It is now October which means the leaves are changing color, Michael Jacksons Thriller is being routinely played on the radio in anticipation of Halloween, and best of all, playoff baseball is upon us!The Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers are the teams remaining, all vying for the most prestigious trophy in the sport, the Commissioners Trophy.Each one of the four teams remaining has had to fight through a number of tough opponents and injuries to get to where they are now - one series win away from the World Series. We take a look at the how they got here and potential World Series matchups.
Update: Houston Astros are Out!
The Houston Astros earned a 2018 regular season record of 103 wins and 59 losses to win the West Division. The team finished with the fifth-most runs in the American League (797), behind the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Cleveland Guardians and division rival Oakland As. Despite those only above-average offensive stats, the 2018 Astros excelled on the defensive side of play. They allowed the least runs in the entire American League by a wide margin - 534 runs allowed with the next lowest total recorded by the Tampa Bay Rays with 646. They also allowed the least amount of hits (1,164), home runs (152) and the most strikeouts (1,687).The team was led by an all-star cast highlighted by third baseman Alex Bergman, second baseman Jose Altuve, as well as pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.At the plate, Alex Bergman and outfielder George Springer led the team in runs scored (105 and 102 respectively). Justin Verlander (16), Gerrit Cole (15) and Charlie Morton (15) led the starting pitcher rotation with the most amount of wins.In the playoff picture, they faced the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians, starring the likes of third baseman Jose Ramirez, shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Corey Kluber. The Astros were able to defeat the Indians in the best-of-five series with a sweep of three straight wins.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox earned a 2018 regular season record of 108 wins and 54 losses - the best in the American League. As a sort of opposite to their current opponent, this teams strength lies in their ability to score runs.They scored the most runs in the American League (876), with only the Judge and Stanton-led Yankees as a close competitor in that respect. They also led the league in hits (1,509) and RBI (829).Despite having been an offensive juggernaut, the Red Sox were also responsible defensively. They allowed the third least runs in the entire American League with 647 (Tampa Bay allowed one less). They also had top five stats in hits allowed (1,305) and strikeouts (1,558). The team was led by a cast of right fielder Mookie Betts, designated hitter J.D. Martinez, left fielder Andrew Benintendi, as well as all-star pitchers Chris Sale and David Price.At the plate, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez led the team in runs scored (129 and 111 respectively). Rick Porcello (17), David Price (16) and Eduardo Rodriguez (13) led the starting pitcher rotation with the most amount of wins.The Red Sox faced the divisional rival New York Yankees, who had entered the first round of the playoffs by defeating the Oakland As in a wildcard game. Boston went on to get the best of the likes of pitcher Luis Severino, as well as outfielders Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks to defeat the Yankees in four games.
Update: Milwaukee Brewers are Out!
The Milwaukee Brewers earned a 2018 regular season record of 96 wins and 67 losses to win the Central Division. The team finished with a runs scored total slightly above league average.Despite the lack of stellar offense, the 2018 Brewers excelled on the defensive side of play, though not to the same degree of the Houston Astros. They allowed the fourth-least runs on average in the National League (4.04). They also allowed the second-least amount of hits (1,259), along with being a top five team in terms of strikeouts earned (1,428).The team was led by a cast highlighted by outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, as well as relief pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader.At the plate, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain led the team in runs scored (118 and 90 respectively). Jhoulys Chacin (15), Chase Anderson (9) and Brent Suter (8) led the starting pitcher rotation with the most amount of wins.In the playoff picture, they faced the Colorado Rockies who entered the playoff after getting the better of Chicago Cubs. The Brewers were able to defeat the Rockies in the best-of-five series with a sweep of three straight wins.
Los Angeles Dodgers
General Manager Farhan Zaidi has done a masterful job of assembling a baseball team worthy of a championship, highlighted by Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy. With the World Series within arms reach, the Los Angeles Dodgers are being categorized as the hottest team in the MLB since May, and therefore, are seen a championship favorite by many fans and analysts.The Dodgers earned a 2018 regular season record of 92 wins and 71 losses to win the West Division. They finished with the most runs in the National League (804, 24 more than the next highest, Colorado Rockies). They also led the league with 235 home runs and 756 RBI.Along with being an offensive powerhouse, the Dodgers were also in elite territory on the defensive side of the game. They allowed the least amount of runs on average (3.74 per game) and the most strikeouts (1,565).At the plate, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger led the team in runs scored (85 and 84 respectively). Rich Hill (11), Clayton Kershaw (9) and Alex Wood (9) led the starting pitcher rotation with the most amount of wins.The team defeated the likes of Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Mike Foltynewicz and the rest of the Atlanta Braves in four games in their best-of-five series.
Potential World Series Matchups
Update 10/22:The World Series Final has arrived, the Boston Red Sox is pitching against Los Angeles Dodgers, as we move towards the game of all games.Stay tuned to the Fanxperience blog for more World Series news.