NL playoffs come into swing

National League playoff preview

The Quill's MLB expert Sam Poli gives his views on baseball's postseason

photoshopped by Mr. Rogers

The Quill's MLB expert Sam Poli gives his views on baseball's postseason

It’s September, so that means one thing to many people; football.

But for me, and hopefully others out there, I still see it as baseball season. 

The Reds suck, despite Braden Connor who says the Reds will win it all.

Even with our beloved hometown team out of contention, there are still many interesting things happening on the diamond, such as: the wild card chase, watching the cubs win their first championship since 1908, or watching them choke. 

All questions will be answered as the countdown of the fall classic begins. 

NL East: Washington Nationals.

041716_harper-homer_1200
Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper celebrate. http://media.philly.com/images/800*533/041716_harper-homer_1200.jpg

While Bryce Harper has struggled after his MVP campaign last season, Washington has found a golden ticket by signing Daniel Murphy, who is on track to win a batting title.

Washington has also seen production from Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.

Their pitching staff has been fantastic and their ace, Max Scherzer leads the NL in strikeouts. The only problem is Stephen Strasburg, who has struggled with injuries.

This may slow them down, but as of right now I see the Nats securing a two seed.

NL Central: Chicago Cubs

Without a doubt, the best team in baseball.

The Cubs have three Cy Young candidates in Jake Arrieta who won it in 2015, Kyle Hendricks who has the best ERA in baseball (2.07), and veteran southpaw Jon Lester.

Their bullpen is anchored by Cuban missile and former Red, Aroldis Chapman. The starting eight is scary good, led by probable MVP Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo who leads the team in RBIs (97), and gold glove shortstop Addison Russell. 

The Cubs will take the one seed in the NL and look to end their 108 year losing streak. 

“The Cubs are young and hungry for a title,” says Josh Powell. “I see them taking care of business this October.” 

NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers 

clayton-kershaw9
Clayton Kershaw looks to make a comeback for the postseason. http://14009-presscdn-0-81.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Clayton-Kershaw9.jpg

The Giants have dropped off since the All-Star break, so the Dodgers have seized control.

Led by rookie shortstop, Corey Seager and veterans Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner. What’s frightening is that the Dodgers have been playing well without long time ace Clayton Kershaw.

Kents Maeda and prospect Julio Urias have stepped up on the hill for LA, and when Kershaw returns, we are looking at a true World Series contender. The Dodgers will likely take the three seed, and look to surprise the rest of the league this fall. 

Wild Card: San Francisco Giants and New York Mets 

Giants: Despite the struggles the Giants have had in the second half, they still maintain a position to keep home field in the Wild Card. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto provide a dynamic duo on the mound, but it seems that is all they have. 

Their offensive production has dropped and their bullpen is solid, but have three different players on the disabled list. I certainly have my doubts, but if the pattern remains then the Giants will take home their fourth ring in six years. 

Cespedes looks to propel New York's offense
Cespedes looks to propel New York’s offense. http://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/488229140/640×0.jpg?fit=scale

Mets: Like the Giants, the Mets have also struggled in the second half , but show promise in the playoffs with a now healthy Yoenis Cespedes.

The Bruce trade may end up paying off, but he has only hit .200 for New York. In order for them to advance, the pitching staff has to be on fire and the Mets need someone besides Cespedes to step up at the plate.

Last year, it was Daniel Murphy, but he’s long gone. The Mets will secure the second wild card spot and look for consecutive World Series appearances. 

While I have decided on the Mets and Giants as my wild card teams, Josh Powell saw it differently.

“Every time the Cardinals are in it; they pose a threat. They’re not far back and I see them as a team that can win,” says Powell.

JP certainly has a point, but Chicago is like a freight train. If they are stopped, then it has to be early on. Once the Cubbies get rolling, they are nearly impossible to stop; nearly. 

For further projections this fall go to this link: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-mlb-predictions/