Expert picks for the 2018 MLB postseason

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Can the Houston Astros repeat as champions? Or will the 108-win Boston Red Sox wrap up their historic season with a title? Who is coming out of the wide-open National League?

With the postseason set to start Tuesday with the NL wild-card game (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), we asked 27 of our experts to give us their predictions: wild-card game winners, division series winners, league championship series winners and World Series winner.


American League wild-card game

Yankees: 17
A's: 10

Why are you picking the Yankees?

Both teams will mash a big homer or two early, but the Yankees will win the battle of the bullpens, scoring against Oakland's setup men before the game gets to Blake Treinen. -- Christina Kahrl, MLB editor

Why are you picking the A's?

During my brief time around the A's in September, I got the sense they couldn't care less where they play the wild-card game. These guys are a loose and confident group, and they won't be fazed by Yankee Stadium. The A's are 39-22 in their past 61 road games, and they absolutely mash outside of Oakland Coliseum. Oakland leads the majors in runs, home runs, total bases and OPS on the road. I'm not confident the A's can make a deep October run with that starting pitching. But I can see them going into Yankee Stadium, stealing a game behind that deep bullpen and giving Khris Davis, Matt Chapman & Co. a shot at Boston in the division series. -- Jerry Crasnick

National League wild-card game

Cubs: 20
Rockies: 7

Why are you picking the Cubs?

The Cubs' multitude of offensive weapons gives them advantages in the matchup games against the Rockies' bullpen. -- Kahrl

Why are you picking the Rockies?

I'm a big fan of momentum and trends, even though they aren't scientifically proven at all. So how do we find momentum, or any trends, for two teams that lost a game Monday in order to get to a wild-card game? The Rockies enter having played better than the Cubs since Sept. 1 -- a .615 win percentage compared with .556. And they're the road team -- road teams are 7-5 in wild-card games. -- Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information


American League Division Series

ALDS No. 1: TBD at Red Sox -- Red Sox: 20; Yankees: 4; A's: 3

Why are you picking the Red Sox?

Unless the Yankees (whom I picked in the wild card) get extra aggressive with early hooks, they can't hope to keep Boston's offense in check, and even then, I wouldn't bet against the Red Sox scoring off the Yankees' vaunted pen. -- Kahrl

Why did you pick the A's over the Red Sox?

First off, the A's are good. They may be an unconventional good team due to the lack of starting pitching depth, but they can bullpen their way through a short series. Plus, they hit home runs, and there are enough concerns about Chris Sale's velocity and ability to pitch deep into games that the A's can pull off the upset (not to mention the cloud hanging over David Price's teams going 0-9 in the postseason when he starts). -- David Schoenfield

ALDS No. 2: Indians at Astros -- Astros: 15; Indians: 12

Why are you picking the Indians?

Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are great players, and they've had a lot of time to think about the crushing disappointment of losing to the Yankees in the 2017 ALDS. Unlike last year, when the Indians were coming off a 22-game winning streak and they were everyone's postseason darlings, they enter this postseason as relative afterthoughts to the Red Sox, Astros and Yankees. It's a concern for the Indians that Andrew Miller and Cody Allen combined to allow 13 runs in 19⅓ innings in September. But the starting pitching is really good, and Josh Donaldson has the potential to be a big X factor in October. Outside of Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel and George Springer, the Houston offense looked ordinary in the final month. The Astros hitters will have to raise their game against that Cleveland pitching staff if they want to advance. -- Crasnick

National League Division Series

NLDS No. 1: TBD at Brewers -- Brewers: 24; Cubs: 3

Why are you picking the Brewers?

