Staff picks for baseball's 2018 American League and National League Championship Series

Baltimore Sun staff writers and editors predict winners for the American League and National League Championship Series.

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Jon Meoli, Orioles beat writer: Milwaukee admirably got this far using starting pitching on a strict limit, but it's going to be difficult for them to hold down the Dodgers lineup with that method. Expect a lot of pitching changes, plenty of tense moments, and a long series. Dodgers in 7.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Brewers were underestimated for much of this season, but they've been unstoppable down the stretch and into the playoffs. Since Aug. 19, they're 31-10, including their NLDS sweep. The rest of the baseball world will continue to see why Christian Yelich is going to be this year's National League MVP and, hopefully, Orioles fans will get a glimpse or two of Jonathan Schoop. Brewers in 7.

Josh Land, editor: Manny Machado’s going to his first World Series, and sending his future earning potential through an already-likely-shattered ceiling. The Brewers are fun, and it’d be nice to see Jonathan Schoop go for a title. But the Dodgers have their eyes on a rematch with the Astros, and won’t be disappointed. Dodgers in 6.

Jen Badie, editor: No team is as hot as the Brewers right now: They haven’t lost a game since Sept. 22 (that’s an 11-game winning streak). This should be a hard-fought series; the Dodgers led the regular-season meetings between the teams, 4-3. Brewers in 7.

C.J. Doon, editor: Los Angeles led the NL in runs and home runs, and that was with just 66 games from Manny Machado, who’s tied for the postseason lead with six RBIs. The Dodgers also peaked at the right time, hitting .274/.359/.490 in September. Milwaukee’s bullpen is electric, but L.A. will do enough damage against the Brewers’ starting pitchers (remember Wade Miley, Orioles fans?) to advance to its second straight World Series. Dodgers in 6.

ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

Jon Meoli, Orioles beat writer: The Red Sox have been the best team in baseball, but even their relentless offense will be challenged by the prospect of facing Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander at least twice in this series. Houston's overall pitching advantage will be the difference. Astros in 6.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: There are a 108 regular-season reasons why the Red Sox should win this series and go all the way this year, but the Astros finished the season stronger and crushed the Indians by a combined score of 21-6 in the ALDS. Maybe they'll cool off against the Red Sox pitching staff, but I sense some late-season weakness there. Astros in 6.

Josh Land, editor: Somehow, the Astros are even better than a year ago, with Alex Bregman’s emergence adding something fresh to this unstoppable crew. If anyone left can stop them, it’s the Red Sox’s pitching staff. But they won’t. Astros in 7.

Jen Badie, editor: Again, the teams are 4-3 in their regular-season meetings. But Boston broke its team record for wins with 108: only one team with that many wins has failed to make it to the World Series. Red Sox in 6.

C.J. Doon, editor: Boston averages 5.4 runs per game, the most in baseball, while Houston gives up just 3.3, the fewest in the majors. The Astros’ 1-2 punch of starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole has been stellar, but the Red Sox’s offense is a different beast. Boston’s shaky bullpen could prove the difference, but the Red Sox will score enough to reach their first World Series since 2013. Red Sox in 7.

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