MLB postseason in full swing as divisional series heats up

This+year%27s+postseason+features+five+teams+that+did+not+play+October+baseball+last+season.

This year's postseason features five teams that did not play October baseball last season.

Staff Writer

During spring training, every Major League Baseball player can only dream that he will get the chance to play in the World Series. They work hard all season long, and it can come down to the wire for some.

This was the case for the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, who after ending the regular season with identical records, battled it out in a single elimination play-in game for the final American League Wild Card spot.

Tampa Bay cruised to victory against Texas and then eliminated the Cleveland Indians in the American League Wild Card game, punching their ticket to the divisional round along with the National League Wild Card-winning Pittsburgh Pirates.

Meeting Tampa Bay in the ALDS are the Boston Red Sox, winners of a difficult AL East Division and home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Boston is perhaps the most balanced team still playing, tying for the best record in the MLB despite none of their players ranking in the top five for RBI’s, batting average, or homeruns. With a 12-7 record against the Rays in the regular season and a 2-0 lead thus far in the ALDS, the Red Sox could very well represent the AL in this year’s Fall Classic.

The other ALDS series features the defending AL champion Detroit Tigers, who face the Oakland Athletics. Detroit does not have a stellar record against the Athletic’s this season, but can still pack a powerful punch with their potent batting lineup. They are looking to avenge last year’s embarrassing sweep in the World Series by the San Francisco Giants, but this experience might not be enough. Detroit finished the season on a three-game losing skid and there are still questions about the health of last year’s AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera.

In the NL, the story of the season has been the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were considered by many to be non-contenders until a flame was suddenly lit under them. Yasiel Puig gave life to the Dodgers in early June when they went on an incredible 42-8 run, taking over first place and never looking back.

Los Angeles takes on the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, who lead the NL East for nearly the entire season but were never challenged for the top spot. The Dodgers may be able to win a series or two, but lack of playoff experience and home field advantage will ultimately prevent them from winning a championship.

It very well may be the Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates playing for the NL Championship, as both teams currently lead their respective playoff series. This potential NLCS matchup would guarantee one of these franchises a World Series berth for the first time since the Dodgers won it all in 1988.