At the time this article went to publish, the World Series had not yet begun.
It’s October. That means it is time for the postseason.
Ten teams enter the playoffs, but only one is satisfied at the end of October.
It all started with two thrilling one-game playoffs for the National League West and National League Central, in which the Dodgers and Brewers prevailed to avoid the Wild Card Game, which took place the following day.
The postseason officially began with Tony Wolters hitting a go-ahead RBI single up the middle to give the Rockies the chance to play the Brewers.
The next day in the Bronx, Luis Severino, and the Yankees beat the “bullpenning” A’s 7-2, thanks to home runs by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. New York moved on to face the presumed American League MVP, Mookie Betts, and the best team in the league, the Boston Red Sox.
In the best series of the year, Chris Sale dominated in game one and slugger J.D. Martinez homered to left to give Boston the one game lead.
In game two, Boston’s offense fell asleep as Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez homered twice, once in the second inning and again in the seventh, to lead the “Bronx Bombers” to a win before the series moved to Yankee Stadium for games three and four.
Game three was highlighted by the star power of the Red Sox offense. Combining for 18 hits and 16 runs, including a key Andrew Benintendi double, down the right field line clearing the bases. The story though was Brock “Brocktober” Holt. He became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game. The highlight of his cycle was the home run he hit in the ninth inning off of Yankees backup catcher Austin Romine.
The final game of the historic series was game four. Boston got out to a 3-0 lead from J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly, an Ian Kinsler double over Brett Gardner’s head, and Eduardo Nunez singled over the third baseman’s head to drive in Kinsler. The Red Sox would score another run on a “Yankee Stadium” home run in the first row of the right-field bleachers by catcher Christian Vasquez. The real action came in the ninth when Red Sox fans were holding their breath because their closer, Craig Kimbrel, hit Neil Walker with the bases loaded to make it a 4-2 game, and then catcher Gary Sanchez hit a towering fly ball to the warning track, scoring Didi Gregorius. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Gleybar Torres hit a slow ground ball to third base, and Eduardo Nunez made the throw to a stretched Steve Pearce at first base to send the Red Sox to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2013, when they won the World Series.
Over in Houston, the Astros won the first two games of the series thanks to dominating starts by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Three Astros homered off of Indians’ ace Corey Kluber including one by reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve. Alex Bregman homered for the second consecutive game to left field leading the Astros into a comfortable lead going into Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Astros center fielder George Springer took over game three hitting two home runs off the Indians as Houston advanced the American League Championship for the second consecutive year.
On the National League side, the star-powered Milwaukee Brewers swept the exhausted Colorado Rockies, as Mike Moustakas hit a walk-off single to win Game 1, and then in Games two and three Milwaukee’s offense yet again took over as Erik Kratz had a huge single to help them pull away for the final game of the series in Milwaukee. On a chilly day in Colorado, the Rockies offense could never get going, and a balk from Scott Oberg scoring Mike Moustakas led to the unraveling of yet another early exit from the Rockies.
What seemed like a boring series between the Braves and Dodgers became one of interest because after Atlanta couldn’t score one run in their first two games, their bats came alive at SunTrust Park.
Dominant pitching performances between Hyun Jin Ryu in Game 1 and Clayton Kershaw in Game 2 left the young Braves team in a hole going back home for a do-or-die Game 3.
Ronald Acuna Jr. became the youngest player ever to hit a grand slam in a postseason game at 20-year-old (Mickey Mantle was 21) in the second inning and Freddie Freeman came up clutch homering to deep right field propelling the Braves to a Game 4 the next day.
The Dodgers closed out the series in Atlanta with the help of Manny Machado driving in four including a three-run home run in the top of the seventh, to put an end to Atlanta’s surprising season.
The National League Championship series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers/Atlanta Braves was one for the ages. In Game 1 in Milwaukee, it seemed like the Brewers were going to have an easy night, jumping out to an early lead as relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff hit a home run off of Clayton Kershaw, which was the first one hit from a left-handed relief pitcher off of a left-handed pitcher in postseason history. In a controversial move by manager Craig Counsell, Josh Hader entered the game in the fifth inning. He ended up pitching three innings and got out of the game before the Dodgers mounted a comeback. In the eighth, Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado singled in two making it a three-run affair. Matt Kemp then singled scoring Max Muncy and Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress had to enter to limit the damage. In the top half of the ninth, Chris Taylor tripled to right-center field past a leaping Lorenzo Cain to make it a one-run game, but Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner to give Milwaukee the series lead.
Turner was the highlight for Game 2, homering in the top of the eighth off closer Jeremy Jeffress to give Los Angeles a lead they would hold onto for the game two wins, and a happy flight back home for Game 3.
Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun doubled in Christian Yelich in the first and Travis Shaw scored on a wild pitch in the sixth to give the Brewers an early lead. Walker Buehler seemed to dominate throughout the game but made a mistake up and over the plate as shortstop Orlando Arcia hit a home run over the outreached hands of Yasiel Puig to give Milwaukee a four-run lead, which they would keep the remainder of the contest.
