MLB Divisional Series Recap


Mike Stobe

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 27: Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on from the dugout prior to the start of the game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 27, 2019 in New York City. Milwaukee Brewers defeated the New York Mets 8-6. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Josh Klopp, Editor

The 2021 MLB Postseason kicked off on October 5th with the oldest, and perhaps most heated, rivalry in baseball. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox squared off to decide which east coast team would move on. The biggest storyline from the American League Wild Card game was a shocking one and it came early. The $324 million man, Gerrit Cole, was jumped on by the Red Sox and failed to record an out in 3rd inning before being pulled from the game. The Yankees other mega-contract, Giancarlo Stanton, lived up to his $29 million salary. He went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run which made him the singular bright spot for the Yankees in this win-or-go-home matchup. The Red Sox made the challenge from the Yankees seem relatively easy to handle as they won 6-2 and advanced to play the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series (ALDS).

The other Wild Card game, in the National League, was between the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals and the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers were heavy favorites to win this game but went behind in the 1st inning due to a Max Scherzer wild pitch. The Dodgers did not have to wait long to find security. In the 4th inning the Dodgers most consistent playoff standout, Justin Turner, blasted a ball into the bullpen in left field to tie the game at one. This extended his lead as the player with the most postseason home runs in Dodger franchise history with 13. Both teams’ pitchers dueled for the rest of the game until Chris Taylor called game. In the bottom of the 9th inning, he ripped a walk-off line drive home run into the left field bleachers to send the Dodgers to the National League Division Series (NLDS) and the Cardinals home packing.

October 7th gave us Game 1 of both ALDS series. The Boston Red Sox traveled to Tampa Bay and the AL West winning Houston Astros hosted the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox. The Astros showed why they were the home team in this series by beating up on the White Sox in both games 1 & 2. It was easy for the White Sox to keep faith; their fans were desperate for playoff baseball and were going to do everything they could to help the team get an advantage. This advantage worked just as planned as the White Sox won 12-6 in their return to Chicago. The ecstasy was very short lived as the Astros took the lead in the 3rd inning of game 4 and did not look back. They won the game 10-1 and took the series 3-1. The other ALDS series had a different result as the visiting Red Sox used their momentum from the Wild Card game to roll through Tampa. The Red Sox failed to score a run in Game 1, but then rattled off 3 wins in a row to take the series and move on to the next round.

The NLDS began with the 2nd seed Milwaukee Brewers taking on the 3rd seed Atlanta Braves. The Brewers identity is based on their elite starting pitching. It was a given that their runs against would not be of concern. However, they did come into the series with some uncertainty. The only question is if their batting would show up when they needed it. The Brewers answered this question, and left no doubt, by scoring only 2 runs in the first 3 games of the series. They did manage to squeak out a 2-1 win in game one, but then lost 3-0 in the next two games. Game 4 of this series was an instant classic. The Brewers fought hard for their season. They earned two 2 run leads, only to immediately give them up. The game remained tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 8th inning when the nail was put in the Brewers coffin. The 2020 NL MVP, Freddie Freeman, sent a ball deep into the night to bring himself in as the game winning run. The last of the Division Series is undoubtedly the most anticipated and most contentious. It is a showdown of the teams with the two best records in the MLB this season. A best-of-five series between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. This series has been back and forth all the way. The teams have alternated wins and gifted fans with a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday, October 14. The pitching matchup has this game looking like it will be one to remember. Starting on the bump for the Dodgers will be Julio Urías. Urías had an unreal 20-3 record during the regular season and will be looking to build off his Game 2 win. The Giants will be sending out their 24 year old ace, Brandon Webb, who won Game 1. The winner of this series will be the favorite to win the NLCS and a major contender to win it all.