With a combination of young, marketable stars and the uncertainty of who will succeed in October, this year’s MLB playoffs could be the best in recent years.
It’s the end of the 2017 MLB season. The Washington Nationals are National League East champions after posting a 97-65 record. Over in the Central, the Cubs head to the MLB playoffs as the division champions. Milwaukee failed to reach the postseason.
The Dodgers lit the baseball world on fire by finishing with 104 wins and easily capturing the division crown. In the American League, just two games separate the winners in the East, the Boston Red Sox, over the Yankees.
This was a relatively normal landscape heading into the postseason. 2018 has been, well, crazy.
The Yankees won 100 games. They finished eight games behind first place, though, thanks to Boston’s MLB-best 108-win mark.
After losing 87 games and finishing last in the AL West, the Oakland A’s are playing in this year’s Wild Card game.
Through a combination of youth, smart managing and the downfall of the Washington Nationals, the Atlanta Braves will represent the NL East. The Dodgers won the West again, but by a single game.
Christian Yelich will probably be the NL Most Valuable Player, as he single-handedly led the Brewers to the NL Central crown, edging the Cubs’ by one game.
Chicago, though, is done. An interesting Rockies’ team handed them a sour apple in the form of a 13-inning instant classic.
If you haven’t caught on, the point is simple. This year truly is anyone’s year.
The American League is dominated by the heavyweight quartet of Cleveland, Houston, New York and Boston. But, can you safely assume a favorite?
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Three of those teams won at least 100 games this season. Houston’s rotation is lethal. Chris Sale & Co. challenge as arguably the best team in the game. The Yankees enter the playoffs at near full strength and can out slug most.
The Indians’ “only” won 91 games, but you can never count out Terry Francona‘s bunch, a roster lined with stars.
If you think the AL is wide-open, say hello to the National League. It’d be easy to peg the Dodgers as the favorite, with a fierce pitching staff and Manny Machado-led offense. Don’t forget Colorado, though, who finished the regular season just a game behind and ended Chicago’s season in impressive fashion.
It’s fun. There’s no clear favorite. Milwaukee could win it all. They’re young, but the Braves’ even have a shot. Point at any team in this years playoff picture and you’ll find a star. You’ll find a fun story behind each teams season and how they got here.
Buckle up. Things are just getting started in the 2018 MLB playoffs.