Image courtesy of Getty Images
By Nicholas Winter
With the Division Series in the rearview mirror, it is time to take a look at how the four remaining teams arrived at the League Championship Series.
In one of the more shocking series turnouts, the Boston Red Sox stunned the Tampa Bay Rays, defeating them in four games. The Red Sox crushed the Rays’ pitching, scoring 14 runs in Game 1, and 6 runs in Game 3. The Rays are known to always have a tough pitching staff, but the Red Sox offense was too much to handle in this series.
This postseason has been a little different than normal in terms of how the teams usually match up. Especially in the American League, the offensive side of baseball has been the focal point, and many runs have been scored off of these supposed great pitching staffs. It is interesting to see how the dynamic changed from a defensive battle to an offensive slugfest.
The Houston Astros dismantled the Chicago White Sox in four games, as the Astros’ offense crushed the White Sox pitching staff. The Astros have seemed to take an “us vs. the world” approach to this postseason, as most fans across baseball still are livid at the Astros for their cheating scandal that was such a big topic of discussion over the last few seasons. However, the Astros have tuned out the noise and made a run for it. They headed to the ALCS to face the Boston Red Sox, who were riding high after defeating the No.1 seed in the American League, Tampa Bay. It seems like everyone but New York Yankees fans are cheering for the Boston Red Sox, so it will be interesting to see if the Astros can handle the noise and get back to the World Series.
The west-coast battle between the Dodgers and Giants did not disappoint, as the series went a full five games, with the Dodgers narrowly defeating the Giants in Game 5 with a final score of 2-1 to advance them to the NLCS. The game ended in controversy, as the final strikeout for Dodgers Pitcher Max Scherzer was a check swing that was appealed at first base and called strike 3 when it was evident that Giants second baseman Wilmer Flores did not swing. Controversy aside, the Dodgers defeated the Giants, who held the MLB’s best record at 107-55, to once again advance to the NLCS as they look for back-to-back trips to the World Series.
The Atlanta Braves defeated the Brewers in four games behind an underrated pitching staff and the late heroics by Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman. The story of this series was the Brewers inability to score runs. The Brewers had gone quiet on offense up until the 4th inning of Game 4, scoring no runs in Games 2 and 3. The Brewers pitching staff held the high-power Braves offense to 12 runs total over the 4 games played; ultimately, it did not matter as the Brewers’ offense was non-existent for most of the series. Game 4 was a back and forth contest, with the Brewers jumping ahead early and the Braves continuing to answer to keep the game tied the entire way. The big blow came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Freeman hit the go-ahead solo home run off of Brewers All-Star closer Josh Hader, who had previously not allowed a home run to a left-handed batter all season. The Braves won the contest 5-4 and moved on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. That series is currently going in the Braves’ favor as they have a 2-0 series lead, in what is shaping up to be a fascinating series.
It will not be long before we find out who will be facing off in the World Series, and everyone is excited to see who will punch their ticket to the Fall Classic.