It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The MLB Postseason is just around the corner, here’s what things are looking like going into the final few weeks.

The MLB playoffs are just around the corner. As we get closer to October, we can start to get a good look at the playoff and world series contenders. However, with the new playoff bracket, teams will have to fight hard for those last playoff spots.

The new playoff format consists of 12 teams, as opposed to 10. The top 2 seeds get a bye and move to the League Divisional Series. The other 4 teams battle it out in the Wild Card rounds. 

According to a CBS article, the seeding works as follows – “ No. 1 seed (bye to LDS): Best record in league; No. 2 seed (bye to LDS): Second-best record among division winners; No. 3 seed: Third-best record among division winners; No. 4 seed: Best record among wild-card teams; No. 5 seed: Second-best record among wild-card teams; No. 6 seed: Third-best record among wild-card teams.”  

Here’s what the AL playoff picture is as of September 10.  The Astros are the projected 1 seed and the Yankees (not far behind) and the projected 2 seed. Both teams are clear favorites for a world series run. 

The first Wild Card Series will be between the 3 seed Guardians and the 6 seed Mariners. The next Wild Card Series is between the 4 seed Rays and the 5 seed Blue Jays. 

The Wild Card Series games are a tight race and are fluctuating often. Things have even changed since my first draft of this article. 

The NL side has 1 clear favorite World Series winner, the Dodgers. Other contenders are the Mets and Braves. The top 2 seeds are the Dodgers and Mets, as of September 10. 

The first Wild Card Series will be between the 3 seed Cardinals and the 6 seed Padres. The other Series will be between the  4 seed Braves and the 5 seed Phillies.

Once again the NL Wild Card will be a close race. 

Since the Playoff race is so close, here is what the top 2 seeds from each league need to continue to keep doing well and what they need to work on. 

Starting with the AL 1 seed the Astros: the Astros need to keep banging trash cans and stealing signs to continue their incredible season. Haha, just kidding. Really the Astros have very little to work on. They seem to do everything very well. The team’s hitting is incredible and their pitching is stellar. 

The few things they need to work on are playing their newly acquired catcher and 1st baseman. Catcher Christian Vazquez is hitting much better than Astros veteran, Martin Maldonado, but the Astros continue to play Maldonado. They also need to get Yuli Guerriel out of the lineup, as he has struggled to hit all season, and replace him with Trey Mancini (the new first baseman). One last thing that might affect the Astros is the bullpen’s unfamiliarity with Postseason baseball. Pitching in the postseason brings a different kind of nerves and some of their setup guys will need to stay strong under pressure. Other than those three things the Astros do pretty much everything pretty well.  

Moving on to the Yankees. The Yankees are hitting machines. Aaron Judge, ND’s Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo, and the rest of their stacked lineup crush homeruns. The Yankees need to continue doing just that. 

However the Yankees are rough in a few areas. The first being their pitching. The Yankees don’t have great pitching depth, which will hurt them in the postseason. Arolis Chapman isn’t what he used to be, Clay Holmes, who had an amazing stretch of the season, is beginning to become inconsistent, Franky Montas hasn’t been able to find his stuff on the mound as a Yankee, and Cole hasn’t been the same this season (the banning of foreign substance also hurts him), and many other Yankee pitchers haven’t been able to find a groove on the bump. Another thing the Yankees need to do is break the curse and snap their cold streaks. Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have been battling with cold streaks. In order to win the World Series they need to break out of these.

Moving on to the NL side. The Dodgers also do everything well like the Astros, They have a stellar lineup that just hits and scores runs. They need to keep doing just that, getting on base and capitalizing off of that.

The Dodgers weakness isn’t even a weakness. Some would say their weakness is pitching, but I believe the bullpen and starting rotation is very solid. Urias, Gonsolin, May, Kershaw, Anderson, and Heaney will make up for the loss of Buehler; while the bullpen has some very reliable options, like Daniel Hudson, Evan Phillips, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia, and the bazooka- Brusdar Graterol. Many people are worried about Kimbrel. However, Blake Trienen just came back from the IL and will see some save opportunities. Kimbrel will still see his time on the bump, but hopefully it won’t be in the 9th down by 1 run. 

Finally the Mets. The Mets starting pitching and their closer are out of this world. Two amazing starters in Jacob DeGrom and Max Sherzer deal in the early innings, while Edwin Diaz closes out the game in the 9th. The Mets only got Sherzser and DeGrom back from injury just around the All-Star game and their team was still flourishing, so with these two weapons they will be dangerous in the postseason. Edwin Diaz has been lights out and might be having one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a closer. While the Mets pitching staff is almost perfect, so is their hitting. They continue to dominate on the offensive side as well. 

Despite their pitching being so stellar, that’s also their weakness. From the time their starter exits the game till Edwin Diaz comes in to close it out, things get scary. Their middle relief pitchers have been dealing with adversity all season. Trevor May, Seth Lugo, and Adam Ottavino have got to step it up if they want a World Series ring. 

With the postseason still being a month away, things can change. Injuries can happen, cold streaks, hot streaks (we all saw the Mariners hot streak last year that almost got them a ticket to the postseason), even call ups from the minors can change the whole look at the Postseason. As for now: Dodgers versus Astros pt.2?