The Red Sox, Astros, Dodgers, and Brewers compete in their respective league championship series
The game of baseball requires a level of patience that cannot be matched by any other sport. While it is undoubtedly a popular national pastime, the games are long and slow and the season has twice as many games as those of the other big four sports (football, basketball and hockey make up the other three). As the weather is beginning to cool down from the heat of the summer, the Major League Baseball season is raging to a close, with the playoffs now in full swing.
In the past weeks, we have seen baseball’s top teams go head to head. In a wildcard round, the Oakland Athletics were beaten by the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs were dispensed by the Colorado Rockies. Next was the divisional round. For the first time since their curse was broken in 2004, the Yankees took on their dreaded rival, the Boston Red Sox, in a matchup for AL East glory. It only took the Sox four games to defeat the Yankees and move on to the American League Championship Series. Meanwhile, in the Midwest, the Cleveland Indians were quickly swept by the defending champions, the Houston Astros.
In the National League, the Rockies did not survive past the divisional round. They were met by the Milwaukee Brewers, who finished the season on an absolute tear. Even the high-flying Rockies couldn’t beat the MLB’s hottest team. The defending NL champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers, returned to the playoffs once again with renewed life after the addition of Manny Machado. In the divisional round series, they were able to defeat the Atlanta Braves. At the time of this article’s writing, both league championship series are tied at one game apiece.
The first two games of the ALCS were hosted right here in Boston, so for the next three, the Red Sox will have to go on the road to Houston. The Red Sox were among the most dominant teams in the MLB, finishing with an ungodly 108 – 54 record. They were led by a potent offense, a deadly 1 – 2 starting pitching combo and a dependable closer. J.D. Martinez had one of the best seasons of his career and continues to prove himself as one of the best and most well-rounded hitters in baseball. He led the league in runs batted in, and finished second in batting average and home runs. The only reason he didn’t lead the league in batting average is because the honor went to his teammate Mookie Betts. The combination of Chris Sale and David Price has been solid all season long, with Craig Kimbrel getting the job done in the ninth inning. The Astros match up well, led by star second baseman Jose Altuve and the strong rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel.
Meanwhile, in the National League, the Brewers hosted the first two games, so the series will move west to Los Angeles for the next three. The Brewers finished the season on an absolute tear, roaring back through the wildcard rankings and surpassing the cubs for the NL central division title. Just like the Red Sox, the Brewers have a triple threat superstar of their own, Christian Yelich. Yelich was tied for third in homeruns, tied for second in runs batted in, and paced the NL for batting average. Surround Yelich with other dominant hitters like Jesus Aguilar, Lorenzo Cain, Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas, and you have a lineup that can take on anyone in the MLB. The Dodgers just might be up for the challenge, with starpower players such as Yasiel Puig, Manny Machado and Justin Turner, and perhaps the best pitching duo mentioned so far: Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu.
How will the World Series turn out? It’s honestly anyone’s guess, as any of these four teams are more than deserving. Tune in tonight as both matchups occur.