Expert picks: Can anyone stop the Indians?

ESPN Illustration

Can the Cleveland Indians follow the Chicago Cubs' lead and end their long World Series drought? Or should everyone be paying more attention to the Houston Astros in the American League? Who is coming out of the National League?

With the postseason set to start Tuesday with the AL wild-card game in New York (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), we asked 30 of our experts to give us their predictions: wild-card game winners, division series winners, League Championship Series winners and World Series winner.

Complete coverage of the 2017 postseason

American League wild-card game

Yankees: 26
Twins: 4

Dave, you're one of the few picking the Twins to beat the Yankees. Why do you think Minnesota can come into New York and win?

Honestly: Why not? The point in picking the Twins is that the Yankees shouldn't be huge favorites in one game, but almost everybody is picking them. Aside from that, I like the chances of Ervin Santana pitching well, the Twins have been pounding the ball of late, and all the pressure is on the Yankees. -- David Schoenfield

National League wild-card game

Diamondbacks: 25
Rockies: 5

Scott, how far do you think the Diamondbacks can go in the playoffs?

Zack Greinke is 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA at home this season, so it seems awfully foolish to bet against the Diamondbacks. They won't be an easy out in a short series either. Not with the righty-lefty combo of Greinke and Robbie Ray leading the rotation and an offense that's sneaky dangerous. The D-Backs went 11-8 against the Dodgers and will give their NL West rivals all they can handle in the division series. There's no reason they can't be the next wild-card team to reach the World Series. -- Scott Lauber

American League Division Series

ALDS No. 1: TBD at Indians -- Indians: 30

Everyone picked the Indians to win the ALDS. If they get tripped up, what will be the biggest reason why?

If the Yankees advance to the ALDS and find a way to get the early jump on the Indians, they'll make life awfully difficult on the Tribe. Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle logged a combined 0.37 ERA in September and struck out 72 batters in 49 innings. Good luck trying to come back against that group. -- Jerry Crasnick

ALDS No. 2: Red Sox at Astros -- Astros: 26; Red Sox: 4

Of our 30 experts, 26 picked the Astros to beat the Red Sox. Why are you picking Houston to advance?

I picked the Astros to win the World Series in the preseason, and I'm sticking with them. They have the ideal combination to win it all -- an unstoppable lineup from top to bottom, two aces at the top of the rotation (Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel are their version of Schilling and Johnson), a great bullpen with an Andrew Miller-like pitcher in Chris Devenski and a staff that will put them in the best position to succeed. They won't have much trouble with the Red Sox. -- Mark Simon

National League Division Series

NLDS No. 1: TBD at Dodgers -- Dodgers: 20; Diamondbacks: 10

A lot of our experts are picking the D-Backs over the Dodgers. What makes you think Arizona can win this series?

Four reasons: 1. They won the season series from the Dodgers 11-8 while outscoring them by 28 runs; 2. Robbie Ray dominated them with 53 K's in 31.2 innings and could get two starts; 3. Clayton Kershaw hasn't looked super-awesome since his return from the DL; 4. Good luck getting J.D. Martinez right now. -- Schoenfield

NLDS No. 2: Cubs at Nationals -- Nationals: 20; Cubs: 10

Cubs-Nationals was close among our experts, what do you think will decide this series?

Scherzer's hamstring is obviously a concern, even if he says he's fine, and we'll soon find out if Bryce Harper's 18-at-bat tuneup was enough to prepare him for the playoffs. As one MLB executive observed, "The Nationals haven't been challenged all season'' in a weak NL East. The Cubs are as loose as can be and the Nats might get tight if they fall behind early in the series. It's hard to discount the emotional weight of recent history on a team's collective mindset in the playoffs. -- Crasnick

American League Championship Series

Indians: 18
Astros: 12

Scott, why are you picking the Astros over the Indians in the AL?

If there's a powerful enough offense to beat Corey Kluber twice in a seven-game series, it's the Astros' juggernaut. Houston scored almost 900 runs with a lineup that features the unique ability to slug doubles and homers while also maintaining the lowest strikeout rate in the majors. And while it didn't get as much attention as the Indians' record 22-game winning streak, the Astros went 21-8 in the season's final month, taking them into the playoffs with plenty of momentum. -- Lauber

National League Championship Series

Nationals: 12
Dodgers: 10
Cubs: 5
Diamondbacks: 3

Eric, you're one of three voters picking the Diamondbacks to win the NL. What makes you think Arizona can go from the wild card to the World Series?

I like Arizona's chances with Greinke in the wild-card game against the Rockies, and the Diamondbacks match up well with the Dodgers, as they boast quite a few right-handed power hitters against the L.A. lefties. So what if the Dodgers won the most games this season? That means nothing. The Diamondbacks swept each of the past two series and are playing well in September. -- Eric Karabell

World Series

Indians: 16
Astros: 7
Nationals: 4
Dodgers: 3

Dave, you were the only one to pick the Nationals in the preseason. Why are you sticking with that pick?

Max Scherzer's hamstring makes me a little nervous, but I had Nationals over Astros before the season, so I decided to stick with that. Stephen Strasburg is throwing as well as any pitcher in the game right now with the possible exception of Corey Kluber, the bullpen is deeper with the in-season reinforcements of Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler, and we know they can score runs (especially if Bryce Harper gets back in the groove). -- Schoenfield

The Indians ended up the overwhelming favorite among our experts to win it all. Why are they your pick?

Last year's Indians team got all the way to Game 7 of the World Series with Kluber and wishful thinking to start their games in October, a bullpen that had to work especially hard as a result, and a bad defensive outfield. This year's team reaches October with the rotation firing on all cylinders and a pen that's deeper than ever. There are still some defensive question marks in the outfield, but the infield's tighter with Jose Ramirez at second. Terry Francona knows how to put this year's stronger roster to work, to win series that go five, seven or 162. Who's going to win it all? This year there's no more waiting 'til next year for the Indians. -- Christina Kahrl