MLB playoffs lack Bay Area feel

MLB playoffs lack Bay Area feel

Liam Beyerle,

Oct. 1 marked the end of the Major League Baseball regular season.

Unfortunately for baseball fans, the last day of the regular season was drama-free as the last of the 10 playoff teams clinched postseason berths the day prior. However, there should be no shortage of action on Oct. 3 when the playoffs begin.

American League

One of the American League representatives is the Cleveland Indians with a record of 102-60. The Indians are looking to return to the World Series after a tough loss in game 7 last year to the Chicago Cubs. The Indians started slow but finished the season on a strong 41-7 run, including an American League record-setting 22-game winning streak.

With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Indians will take on the winner of the wild-card matchup between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. The Indians have a strong roster that could allow them to return to the World Series and they will try not to let it slip away this year.

The Houston Astros who went 101-61 in the regular season have an entire city and state looking for something to give them hope in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. With the best middle infield in the MLB, potential American League MVP candidate Jose Altuve will try to lead the Astros to the franchise’s first World Series title. The Astros have a young team with limited playoff experience, so they will have to capitalize and not fall behind in the series if they want to get past the Boston Red Sox.

The American League East champs, the Boston Red Sox went 93-69 in the regular season and have a solid mix of young talent and veteran pitching. They will have their work cut out for them starting the division series on the road against Houston but with Chris Sale and David Price in the starting pitching rotation, the Red Sox chances to wrap up the series in under four games are strong.

The New York Yankees went 91-71 in the regular season and they had a lot of excitement following them this year mainly from a great rookie campaign by Aaron Judge. Another young team that exceeded expectations this season will have home-field advantage in the wild-card matchup. The Yankees should get past the Minnesota Twins, but their playoff run will end shortly after as they are outmatched by the Indians in many categories.

The Minnesota Twins went 85-77 and as a small market team that had the worst record in baseball just a year ago, the odds are not on their side as no team has ever gone from worst to first in MLB history. Just making the playoffs is huge for the Twins and they will have a long tough road to get to the World Series.

National League

Representing the National League is the Los Angeles Dodgers who had the best record in baseball at 104-58. Their season was full of ups and downs as they started slow. Their amazing 56-11 mid-season run was followed by a stretch of losing 16 of 17 games, truly puzzling. The pressure is on for the Dodgers and starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher, who has historically struggled when it counts most, in the postseason. Expectations are high for the team with baseball’s best record and the Dodgers should be able to handle any team they face, but their opponent in the division series will be a team that will know their game inside and out.

The Washington Nationals, 97-65, have made the postseason four of the past six seasons, but have failed to make it past the divisional round. Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer will look to change that as they will face off against the defending champion Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs, 92-70, ended a 108-year drought last season when they captured a championship. After being down three games to one in the World Series last year, the Cubs proved they can never be counted out. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo can change a game with one swing at any time and they are a team built for the playoffs looking to prove themselves again.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, 93-69, lost 93 games just a year ago and will face off against division rival the Colorado Rockies, 87-75. It is always nice to watch non-playoff regulars get in and try to get hot at the right time. Look for pitcher Zack Greinke to come up big for his team in a must-win game to get the Diamondbacks to the next round.

Bay Area Teams

It was a rough year for Bay Area baseball fans as the San Francisco Giants, 64-98, and Oakland Athletics, 75-87, both finished last place in their respective divisions.

For the Giants, the window of opportunity feels like it is closing as players that were on the three championship teams of 2010, 2012, and 2014 are getting older or are no longer on the roster.

The younger players showed promise, but have not picked up the slack. Giants star pitcher Madison Bumgarner suffered a motocross-related shoulder and rib injuries in April and the Giants could not get anything going during his absence. By the time he returned, it was too late. Next year the Giants will have their work cut out for them as three of the five National League playoff teams come from their western division. The good news about finishing 40 games back, there is nowhere to go but up.

The Oakland A’s, who are known for constantly rebuilding their team will have to look to 2018 when it comes to the postseason. In their last 80 games, the A’s finished 40-40 so there are results to back up that feeling. The team has and will continue to look for a new star to emerge as they traded their best pitcher Sonny Grey right before the July trade deadline. Oakland can never be counted out and always seem to find a way to turn nothing into something. The A’s are on the clock as they have not won a World Series since 1989, which is an eternity in the sports world.

The journey to the 113th fall classic begins Oct. 3. Expect, drama, triumph, defeat, and excitement as baseball ends another long year with an exciting postseason.