2019 MLB Playoffs

Aaron Pellican


It is October, and that means it is now the best time of the year to be a sports fan. Football is back, hockey is back, basketball is right around the corner, but most importantly, it is officially time for some postseason baseball.  

There really isn’t much that’s better as a pure sports fan than playoff baseball, as the entire game is suddenly immersed in pressure that presses down on every single pitch the game has to offer. We see things that we normally just don’t see throughout the duration of a normal MLB regular-season come playoff time, and the ups and downs that each playoff game offers is a roller coaster of emotion for the fans of the teams involved. This roller coaster makes us love sports.  

This postseason carries with it a lot of questions, particularly in the National League. While the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves won their respective divisions, the Washington Nationals were able to squeak by the Milwaukee Brewers in an intense Wild Card Playoff game to clinch their spot in the playoffs. 

 Meanwhile, the Dodgers have been untouchable all year and in their division for some time now. The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves were able to win their respective divisions for the first time in multiple years.  The Nationals are now playing the LA Dodgers in a best-of-five series.  

After losing game one in LA, the Nationals were able to come back and steal the five-game series from the Dodgers and advance to the NLCS following a dramatic win in the decisive game five.  

The other matchup in the NL between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves did not disappoint either. After the Cardinals stole a wild game one on the road, the Braves were able to tie back down home field advantage, only to lead to a historic game five loss in which the St. Louis Cardinals scored 10 runs in the top of the first inning, which tied the MLB postseason record for most runs in a half inning.  

Now the Washington Nationals are playing the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, in which the Nationals have taken a commanding 2-0 series lead behind back-to-back games in which a Nationals pitcher went six-plus innings with a no-hitter against the Cardinals.  

Annibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer absolutely dominated the Cardinals bats through two games, allowing for Washington to take home field advantage away from the Cardinals. The good news for the Cardinals is that their ace, Jack Flaherty, will be on the mound for Game Three in Washington.  

The bad news for the Cardinals is that Stephen Strasburg, who has arguably been the Nationals best postseason pitcher for multiple years now, will be on the mound for the Nationals. The Cardinals are not out of it yet, but Game Three is an absolute must win ball game for the birds who desperately needs their offense to show up.  

The American League is clearly the better of the two leagues this year as they flaunt the powerhouses that are the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. The Yankees and Astros blew by their respective divisions with what are both considered to be a couple of the best MLB rosters we have seen in recent history.  

The other two teams in the American League Playoffs were the Minnesota Twins, who finished the season with 101 total wins, and the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished the season with 96 total wins. It is not often in the MLB that two teams who respectively won 101 and 96 games are the overwhelming underdogs in both of their first-round match ups.  

This is a testament to just how great the Yankees and Astros really are.  

The Yankees were probably the most injured team in all of baseball for most of the season, and they were still able to rattle off 103 wins with mostly bench players. While these “bench players” would likely not be bench players elsewhere, this is still incredibly impressive nonetheless.  

The Yankees played the Minnesota Twins, who had an incredible season in their own right. A team who has had vast struggles in recent years, with little expectation surrounding them before the season, emerged onto the scene as one of the youngest but most talented groups in baseball.  

The Yankees took game one with ease, and the Minnesota Twins were unable to bounce back as they were swept in three games. With everything being said about the Yankees season, the Houston Astros have somehow topped them at every turn.  

The Astros are the overwhelming favorite heading into the postseason, and reasonably so. Behind what might be, top to bottom, the best offensive lineup in baseball, they are also locked and loaded with the undebated best starting rotation in baseball as well as one of, if not, the best bullpens in baseball.  

They took on red-hot Rays, who had a fantastic season as well, but unfortunately ran into what may be a generational team in the Houston Astros. 

Even though the Rays gave the Astros a run for their money behind some great pitching, Houston was able to take the series in five games.  Which leads to the match up we’ve been waiting on all year: Yankees vs. Astros in the ALCS. This series is sure to be fun.    

These playoffs are already great and have been filled with plenty of drama. I predict a Houston Astros World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals to cap off this fantastic 2019 season.