The MLB Final Four

The most unusual season of MLB is winding down with only four teams left. All of their paths to this point in this postseason have been unique and for two of the teams, unexpected. (Photo from the MLB Twitter)


The MLB postseason is in full swing and has had plenty of exciting moments. 12 teams have had their World Series hopes taken away from them. One of the big teams to be eliminated is the New York Yankees, who lost to the Rays in their five game series. There are four teams left: Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Houston Astros. Let’s take a look at how each team has done during the playoffs.

Series Updates (as of October 15):

ALCS (Rays lead the series 3-1): This series has been a story of missed opportunities and miscues by the Astros and the Rays being able to take advantage of that. The Astros left at least 10 runners on base in each of the first three games of this series, each of those games they lost. Also during those three games the Astros had four errors, three of those errors coming from Astros shortstop, Jose Altuve. One of those errors by Atluve came in game two, and the Astros would have had out three if Atluve didn’t make the error and the Rays took advantage of the opportunity and hit a three run homerun. The Astros cleaned up their offense and defense in game four, no errors, only leaving four runners on base, and scoring four runs and winning the game 4-3. A big part of the 4-3 win was Astros center fielder George Springer’s two run home run to take a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. 

For the Rays, the pitching has been a big key for why they have a 3-1 series lead. The pitching has only given up seven runs this series against a Astros team that put up 33 runs in four games in the ALDS. The Rays’ pitching has also got some huge outs in key situations. In each of the first three games of the series, the Astros had the tying run at the plate in the ninth inning but have only gotten one run across during the ninth innings. 

Other than game four, the Rays have been able to barely get away with wins and are looking to get one more win and get to the World Series for only the second time in team history. 

NLCS (Braves lead series 2-1): This NLCS is a great series against two great teams. Game one was a really close game through eight innings, the score being 1-1 going into the ninth and then the Braves took control of the game, scoring four runs and taking a 5-1 lead. The start of that four run inning was a home run from the Braves Austin Riley, who led off the ninth inning and solo home run to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. 

Game two the Braves were dominating most of the game, leading 7-0 going into the bottom of the seventh but then the Dodgers offense caught fire. It started in the seventh inning with a Corey Seager three run home run. Things became really interesting with two outs in the ninth when Cody Bellinger hit a triple that scored a run and cut the Braves lead down to 8-7 and a runner on third. 

Unluckily for the Dodgers, they were not able to get the runner from third home and lost the game 8-7 and fell behind in the series 2-0. Game three was a whole different story though. The Dodgers came out swinging, scoring 11 runs in the first inning alone, which is a postseason record for the number of runs in one inning. The Dodgers ended up adding four more runs by the third inning and having a 15-1 lead after three innings. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers cruised to a 15-3 win and got the series to 2-1, which got them back into the series and kept them in contention to go to the World Series. 

A big story for the Dodgers has been ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw not pitching yet in the series due to back spasms. Kershaw is set to pitch in game four, another crucial game for the Dodgers to win to get the series tied at 2-2. 

A look back at how the these four teams got to the Conference Championship series

NLCS: Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Atlanta Braves (Postseason record 5-0): The Braves have dominated this postseason so far. The Braves have swept their series against the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins. It was a little bit of a slow start for the Braves with game one of the wild card series against the Reds going 12 scoreless innings before Freddie Freeman was able to get a walk off hit in the 13. Since then it has been all Braves, with the pitchers doing an amazing job and shutting out opponents four of the five postseason games. The offense for the Braves has done a great job too, scoring 29 runs so far this postseason. Travis d’Arnaud has been the breakout star for the Braves this postseason with a batting average of .421% and two home runs. The Braves pitching is going to face their toughest task yet this postseason with the explosive Dodgers’ offense. 

Los Angeles Dodgers (Postseason record 5-0): The Dodgers cruised through this postseason so far, sweeping their series against the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. The offense has been amazing for the Dodgers, with scoring at least three runs in each of their postseason games and scoring 30 runs total. What is surprising is that the Dodgers have only hit two home runs in this postseason. The closest a team has gotten to beating the Dodgers was in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Padres. The Dodgers won the game 6-5 although the Padres had a chance in the top of the ninth to score but couldn’t capitalize. A huge play in that game was Cody Belligner, centerfielder for the Dodgers, robbing Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. of a home run that would have given the Padres the lead. The Dodgers are facing their hardest task this postseason as they face a good all round team in the Braves. 

ALCS: Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays

Houston Astros (Postseason record 5-1): The Astros are the most unlikely team to have gotten this far because of their 29-31 record during the regular season. The Astros have gotten hot at just the right moment though, scoring 42 runs so far this postseason. The pitching started off the postseason strong, only allowing two runs against the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Series. During the Division Series, the Astros pitching was less dominant, allowing 22 runs against the Oakland Athletics. A huge part of the Astros offence during this postseason has been Carlos Correa, who has hit 4 home runs so far this postseason, including a home run in Game 4 of the ALDS against the A’s that gave the Astros a 5-3 lead after the A’s went up 3-0 in the second inning. The Astros look to keep their offense hot against the Rays great pitching.

Tampa Bay Rays (Postseason record 5-2): The Tampa Bay Rays had the best record in AL during the regular season and have had an amazing season. Their postseason journey hasn’t been as easy as the other team. They did sweep the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card Series  but in the ALDS they had to go all five games in a five game series against the New York Yankees. It was a great collective effort by both the Rays pitching and hitting to get them past the Yankees. The biggest play of the series by the Rays was Michael Brosseau hitting a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning in Game 5 against Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees closer. The Rays look to keep momentum going in the ALCS against the Astros and move onto the World Series.


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