It is finally October. The leaves are starting to fall, the weather is starting to get chilly and a new month has flipped through the calendar. For baseball, the most important time of the year is upon us.
The playoffs. The battle to the fall classic. Eight teams for one prize: a championship.
For the American League, the Houston Astros will face the winner of the wild card game between the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. The New York Yankees will face off against the Minnesota Twins.
In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers will face the winner of the wild card game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals, and the St. Louis Cardinals will face off against the Atlanta Braves.
Starting off with the National League wild card game on Tuesday, the Brewers and the Nationals will face off in our nation’s capital. Washington will have multiple Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer while Milwaukee will send Brandon Woodruff to the hill. In the American League, the Rays will have Charlie Morton and the A’s will most likely have Sean Manaea on the mound.
The power matchup between the Yankees and Twins should be one for the ages with the top two home run hitting clubs going at it. The Yankees, who have had their injury woes, get the second seed and the Twins will go with their big offseason signings that have paid off this year for first-year manager Rocco Baldelli. The teams face off in the postseason for the second time in the last three years.
The Astros, who are likely the favorite to win it all with two Cy Young candidates Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, even added another former Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke, at the trade deadline. Houston is the most intimidating team because of its pitching along with an insane lineup. Oakland and Tampa have two of the lowest payrolls in baseball and have both used pitching to get into the playoffs. Two great managers, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash and Oakland’ Bob Melvin get to go at it with a win or go home game that will be a must-watch.
The young phenoms of the Atlanta Braves will use their powerful lineup led by Ronald Acuna to try to beat the Cardinals in the first round. It came down to the final game of the regular season for this matchup to be set. Braves are going to try to get past the birds and get back at the Dodgers from last year. The most dominant team in the league, the Dodgers, will try to get to their third straight World Series and hopefully 3rd times a charm. It would be embarrassing to lose three straight World Series on your home turf.
Eight teams, one month, one goal. All is on the line.
The best time of the year is finally upon us; every year it seems to be getting better and better. The playoffs are where history is made, where players become legends and where moments become the best memories in the game of baseball.