Bryce Harper

ALCS & NLCS previews, schedules and predictions

Home » MLB » ALCS & NLCS previews, schedules and predictions

It’s the Rangers, Astros, Phillies and Diamondbacks as the final four in the MLB Playoffs – with the next round beginning on Sunday, we’ve put together our MLB Championship Series preview with full schedules for the ALCS and NLCS.

MLB Championship Series preview

Much has been made of the new postseason format potentially harming teams who had strong regular seasons. The juggernaut Braves were knocked out in four games, and the Dodgers fell to their divisional rival Diamondbacks in a sweep.

The Playoffs have always been about getting hot at the right time. These four teams have done just that to put themselves in with a chance of lifting the Commissioner’s Trophy.

ALCS: Rangers vs Astros preview

Houston’s dominant 9-4 record over the Rangers in the regular season is all that saw them top the AL West. Where others struggled after a few days off, the Astros needed just four games to see off the Minnesota Twins.

Texas have gone 5-0 in the postseason. They outscored the Rays 11-1 over two games before their line up battered the Orioles pitching staff in the Division Series. Bruce Bochy is eight wins away from adding a fourth ring to his collection.


ALCS Schedule

  • Game 1: Sunday, October 15 (8:15pm ET)
  • Game 2: Monday, October 16 (4:37pm ET)
  • Game 3: Wednesday, October 18 (8:03pm ET)
  • Game 4: Thursday, October 19 (8:03pm ET)
  • Game 5 (if required): Friday, October 20 (5:07pm ET)
  • Game 6 (if required): Sunday, October 22 (8:03pm ET)
  • Game 7 (if required): Monday, October 23 (8:03pm ET)

Just as their identical regular-season records indicate, these teams are very well-matched. Houston winning nine of 13 matchups this year doesn’t tell us too much about how they’ll fare in this series, but it’s still reasonable to view Dusty Baker’s team as favourites.

Texas has had some excellent performances from its starters (especially Nathan Eovaldi), but Houston has a clear edge on the bullpens. Jose Urquidy, too, appears to have hit form at the right time to back up Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez.

This is set up to be a thrilling series with two great offences going toe-to-toe. We’re expecting it to go the distance with Houston’s superior pitching seeing them just edge it.

ALCS prediction: Astros win in seven games

NLCS: Phillies vs Diamondbacks preview

Since a slow first couple of months, the Phillies have been playing at an elite level. Their line up is explosive and packed with star power. Zack Wheeler is a true ace. Behind him, they have solid enough starters and a deep, varied bullpen headlined by Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado.


Arizona’s journey to the NLCS has been impressive, too. They have won all five games against the Brewers and Dodgers, with their offence catching fire to demolish some good pitchers.

NLCS Schedule

  • Game 1: Monday, October 16 (8:07 pm ET)
  • Game 2: Tuesday, October 17 (8:07 pm ET)
  • Game 3: Thursday, October 19 (5:07 pm ET)
  • Game 4: Friday, October 20 (8:07 pm ET)
  • Game 5 (if required): Saturday, October 21 (8:07 pm ET)
  • Game 6 (if required): Monday, October 23 (5:07 pm ET)
  • Game 7 (if required): Tuesday, October 24 (8:07 pm ET)

Both bullpens have been able to convert leads into wins in the postseason, carrying on their strong ends to the regular season (they ranked third and fourth in September bullpen ERA).

Philadelphia has the better rotation on paper. Their line up has more power, yet the Diamondbacks’ offence has been able to generate runs all year. Their speed against J.T. Realmuto’s arm is a key factor in this series. It will also be interesting to see how Merrill Kelly performs behind Zac GallenTorey Lovullo’s bullpen management could be tested in non-Gallen starts.

We expect Arizona to take a couple of games, but the Phils are the superior team and that will usually be reflected over a seven-game series.

NLCS prediction: Phillies win in six games

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *