense can back them up. The bulk of Houston's order thrived two years ago in the ALCS. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman and George Springer combined to go 30-of-126 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. 

Yankees relievers Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman gave up five runs in that series, so that proves their bullpen is far from perfect. 

If Houston knocks a few runs off New York's bullpen again, it could edge out the series before it has to call Cole in a potential Game 7. 

St. Louis lost its NLCS opener at home, but it is still in a decent spot to recover with Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty taking the mound in the next two games. 

Wainwright was 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA in home regular-season starts, and Flaherty had a 0.91 ERA in the second half. 

Washington's offense was not impressive in Game 1, as it recorded two runs on 10 hits. The visitors left 13 runners on base while Anibal Sanchez twirled a one-hit gem over 7.2 innings. 

If the Nationals continue to waste scoring opportunities, they could be headed home, especially if St. Louis' bats wake up. 

Mike Shildt's team tagged Game 2 starter Max Scherzer for eight runs on 15 hits in two regular-season meetings. 

The Cardinals also hit Stephen Strasburg well September 16, so they could neutralize Washington's starters through the power of Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, Yadier Molina and others. 

If St. Louis gets the best of the right-handers and takes the lead through Flaherty in Game 3, it may not face another NLCS deficit. 


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Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference

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