Seattle Times picks

Ryan Divish

AL pennant: Astros

NL pennant: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers

Mariners: Mariners over Blue Jays in WC round, lose to Astros in ALDS.

Larry Stone

AL pennant: Blue Jays

NL pennant: Braves

World Series: In a rematch of the 1992 World Series, the Blue Jays win again, this time in seven games instead of six.

Mariners: Not locking up the No. 1 wild-card seed (or the No. 3, for that matter) will come back to haunt the Mariners. The Blue Jays in Toronto are a formidable foe, and I foresee the Mariners getting ousted in three hard-fought games.

Matt Calkins

AL pennant: Yankees

NL pennant: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers

Mariners: The offensive force of the Blue Jays will overpower the Mariners despite the prowess of their starting pitching. Home-field will be the difference, and Toronto will prevail in three.

Adam Jude

AL pennant: Rays

NL pennant: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers

Mariners: After beating the Blue Jays, the Mariners will fall to AL West rival Houston.

Shane Lantz

AL pennant: Yankees

NL pennant: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers over Yankees in six games

Mariners: The Mariners will beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild card series thanks to their strong pitching and a few homers from Julio Rodriguez, but will see their season ended by the dreaded Astros in the ALDS.

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(Illustration by The Sporting Press for The Seattle Times)

National media picks

Mark Feinsand, MLB.com

AL pennant: Astros

NL pennant: Braves

World Series: Astros

Mariners: Win wild card round in three games over Blue Jays, lose to Astros in ALDS.

Alyson Footer, MLB.com

AL pennant: Astros

NL pennant: Braves

World Series: Astros

Mariners: Lose in WC round to Blue Jays in three games.

Mark Feinsand, MLB.com

AL pennant: Astros

NL pennant: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers

Mariners: Beat Blue Jays in WC round in three games, lose to Astros in four games.

Will Laws, Sports Illustrated

World Series prediction: Braves over Mariners in six games

Comment:

I had the Astros beating Atlanta at midseason, but that was before Seattle acquired Luis Castillo. The two AL West rivals haven’t met since the trade deadline, and I think Castillo leads the Mariners, who are playing with house money, and their sneakily fearsome roation to the World Series. But I have them running into the defending champs, who lead the majors in winning percentage (.703), runs per game (5.2) and bullpen ERA (2.72) since June 1, when Michael Harris and Spencer Strider were in the first week of their respective starting roles. Those adjustments have helped the Braves become an even better team than they were last year, and if Strider returns from his tweaked oblique in due time—admittedly a big if—I think we’ll see MLB’s first repeat champs since 2000, led by Acuña, their superstar who wasn’t around for last year’s run.

Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

World Series prediction: Dodgers over Astros in seven games

Comment:

A bye through the first round and home field advantage throughout makes the deepest team in baseball hard to beat.

Freeman is slashing .340/.427/.538 against right-handed pitching, an important slash line against the right-handed-heavy Astros. He is hitting .389 with RISP, including only 18 strikeouts in 197 plate appearances. Be it April or October, Freeman is on the very short list of hitters you want up at the plate in key spots.

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FOX Sports: Ben Verlander, Deesha Thosar, Jake Mintz, Jordan Shusterman, Pedro Moura, Rowan Kavner and Alex Rodgriuez

All seven experts pick the Blue Jays to beat the Mariners.

Comment (from Deesha Thosar):

As much as I love a good underdog story and the Mariners should be commended for ending the longest playoff drought in MLB, the Blue Jays are going to take this series on their home turf because they’re the better team — and because they’re even better within the confines of Toronto’s hostile environment. 

There will be postseason baseball at Rogers Centre for the first time since the 2016 ALCS. That home-field advantage is significant for a team that feeds off its rowdy and energetic fan base. The Mariners went 5-2 against the Jays this season, but both of those losses came in Toronto.

Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic

Mariners listed as a team most likely to surprise.

Comment:

Picking any visiting team to win a postseason series at the sure-to-be-frenzied Rogers Centre in Toronto probably is a bad idea. The Mariners’ pitching depth figures to be less of an advantage in a best-of-three than it would be in a best-of-five or best-of-seven. And among postseason qualifiers, only the Rays have scored fewer runs. The Mariners walk and hit home runs, and not much more.

Mike Axisa, CBS Sports

Bold prediction: There will be a a walkoff in Mariners-Blue Jays series.

Comment:

The Blue Jays vs. Mariners matchup seems ripe for walk-off shenanigans. The series will be played in Toronto, so sorry Mariners fans, your team is going to be on the wrong end of our predicted walk-off. I’m going to say Teoscar Hernández does the honors with a ninth inning homer against Paul Sewald this Sunday, complete with a José Bautista-caliber bat flip. It has been foretold.