After a 162 game season, countless strikeouts, home runs, rookies rising, veterans falling, no-hitters, shutouts, cycles, immaculate innings, disappointing teams (Phillies, Cubs, etc.) surprising teams (A’s, Rays, etc.), and new records set, yet another MLB season is coming to a close. 30 teams entered the ring and just two remain with the World Series upon us. One team will reign supreme within the next seven games with the winner etching their names in baseball history as champions, and the loser going home to a brutal offseason of wondering what could have been.
The postseason was kickstarted with the Wild Card games between the Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers and the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Nationals would defeat the Brewers after a horrid outing by Josh Hader and a brutal error in right field that will give nightmares to Brewers fans all offseason. The A’s brought in the biggest crowd in postseason history against the Rays and were embarrassed on their home turf with the Rays homering four times in a 5-1 win.
The Rays would then go on to face Houston, and after going down 2-0 in the series, fought their way back to force a game five. Their late resurgence wouldn’t be enough though and the Astros would advance to the Championship Series. The Nationals would go on to face the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers. This series would also go to five games and with a late 3-1 lead in game five, the Dodgers decided to put Kershaw in to face Adam Eaton. After striking out Eaton, Kershaw surrendered back to back home runs to Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon to tie the game. The game would end after a grand slam from Howie Kendrick would seal the Dodgers’ fate. Their 106-win season had come to a brutal end.
All the while, the New York Yankees were easily dismantling the Minnesota Twins and after a 101-win season, the Twins were sent packing, continuing their record-breaking postseason losing streak. The Braves and Cardinals would take their series to five games before the Braves would fall in grand fashion to St. Louis in game five after surrendering 10 runs in the first inning.
The Nationals and Cardinals faced off in the NLCS and the Cardinals’ bats went silent. The Nationals easily picked apart a team that had been so good all season long with ease. The Cardinals never lead at any point throughout the series and the Nationals advanced to their first World Series in franchise history. The Nats are now the 29th team to appear in a World Series with the Seattle Mariners being the only team yet to make it.
The New York Yankees and Houston Astros would face off in a 2017 ALCS rematch and the rematch would not disappoint. The Astros would take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series and James Paxton would pitch an absolutely masterful six innings in game five to save the Yankees season and send game six to Houston. Game six would be an unforgettable one as a 4-2 Houston lead in the ninth would fall to a DJ Lemehiu two-run shot before Aroldis Chapman came in the bottom of the ninth in an attempt to put up a scoreless inning and send it to the tenth. He would fail in this endeavor. With a runner on first and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Chapman would give up a no-doubter to none other than Jose Altuve to end the game and send Houston to the World Series.
That leaves just two teams. Two incredible season-long journeys will meet for an epic battle for the pinnacle of the baseball world, a World Series title.
The 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros, after a 107-win season, look to win their second title in three years after a heartbreaking 2018 postseason. Lead by an incredible offensive unit and an almost unstoppable rotation, Houston appears to be better than ever heading into the World Series.
The Washington Nationals, after getting the second Wild Card spot before taking out three giants in their league, look for the first championship in their franchise’s history in their first-ever World Series appearance. Led by MVP candidate Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Trea Turner with Scherzer and Strasburg on the bump, this team is going to make noise in the series.
Two of baseball’s best will face off in one of the most anticipated World Series matches of all time, no matter who wins, whether it be the Stros or the Nats, the real winners will be the fans as this shapes up to be a series for the ages.