Get ready for a wild, fun, and out of your seat Major League Baseball playoffs
Through Martin rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
Here we are, Major League Baseball playoffs, what do you have for us? Just a warning, though, we’ve been spoiled for the past few months so better be good.
With October now upon us, the annual turnover of elimination baseball comes with the most exciting, unpredictable and fun time in the ongoing cycle of the old historic sport.
However, after a regular season that brought an embarrassment of wealth when it came to superb individual performances, a spectacular surge of young talent, and a breathtaking end to divisional slugfests and wilderness madness, the playoffs had to. We have their work cut out for them if they will match what came before them.
“This regular season has been one of the most exciting in memory,” FOX Sports MLB writer Ben Verlander told me in a phone conversation this week. “The consensus is that it was just great. It was mainly due to some outstanding young players standing up, which says a lot about the game and brings a new take on the sport.
“Then you have two teams that are going to pedal to metal in the last few weeks, well over 100 wins, but still having to give it their all on the home stretch. Then the last three hours of the last Sunday of the season have been some of the most exciting baseballs we’ve seen in a long time. “
The kids who ignite the sport are led by Shohei Ohtani of Los Angeles Angeles, whose two-way exploits defied all common baseball thought and were a joy to see. Along with other intrepid hitters like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., baseball has some real box office superstars to hang its hat on.
Still, for all the individual brilliance – Ohtani hit 46 home runs and collected 100 RBIs while going 9-2 with 151 strikeouts on the mound – the most intriguing part of the campaign might have been in the battle to get there. to this bit, here, where everything is amplified and where the margin of error is reduced to almost nothing.
This is certainly the case for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have won 106 games but face a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night as they finished one game behind the extraordinary San Francisco Giants. in the Western National League.
No one wants their campaign to be based on a single nine-innings window, so the Giants and Dodgers have been pushing hard in recent weeks. No rest, recovery and setting up their playoff pitching rotation here. In the last 10 games, the Giants have gone 8-2, while the Dodgers have burned down at 9-1, but have always fallen short.
The San Francisco Giants won their first NL West Division title since 2012 with an 11-4 victory over the San Diego Padres. San Francisco will face the Los Angeles Dodgers or the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.
In the American League, mass chaos almost ensued as, at the start of the final day, the possibility of a four-way tie for wildcard positions remained possible. All kinds of weird permutations would have been necessary to fix this problem. In the end, that wasn’t necessary as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were both minding the business and will now face each other at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.
There’s not much more story than that, a fitting way to kick off the roller coaster that should ensue over the coming month, with knockout games adding a wrinkle to any attempt at prediction.
Consider this though, Dodgers are always favorites to win it all with FOX Bet (+400), despite the fact that their season could be over by Wednesday night.
@CespedesBBQ’s Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman discuss the Los Angeles Dodgers’ chances of making it to the World Series.
If prior knowledge is to be useful, it’s to tell us that the current form counts for something, but not everything, that resilience and a few flashes of luck are powerfully welcomed factors, and that whatever you do you were waiting could be thrown out the window.
It is also that new stars will come out of the obscurity to help their teams, thinks Randy Arozarena for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020, or Juan Soto for the Washington Nationals a year before.
“Everyone has so many plans and you expect certain things from the big stars on another team,” Verlander added. “Sometimes someone has to come out of nowhere to have the biggest impact.”
Once things get started on Tuesday night, the action barely slows down and everything is in play, back closer to what we’re used to after the slightly odd (but necessary) changes made last time around to accommodate 16 teams. in the playoffs of a COVID-curtailed 2020 campaign.
“The goal,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters, “is to start a new season in the playoffs.”
This new season is going to be a seat edge thing, the format and structure practically guarantee that. If that matches what we’ve seen in recent months, we’re going to have a blast.
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.
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