MLB Postseason: Expect the Unexpected
We have made it through the grind of 162 regular season games.
The MLB season gave us drama all the way to the end.
We had an historically amazing race in the National League West with both the Giants and Dodgers going well past 100 wins. The American League wild card race had four teams fighting for two spots down to the last couple of days.
No-hitters in 2021 were commonplace. We also witnessed Shohei Ohtani do things that none of us have ever seen before. That was all in the regular season, now we have made it to the best time of the year for baseball fans. The final 10 teams playing for one World Series title.
The imperfect ten gives fans a little bit of everything. Legendary managers Dusty Baker and Tony LaRussa are back in baseball’s postseason.
The Tampa Bay Rays won 100 games and were in the World Series last year and they still don’t have a household name. The Braves lost Acuna early in the season but found a way to win the NL East. Milwaukee is back and seeking their first title. The Cardinals at one point won 17 games in a row. We will get Boston and New York in a one game scenario, and we could get the Dodgers and Giants in a five-game series.
This should be fun, a lot of fun.
The postseason has turned into bullpens. How many guys can you bring out of the pen that can throw close to 100 and get your team out of high leverage situations. As much as we spotlight each team’s staff ace, and they are still important, we really need to look at the back end of games in the postseason.
What happens from the sixth inning on seems to be the true indicator of where games and series are won or lost.
Tampa Bay Rays: This is a complete baseball team. They don’t have a lot of flaws and they know it. They lost Blake Snell in the offseason. Tyler Glasnow went down with Tommy John surgery and this team still won 100 games. They defend, they pitch well and adding Wander Franco and Nelson Cruz to their lineup makes them even more dangerous. Add in last year’s World Series experience and this team is a major threat.
Houston Astros: People may not want to forget about the cheating Astros and back then this team tried to tell everyone they were good and they have proven to be good. Only the Dodgers have played more playoff games in the last six years. They have been through a lot including those critical postseason battles. It may not be their best team but they are still very good.
Chicago White Sox: The reason the Chicago White Sox got Tony LaRussa was to advance them farther along in the playoffs. LaRussa is here and the White Sox are back in the playoffs.
They haven’t been completely healthy all season but LaRussa could be the one to help get them over the top. This team has a good lineup and enough pitching. If LaRussa can pull the right strings, Chicago could be very dangerous.
Boston Red Sox: Every postseason there is a team that advances when people aren’t expecting it. Boston could be out quickly based on a one game wild card game with the Yankees.
If they do win, then what? Boston would get Tampa Bay. The Rays would be favored, but Boston knows them very well. Boston has a mix and matched type roster but they do have some veterans that have had big October moments. Boston seems like a long shot but baseball thrives on producing long shots.
New York Yankees: The best version of the Yankees is really good. Unfortunately they have a streaky version too and that group isn’t that impressive. So which team will be here in October?
Tough to know, but going into the postseason the Yankees have Judge and Stanton both mashing at the same time. The stress of a one game situation with Boston will take a lot out of the winner and with Tampa waiting, it could be a short run for either team.
San Francisco Giants: How did this team win 107 games?
They were steady all year long. Steady can imply that they weren’t good and that is not true. The Giants had good months every month of the baseball season. First team to 50 wins, 60 wins, 70 wins, 80 wins, 90 wins and of course 100. They held off a hard charging Dodgers team with an amazing consistency. The oldest every day lineup prevailed and the role players have an amazing knack of coming through.
The Giants are best setup to advance far with home field throughout. A potential land mine could show up quickly with a possible matchup with the 106 win Dodgers. The Giants should feel proud of what they accomplished but now it’s time to still prove the remaining doubters wrong.
Milwaukee Brewers: Pitching in the postseason gives you a chance and the Brewers have a really strong starting staff. Josh Hader at the back end will make them a very tough out. They have enough offense and a good opening draw with the Braves. Watch out for Milwaukee as a team that could do a lot of damage in this postseason.
Atlanta Braves: The Braves are going to try and counter that great pitching of the Brewers with a lineup that can just mash. The Braves have a lot of pop in their lineup but I still think they miss Acuna. Atlanta had their chances last season but couldn’t close out LA with that 3-1 series lead.
Los Angeles Dodgers: It feels like the defending champs had a down year and they won 106 games. They had injury issues, Cody Bellinger couldn’t hit and the bullpen at times was scary. All those negatives and if it wasn’t for the Giants they would have had baseball’s best record.
This team also added Trea Turner and Max Scherzer during the season. The fear is they are in a one game playoff with the NL wild card and one bad day they can be knocked out. This team has so much potential to repeat but they will have a tough road to get there. If they do it they will definitely earn it.
St. Louis Cardinals: They are playing their best baseball right now. They won 17 games in a row. 17! This storied franchise had never had a team do that. They usually peak right now and they are doing it again. I am certain the Dodgers aren’t excited to be facing them.