The Major League Baseball season has officially ended, and the playoffs have officially started with the Wild Card games Tuesday and Wednesday. If you’re not necessarily a huge baseball fan, or if 162 games makes for too long of a season for you to pay attention, then take this as your one-stop shop for the MLB playoffs.
Action kicked off yesterday as the Baltimore Orioles took on the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto. Though the American League (AL) East had the division winner with the lowest win number, they also brought both of these two teams to the playoffs as the Wild Cards, each time with an 89-73 record on the season. The Orioles are coming into this, 8-4 in their last 12 games, while the Blue Jays are only 7-5 in the same amount of games. However, the Blue Jays took the last series against division leading Boston Red Sox, while the Orioles dropped the series to the top team in their division.
Today brings some National League (NL) action to the Playoffs with the New York Mets facing off against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field in New York. The Mets put up a solid 87-75 record, while finishing second in the NL East behind the Washington Nationals and the Giants gained the same record finishing second in the NL West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants are coming off of a solid 4-game sweep of the Dodgers and are hoping this hot streak against a top team will continue into the post-season.
The Giants have excelled in past even-yeared playoff runs, taking the World Series Pennant home in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The Giants first test is the Mets, who lost to the Kansas City Royals in the World Cup last year. Unlike their opponents, the Mets are coming off of two straight losses that broke their four game winning streak at the end of the season.
Wild Card games are a winner-take-all best of one gauntlet that these four teams will face to try to make it into the division series.
In the division series, the AL kicks off the fun again as the winner of the Wild Card game will go head-to-head with the Texas Rangers. Similar to the Mets, the Rangers are coming off of a three game losing streak coming into the playoffs, dropping those three to the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the worst teams in the AL. While the Rangers have been to the World Series games twice since 2010, they dropped both Pennants to the NL.
On the same days, the Red Sox face off against the Cleveland Indians, in a match of the AL teams with the second and third best records. The Indians are recently on a four-game winning streak going into the playoffs and will hope to continue their success in the most important games of the year. The Red Sox are coming off of the aforementioned three straight losses to the Blue Jays and will be glad to avoid having to play them just yet, or possibly at all.
All AL games will be played on Oct. 6,7 and 9 with games four and five on Oct. 10 and 12 if needed.
On the NL side of things, the winner of the Giants and the Mets will face off against the MLB-leading Chicago Cubs. The Cubs come into the playoffs as the only team in the majors to have 100 wins this season and will look to finally get another Pennant for their fans, their last one coming in 1908, 108 years ago. This is the Cubs’ second year in the playoffs under manager Joe Madden. They will now look to fight for success as the play against the team who have won the last three even-yeared World Cups or the team who pushed them out of playoffs last year.
In the next set of games, the Dodgers will face off against the Nationals in the battle of the NL teams with the second and third best records. The Dodgers have the lowest win-count of any of the teams who clinched their division with 91 wins and are happy to not be playing the Giants in this round after their recent 4 game losing streak to the San Francisco team. The Nationals are the opposite, coming off of a recent 3 game winning streak against the Miami Marlins.
NL games will take place Oct. 7,8 and 10, with games four and five being played on Oct. 11 and 13 if necessary.
The Championship Series for the AL will consist of a best of seven from the winning teams of the Divisional Series and will take place place between Oct. 14 and Oct. 22. The NL Championship Series will be the same as the AL, but with National Teams and will take place between Oct. 15 and Oct. 23.
The final series, the World Cup will take place from Oct. 25 and Nov. 2 and this will determine the best team in baseball this year. It will be interesting to see which wins it all to come out on top this year as the champion.