Brewers Craig Counsell made a controversial move in Game 3 by bringing in Josh Hader in the eighth inning with a 4-0 lead, and the Dodgers weren’t threatening at all. Like Fox analyst and MLB Hall of Famer, John Smoltz said during the broadcast, this move “eliminated the weapon” for Game 4 the following day.
Well, Josh Hader still pitched and he dominated. Hader came into the Game 4 in the eighth and struck out pinch-hitter Matt Kemp with a runner in scoring position.
After 5 hours and 13 innings of baseball, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger hit a walk-off single to right field to score Manny Machado tying up the series 2-2, giving Los Angeles momentum with Clayton Kershaw on the mound going into Game 5.
In Game 5, Clayton Kershaw finally was clutch in the playoffs as he struck out nine while Yasiel Puig had a huge single up the middle to lead Los Angeles to a one-game lead over Milwaukee in the series heading back to Milwaukee for the final games.
Dodgers first baseman David Freese led the game off with a bang, homering to right field just five pitches into the game, but Milwaukee’s Jesus Aguilar and Mike Moustakas hit back-to-back doubles scoring three runs in the first. The Dodgers would only be able to score one more run, and Milwaukee added four more runs to force a Game 7 to go to the World Series.
It is also valid to note that Josh Hader did not pitch, so Craig Counsell was able to use Hader with no restrictions in Game 7.
In Game 7, Josh Hader gave up the big hit in the game which was a wall-scraping home run by Yasiel Puig to lead Los Angeles to their second consecutive World Series appearance.
Cody Bellinger took home the NLCS Most Valuable Player Award after hitting the walk-off single in Game 4 and hitting one of the two home runs in the deciding Game 7.
The American League Championship series between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox had much more interest than the National League side because of the star pitching on the Astros including Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Dallas Keuchel, and the Red Sox’s high-powered offense including probable MVP Mookie Betts, J.D Martinez, and Andrew Benintendi. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was an assistant coach of Astros manager A.J. Hinch when they won the World Series over the Dodgers last season.
In Game 1, it was the battle of the aces; Justin Verlander v.s. Chris Sale at Fenway Park.
Houston got to Chris Sale early as George Springer singled to left making it a 2-0 game, but Verlander struggled to throw the ball over the plate in the fifth inning, as he walked Mitch Moreland with the bases loaded, and then threw a breaking ball in the dirt, and the ball got away from catcher Martin Maldonado scoring Jackie Bradley Jr. to tie the game at two. An inning later, shortstop Carlos Correa hit a jam-shot to centerfield, and Alex Bregman came in to score to give Houston their second lead of a game. Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel gave Houston some insurance as Reddick homered to center field ad Gurriel hit a “Pesky Pole” three-run home run, making it a five-run win for the Astros.
The question going into Game 2 at Fenway was if Red Sox starter David Price would continue to struggle in the postseason which would force him to a bullpen role or if he could finally get his first postseason win in his career as a starter (0-9 in playoffs with 6.03 ERA).
Price, unfortunately, was not in the situation to get the win, but this was the first game in which he started and Boston was able to get the win.
In the third inning, the score was tied at two when Marwin Gonzalez homered over the Green Monster giving Houston a lead, but Jackie Bradley Jr. came back the following half inning by clearing the bases with a double off of the Green Monster, which gave Boston a one-run lead. Mookie Betts had the first real postseason moment of his career when he doubled to right-center in the eighth to make it a three-run ballgame. Closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a run on a Jose Altuve single off the wall, but he was able to close the game out to even the series at one apiece, heading to Houston for Games 3 and 4.
Despite all of that, the Boston Red Sox crushed the Astros 8-2 in Game 3, thanks to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. hit the second grand slam of his career in the eighth inning making the game out of reach.
Jackie Bradley Jr. stayed hot hitting another home run; this one giving the Red Sox the lead in the sixth inning, and Andrew Benintendi made “The Catch” to end the game.
The Red Sox advanced to the World Series after huge home runs by Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez in Game 5 in Houston. Jackie Bradley Jr. won the ALCS MVP after driving in nine runs during the series including a grand slam in Game 3 and another home run in Game 4.
The 2018 World Series will be the Los Angeles Dodgers vs The Boston Red Sox.
This will be Boston’s first World Series appearance since they won it all back in 2013, and the Dodgers are trying to win their first title since 1988.
Fenway Park is the site of Games 1 and 2, then the series shifts to Los Angeles for Games 3, 4, and 5, and if necessary back to Boston for games 6 and 7.
The Red Sox open up as -135 point favorites to beat the Dodgers, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
Chris Sale and David Price will start for Boston in Games 1 and 2 with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu going for the Dodgers.
The World Series will start on Tuesday, October 23 and will end on October 31 if it goes to seven games.
All start times for the World Series are around 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Now, the baseball world turns to a free agent class that is expected to be the best in its history. Free agents in the off-season include the likes of Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw (opt-out), Andrew McCutchen, Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson, and of course, Bryce Harper.
Update: The Boston Red Sox won 2018 World Series in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers. After Boston gained a two game lead going to Dodger Stadium, Max Muncy hit a walk-off home run in the eighteenth inning, but Boston came back and won the final two games to win the championship. Steve Pearce won the World Series MVP after hitting three home runs and eight RBI’s including two home runs in the final game of the series.