Commentary by: Paul Slobodzian, P&G Sports Staff
The MLB Postseason Picture Has Been Painted
The Major League Baseball regular season has come to an end, and twenty of the thirty professional teams were eliminated from World Series contention. For the remaining ten teams, however, the dream is still alive, so here is a look at the 2015 Postseason bracket.
The American League Postseason race was tight all Game 162s drew to a close. The Texas Rangers clinched the AL West, but not after the Houston Astros, who will be playing in the AL Wild Card game against the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Angels gave them a serious run for their money.
The races for the AL Central and East were not as close, however. The Kansas City Royals clinched the Central on September 24, and the Toronto Blue Jays clinched their division on October 1. Granted, Toronto achieved their top spot with only three days left in the regular season, but it did allow them to play with a little less pressure and try to focus on earning home field advantage, which they did not.
The Wild Card matchup has been set between the Yankees and Astros, and it will take place in the Bronx. New York pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will take the hill for the Bombers, and Dallas Keuchel will get the assignment for the ‘Stros. The Yankees gained their spot in the game after Toronto clinched the division, and Houston found out their fate yesterday after the Rangers beat the Angels.
Final Regular Season Records
Kansas City Royals: 95-67 (Best in AL-Central Champion)
Toronto Blue Jays: 93-69 (East Champion)
Texas Rangers: 88-74 (West Champion)
New York Yankees: 87-75 (Wild Card berth)
Houston Astros: 86-76 (Wild Card berth)
Upcoming AL Game Schedule
Thursday, October 8: ALDS begins (Texas @ Toronto) Time TBA on Fox
Thursday, October 8: ALDS begins (AL Wild Card winner @ Royals) Time TBA on Fox
The National League Central division, and its three-headed monster, has dominated media coverage down the stretch as while as almost all opponents along the way.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs finished with the top three records in MLB, and the Cardinals wound up with a 100-win season—the first such season since the New York Yankees won 103 times in 2009.
Only one of these teams will have the opportunity to play for the National League championship because St. Louis clinched the division and will play the winner of the Wild Card game, which Pittsburgh and Chicago are compete in on Thursday.
The other two divisions featured the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the NL West by 8.0 games over the San Francisco Giants, and the New York Mets taking the division crown by 7.0 games over the Washington Nationals.
Los Angeles and New York have two of the most feared starting rotations in professional baseball, and the teams will begin their series in Los Angeles on Friday, October 9. Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets, and either potential Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke or previous Cy Young and MVP winner Clayton Kershaw will get the nod for the Dodgers.
The Wild Card game scheduled for Wednesday boasts a tremendous pitching matchup between Gerrit Cole for the Pirates, who has a stifling arsenal to choose from, and Jake Arrieta for the Cubs, who’s stuff is equally intimidating and has put together a season for the ages racking up a 1.76 ERA and no-hitter along the way. Surprisingly enough, Arrieta’s historic ERA was only good low enough to be second in the league behind Greinke’s 1.66 mark. The batters should be in for a real treat.
Final Regular Season Records
St. Louis Cardinals: 100-62 (Best in MLB-Central Champion)
Pittsburgh Pirates: 98-64 (Wild Card berth)
Chicago Cubs: 97-65 (Wild Card berth)
Los Angeles Dodgers: 92-70 (West Champion)
New York Mets: 90-72 (East Champion)
Upcoming Game Schedule:
Wednesday, October 7: NL Wild Card (Cubs @ Pirates) 8 p.m. ETon TBS
Friday, October 9: NLDS begins (NL Wild Card winner @ Cardinals) Time TBA on TBS
Friday, October 9: NLDS begins (Mets @ Dodgers) Time TBA on TBS
The remaining schedule for Postseason matchups is available online.
This playoff features two different sides of the spectrum from Toronto’s offensive firepower to the Mets’ and Dodgers’ pitching dominance. The casual viewer and hardcore fan should both be in for a wild ride as these games get under way.