MLB Postseason Preview
The regular season of Major League Baseball came to a close on Sunday, but there is still plenty of baseball left to be played, as October is now upon us. Postseason baseball will begin on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Wild Card games, while the Division Series begin on Thursday.
The final Sunday saw two teams clinch their divisions. With the Pirates 4-1 loss to the Reds, the Cardinals clinched the NL Central, and with a win, the Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central over the Kansas City Royals. The playoff picture is officially set.
In the American League Wild Card round, the Oakland Athletics will travel to Kansas City to face the Royals on Tuesday night at 8 ET on TBS. Oakland will throw trade deadline acquisition Jon Lester against fourteen game winner James Shields. Kansas City, making their first postseason appearance since 1985, will look to beat a struggling Athletics team who finished 27-37 in the second half after having one of the best records in baseball. The winner of this game will go on to face the AL West champion, Los Angeles Angels. The Angels finished with the best record in baseball at 98-64 and will start Jared Weaver in game one of the ALDS. The AL Central winning Tigers will play the AL East champion Orioles in Baltimore. The Orioles will start Chris Tillman in game one. The Tigers have not announced their starter.
In the National League, the Pittsburgh Pirates could have caught the Cardinals for the Central crown with a sweep or a 3-1 record in the last 4 games depending on the results of the St. Louis-Arizona series. However, the Pirates lost two of three to Cincinnati and the Cardinals won the series against the Diamondbacks. So, Pittsburgh will face the San Francisco Giants at home in the National League Wild Card game Wednesday night at 8 ET on ESPN. Edinson Volquez, who leads the Pirates in wins with 13 will start for the Pirates while eighteen game winner Madison Bumgarner will go for the Giants. The winner of this game, whether it be the Pirates, who clinched their second straight postseason berth earlier this week, or the Giants, who have won two World Series titles in the last five years, will face the Washington Nationals, who have not yet announced a game one starter. The Nationals have the best record in the National League, and, therefore, have home field advantage in both the NLDS and NLCS. NL Central champion Cardinals will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers. In game one, twenty game winner Adam Wainwright will face off against the Dodgers starter, who will most likely be staff ace Clayton Kershaw and is arguably the best pitcher in the majors this year.
The two ALDS series will begin on Thursday night and both NLDS series will start on Friday. All eight teams that make it to this stage will be pulling out all the stops to move on to the League Championship Series and try to win the whole thing. After 162 games, players are beat up, but they wouldn’t feel any pain with a ring on their finger. Postseason baseball; it is the best time of the season, and this year offers intriguing matchups that are definitely worth watching.
Written by: Sam Soergel