Postseason baseball is here. Let’s break it down.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Beginning on October 5, 10 teams begin their journey to the 2021 World Series with a chance to etch their names in MLB history.

Nicholas Rasmusson is a senior and the Sports Editor  for Fishers Tiger Times. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

     With the arrival of October comes one of America’s biggest events in the sports world: the MLB postseason. This season has been wild throughout, with multiple teams having made lots of noise as the end of the season rolled around. With the Red Sox and the Yankees wrapping up an exciting American League Wildcard race, the World Series race looks wide open this season, and we could be in for some memorable playoff baseball. Let’s meet the teams that are competing to compete in the Fall Classic.

American League

New York Yankees

     The New York Yankees roll into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the American League. Led by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Bronx Bombers will play in the Wildcard game against their bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox. New York boasts one of the best offenses in baseball and can score in bunches. The Yankees pitching rotation and bullpen might cause problems come late October. The Yankees have some of the best pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman, but the rest of the pitching staff is relatively shaky. The Yankees are a very exciting team with an offense that can keep up with anyone, so it will be interesting to see how far they will travel in the playoffs.

Boston Red Sox

     The Boston Red Sox arrive in the playoffs as the fourth seed in the American League and will play in a Wildcard game against the Yankees that could go down as an all time classic. The Red Sox have one of the most balanced lineups in baseball that includes five all-stars: Matt Barnes, Xander Boagaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Nathan Eovaldi. This team can hit efficiently, allowing them to stay in the game against anyone. Midseason acquisition Kyle Schwarber will be a key factor if the Red Sox want to succeed. While still playing for the Washington Nationals, Schwarber won the National League player of the month award in June. Schwarber has mashed 32 home runs this season and can be a spark plug for the Boston offense.

Chicago White Sox

     For the first time in franchise history, the Chicago White Sox qualified for the postseason two seasons in a row and enter the postseason as the third seed in the American League. The White Sox have a scary lineup that can both score in a hurry and shut down opposing offenses. Led by the reigning American League MVP and player of the month Jose Abreu, the White Sox enter the playoffs after winning their division by 13 games and going 7-3 in their last 10 games. The White Sox had four all-stars on the roster this season, and three of which are on the pitching staff. Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon provide Chicago with a huge advantage on the mound. The White Sox are a team to watch during the postseason.

Houston Astros

     A team still trying to shake controversy after their 2017 sign stealing scandal, the Houston Astros waltz into postseason baseball as the second seed in the American League. The Astros won a close division race which saw the potential for two postseason teams up until the final game of the day. The Astros have multiple players that have hit over 30 home runs this season, and their pitching lineup is solid as well. The Astros have four pitchers with over 10 wins, and they have multiple with strong postseason experience. While the Astros have won five of seven games against the White Sox this season, the best of five series between the two teams will certainly be entertaining.

Tampa Bay Rays

     After winning the American League pennant a season ago, the Tampa Bay Rays enter October as the top seed in the American League. Despite trading away last season’s hero, Blake Snell, the Rays posted a 100-win season and have looked dominant throughout the season. Led by last season’s postseason phenomenon, Randy Arozarena, The Rays look to recreate the postseason run from a season ago, and it is completely possible given their roster. While they do not have anybody that bats above .300, the offense is explosive. Brandon Lowe leads the roster with 39 homers this season and can be the spark plug for a very prolific offense. Regardless of who wins the American League Wildcard game, the Rays will face a division foe which will provide for entertaining baseball.

National League

St. Louis Cardinals

     Despite being the fifth seed in the National League, the Cardinals enter the postseason as the hottest team in baseball. The Cardinals are on fire, winning 19 of their last 22 games. Led by eight-time Gold Glove winner, Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals’ offense is a force to be reckoned with. During their 17-game winning streak, the Cardinals were winning by an average of 3.47 runs. St. Louis’ top pitcher, Adam Wainwright, boasts a 17-7 record and will be a key piece in the Cardinals success. They will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Wildcard game, which looks like an incredible game on paper.

Los Angeles Dodgers

     Despite being a 106-win team, the Dodgers find themselves as the fourth seed in the National League and a berth in the Wildcard game. Despite being in the wildcard game, the Dodgers are dangerous. With two of the best pitchers in baseball in Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler, the pitching staff can quiet the best offenses in baseball on any given night. In addition to great pitching, the Dodgers have an incredible offense. Led by Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and Justin Turner, the Dodgers have one of the best batting cores in the MLB. While the Dodgers have a strong team from top to bottom, their recent success in the postseason will provide Los Angeles with an extra spark. Besides the reigning World Series champion, the Dodgers have been the National League representative in the Fall Classic three of the past four seasons.

Atlanta Braves

     After losing their franchise superstar, Ronald Acuna Jr., to injury, it looked like the Braves’ playoff chances were slim. Despite this, the Braves persevered and made the playoffs as the third seed in the National League. The Braves enter the postseason looking to avenge last season’s performance after blowing a 3-1 lead in the best of seven National League Championship Series. Boasting three players with 30+ home runs, the Braves approach their series against the Milwaukee Brewers red-hot, posting an 8-2 record in their past 10 games. The Braves have a very steady lineup with solid pitching and hitting and are a team that could make noise during October.

Milwaukee Brewers

     The Milwaukee Brewers enter this postseason as the second seed in the National League and look to make a statement during the postseason. The Brewers have never won a World Series and have not made an appearance in the Fall Classic since 1982. This season has the potential to change at least one of those stats. Despite only going 4-6 in their final 10 games, the Brewers played playoff teams in seven of those games. While they do not have one of the best hitting lineups in baseball, they are able to score once they get their offense rolling. Since being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays, Willy Adames has emerged as a strong hitter for the Brewers and will be a huge factor if the Brewers want to travel far in the postseason. However, the Brewers are very strong in the pitching department. Four of the five of the Brewers’ all-stars this season were from the pitching staff. Led by Corbin Burnes, the Brewers pitching staff suffocates opposing offenses which takes the pressure off of their offense. The series between the Braves and the Brewers will be settled over which side provides better pitching.

San Francisco Giants

     With the best record in baseball, the San Francisco Giants cruise into the postseason as the top seed in the National League. Posting 107 wins, the Giants might be one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season. Before the season, the Dodgers were almost a guarantee to win their division. San Francisco embraced the underdog role and has earned home-field advantage for the entirety of the playoffs. At the trade deadline, the Giants acquired former National League MVP Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs. In addition to Bryant, San Francisco maintains a very balanced offense, with multiple players posting over 20 home runs this season and most members of the regular lineup posting over 15 home runs. Regardless of who wins the wildcard game, the best of five series will be a great series.