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The SnakePit Guide to the Championship Series

And then there were fou.... uh, still five?

National League Championship Series Game 3: Atlanta Braves v. Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

That was quite the interesting set of games in the Division Series. All four match-ups proved to have something to offer. We saw the dispatch of the Dodgers by the Padres; the Phillies upset the Braves; the Astros swept the Mariners, but the individual games were all close, with a total margin of four runs over the the three games; and the Yankees-Guardians series went all the way to a deciding game. Especially on the National League side, the unpredictability of the playoffs has been present in abundance. The NLCS sees a battle between teams which won 89 and 87 wins in the regular season. It’s the first full season ever that a Championship Series will be between two sub-90 victory teams.

We are back at the regular 2-3-2 format, with a travel days between each leg, and the National League beginning a day in advance of the American League, so there will be no days without any games (well, until a series finishes!). The NLCS will be screened on Fox and/or FS1, while the ALCS can be seen on Fox. With there being only two series overlapping, the start times might be a little bit more civilized: typically no earlier than 1:37 pm, Arizona time. So at least there’ll be no awkward morning baseball. Here’s a look at the two Championship Series, along with our usual polls as to the preferred and anticipated outcomes.

Guardians/Yankees @ Astros

  • Regular season: Guardians 92 wins, Yankees 99 wins, Astros 106 wins
  • Odds: Yankees +130, Astros -150; Guardians +175, Astros -205
  • ex-Diamondbacks: Guardians - Bryan Shaw, Alex Young; Yankees - Tim Locastro, Anthony Banda; Astros - None

Well, thanks to today's game being rained out, this match-up remains undecided. The Yankees and Guardians will try again tomorrow, with the winner getting straight onto a plane and heading for Houston, with the first game taking place on Wednesday. Whoever goes through will be an underdog, especially if that should be the Guardians. Cleveland haven't won a World Series since 1948, so will probably be the sentimental favorites. The Astros still carry the stench of TrashCangate, while the Yankees remain the Evil Empire (East coast division). But the road to the World Series goes through Houston, though we'll see if their long lay-off affects them: they'll have had four days off to recover from their 18-inning marathon in Seattle.

Poll

Who do you WANT to win?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Guardians
    (10 votes)
  • 16%
    Astros
    (3 votes)
  • 27%
    Yankees
    (5 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who do you think WILL win?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Guardians
    (0 votes)
  • 72%
    Astros
    (13 votes)
  • 27%
    Yankees
    (5 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

Phillies @ Padres

  • Regular season: Phillies 87 wins, Padres (89)
  • Odds: Phillies +105, Padres -125
  • ex-Diamondbacks: Phillies - Didi Gregorius, Chris Devenski; Padres - Brandon Drury, Sergio Alcantara;

This is, it’s safe to say, not the NLCS people expected to see. Both teams were heavy underdogs in the Division Series, with the Phillies having a regular season record 14 games worse than the Braves, and the Padres 22 games behind the Dodgers. No team had previously overcome such a disparity in the Division Series: now, there have bee two. It does make it hard to pick one of these sides as being this year’s “team of destiny”, since they both seem to have comparable claims to that title. The Phillies have at least got a couple of World Series wins under their historical belt, something the Padres have yet to achieve. But on the other hand, the Padres and their fans would be unbearable. So personally, I’m for the Phillies.

Poll

Who do you WANT to win?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Phillies
    (10 votes)
  • 56%
    Padres
    (13 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who do you think WILL win?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Phillies
    (4 votes)
  • 81%
    Padres
    (18 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now