Milwaukee has the stronger lineup and the deeper bullpen, and Brewers manager Craig Counsell won't be outmaneuvered by anybody, not even Joe Maddon. The best hope the Cubs have is that Kris Bryant and Javier Baez choose this series to get hot and take over for a few games the way few other hitters can. -- Kahrl

I'm predicting the Cubs to beat the Rockies, but I like the September run the Brewers went on (20-7 the final month, including eight in a row to end the season), and I don't like the way the Cubs have been struggling at the plate. The Brewers' lineup is a little soft at the bottom, but Ryan Braun was terrific in August and September, giving more support to Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar. And the bullpen? The best in the NL. -- Schoenfield

NLDS No. 2: Braves at Dodgers -- Dodgers: 26; Braves: 1

You're the only one who picked the Braves. Why?

In what has already been a year of overachieving, why can't the Braves carry that into the postseason? Yes, these Dodgers are more playoff-tested than Atlanta's youngsters. And, yes, Los Angeles took five of seven from the Braves during the regular season. But Freddie Freeman's .309 batting average and .892 OPS, Ronald Acuna Jr.'s .552 slugging percentage and Ozzie Albies' 105 runs scored all have to count for something. Admittedly, much of this is based on having seen the Braves firsthand (and not covering a Dodgers game this year). Although they lost two of three at Yankee Stadium when the Bronx Bombers were playing some of their best ball of the season, the Braves still looked like a fearless bunch earlier this summer. That experience, among other things, could help make them a surprise this postseason. -- Coley Harvey


American League Championship Series

Red Sox 10
Astros: 9
Indians: 6
Yankees: 2

Why are you picking the Astros over the Red Sox?

I know it's vogue to talk bullpens, but the Astros' advantage in starting pitching is telling, and the Red Sox's relief crew outside of Craig Kimbrel can be beaten by Houston's grinding offense. -- Kahrl

National League Championship Series

Dodgers: 14
Brewers: 11
Cubs: 1
Braves: 1

Why are you picking the Dodgers?

The Dodgers haven't necessarily been the best National League team all year, but they've been strong when it's mattered. Their past two wins, in Games 162 and 163, are perfect examples of that -- they roared out to big leads. Their bullpen raises some concerns, but ultimately the Dodgers went 50-0 this season when they led by four runs at any point. Seems like a pretty good recipe for success. No other team went undefeated in such games. -- Langs


World Series

Astros: 8
Red Sox: 7
Dodgers: 5
Indians: 5
Brewers: 1
Yankees: 1

Why did you pick the Astros over the Dodgers?

We haven't seen a World Series champion repeat since the Yankees won three straight from 1998 to 2000. But we also haven't seen a World Series champion get better in that subsequent season the way the Astros did. Houston had a better run differential, better starters ERA and better bullpen ERA this season than last. The Astros scored fewer runs per game, but the good pitching can make up for that. They're the fifth team in the divisional era to win 100 games as the reigning champion. Each of the previous four reached the World Series in that subsequent season, and two of them won it. -- Langs

Why did you pick the Indians over the Brewers?

The Astros and Dodgers are the most complete teams in baseball, it's tough to pick against a Boston club that won 108 games and the Yankees have more than enough talent to reach the World Series. But the core of this Cleveland team has been together awhile, and I think the Indians have a burning desire to finally seal the deal. Milwaukee's starting pitching is obviously a concern. But the Brewers have tremendous team chemistry, a deep and dangerous lineup led by Christian Yelich, and an exceptional bullpen. The National League field is sufficiently flawed for them to win a couple of rounds and make this an all-Midwest World Series. -- Crasnick

Why are you picking the Astros?

I'll stick with my preseason pick. No team has repeated since the 1998-2000 Yankees, but the Astros are the most well-rounded team: Good rotation, deep and strong bullpen, they hit home runs, don't strike out excessively and they play good defense. The biggest concerns are Carlos Correa's lack of production as he plays through a back injury and Charlie Morton's late-season shoulder discomfort, but the Astros have the lineup and pitching depth to overcome those issues. -- Schoenfield

Why did you pick the Astros over Brewers?

We might hear some grumbling about the two teams, but it goes seven in a fun matchup that gives us a lot of close, dramatic games that are must-watch TV. -- Kahrl