You’ll probably read this in another article after all the playoffs are done, but the pearl-clutching that happened when news broke that the playoffs were expanding to 16 teams has been, shall we say, unfounded this year.
The NLCS matchup features nothing but the two best teams in the entire National League: the #1 seed Los Angeles Dodgers and the #2 seed Atlanta Braves. Neither team has lost a game in the playoffs and come into today’s matchup at a combined 10-0. Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the NL bracket, the #5 seed lost in the Wild Card round and the #6 seed was swept in the Divisional round (to say nothing of the #7 and #8 seeds, who obviously were swept in the Wild Card round.
We’ll get the second game in the ALCS matchup today. The winner of the first game was the #1 seed Tampa Bay Rays. The #7 seed Chicago White Sox lost in the Wild Card round, and the Rays knocked off the #5 seed New York Yankees in the Divisional round. Tampa Bay’s opponents will be the #6 seed Houston Astros, but let us not kid ourselves: the Astros are legit. Coming off three consecutive 100-win campaigns, the Astros are led by the exact same position player core and are anchored by a future Hall of Fame starting pitcher. That the Astros are the sixth seed is more a product of a 60-game season than anything else.
As a result, we’re going to get a couple of great series with four extremely talented clubs. What’s not to like? Personally, I’m rooting for a Rays/Dodgers World Series, but we’ll get there when we get there. Enjoy the ride in the meantime.
ALCS Game 2: Astros vs Rays
NLCS Game 1: Braves vs. Dodgers