When the regular season began back in late March, there were 30 teams. On October 1st, there were only 10 teams left. At the time you read this, there will only be one. The postseason began with the National League Wild Card game, which was the Milwaukee Brewers against the Washington Nationals. The Brewers had a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning when Juan Soto of the Nationals hit a single that scored 3 runs. Ben Gamel flew out to Michael Taylor to end the game. The Nationals won 4-3. The American League Wild Card game was a day later when the Tampa Bay Rays faced off against the Oakland A’s. Yandy Diaz of the Rays went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and Charlie Morton pitched 5 innings, allowing only one run. The Rays won 5-1 and advanced to the division series against the Houston Astros. There were 4 division series matchups, the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, the Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees, and the Rays vs Astros. The Astros and Yankees jumped out to 2-0 leads in their best of 5 series. The Yankees finished the sweep of the Twins, but the Rays won the next 2 games to get the series to a game 5 winner take all game. The National League teams got to a game 5 too. The Cardinals scored 10 runs in the first inning and demolished the Braves 13-1 to go to the National League Championship Series. The Nationals were down 3-1 in the eighth (sound familiar?) against the Dodgers when Anthony Rendon and Soto hit back to back home runs to tie the game. The Dodgers couldn’t score so it went to extra innings. In the tenth, Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam to give the Nationals a 7-3 lead, which they kept to advance to the Championship Series for the first time in franchise history. The Astros won their game 5 by a score of 6-1. Next were the Championship Series. The Nationals swept the Cardinals in 4 games to advance to the franchise’s first World Series. The Astros and Yankees series went into game 6 with the Astros ahead 3 games to 2. Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run to win the game and the series, pushing the Astros to their 2nd World Series in 3 years. This was only the 11th time in postseason history that a postseason series has ended in a walk-off home run. (First since 2016 AL Wild Card) The World Series begins on Tuesday, October 22, and is a best of 7 series. The Astros have the best record in baseball, while the Nationals had an amazing turnaround, 19-31 in mid-May to 93-69 coming into the playoffs.
By Sanjay Palta-Hill