The date is September 14, and we’re 16 days away from the end of the MLB season. April seems like ages ago, of course. And as we enter both Fall and October, 162 games are put aside, and 10 teams — three division winners and two wild card participants — will do battle to play in the Fall Classic.
While I’ll never be a fan of the opening round’s best-of-three after the wild card, it’s still extremely exciting to watch the match-ups.
Over in the American League, with little time left, it looks like the match-ups are already determined. The No.1 seed Boston Red Sox will play the winner of the New York Yankees/Oakland Athletics wild card game. Meanwhile the defending champion Houston Astros — barring Oakland creeping up on them — will take on the Cleveland Indians.
But the National League is shrouded in mystery. Division leaders Atlanta, Colorado and Chicago are separated by no more than four games. Not to mention, all three leaders are in constant competition with teams that are closing in on them. Atlanta leads Philadelphia by 7.5 games, but Chicago only leads Milwaukee by 1.5 games and St. Louis by 4.5 games respectively. Meanwhile, Colorado leads Los Angeles by 1.5 games and Arizona by 4.5 games.
Anything can happen over the final weeks of the season, of course. But for the sake of assumption, let’s say things stay where they are. Meaning Los Angeles, Arizona and Philadelphia are eliminated from postseason contention while the wild card would be settled by Milwaukee and St. Louis.
Chicago would then face the winner of said wild card while Atlanta would host Colorado in the NLDS.
American League Playoff Matchups:
- #1 Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees or Oakland Athletics.
- #2 Houston Astros vs. #3 Cleveland Indians.
National League Playoff Matchups:
- #1 Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers or St. Louis Cardinals.
- #2 Atlanta Braves vs. #3 Colorado Rockies.
Record Against Playoff Opponents:
- Boston Red Sox: 8-5 vs. NY; 2-4 vs. OAK.
- Houston Astros: 4-3 vs. CLE.
- Chicago Cubs: 11-8 vs. MIL; Chicago Cubs 7-9 vs. STL.
- Atlanta Braves: 2-5 vs. COL.
- New York Yankees: (3-3) vs. OAK.
- Milwaukee Brewers: (8-8) vs. STL.
Record Against Potential Playoff Opponents:
- Boston Red Sox: (3-4) vs. HOU; (2-2) vs. CLE.
- Houston Astros: (12-7) vs. OAK; (2-5) vs. NYY.
- Atlanta Braves: (3-4) vs. MIL; (3-0) vs. STL.
- Chicago Cubs: (3-3) vs. COL; (3-3) vs. ATL.
- Cleveland Indians: (2-5) vs. NYY; (2-4) vs. OAK.
- Colorado Rockies: (2-5) vs. MIL; (2-5) vs. STL.
As you can see, the matchups indicate that in a win-and-in, best-of-3 and best-of-7, the teams currently locked into their positions have as much a chance as winning or being upset as their opponents do. Additionally, the unpredictability that is baseball shows that once the playoffs begin, anything can happen.
But blown 3-1 leads, epic comebacks in the ninth inning and walk-off heroes are what make the MLB postseason amazing. No matter who you cheer for, there’s greatness to be held in each playoff series. But even if we’re looking ahead, it’s still fun to play the what if game — isn’t?
— MLB (@MLB) September 13, 2018