It took 162 games to decide things, but given all of the uncertainty heading into the final day of the regular season, it is perhaps an upset that a 163rd game (or even a 164th) wasn’t required. However, the field for the 2021 postseason has now been decided.
The Giants outpaced the Dodgers in a stunning NL West pennant race. San Francisco shocked the baseball world by winning 107 games, the most victories in the franchise’s 139 seasons. As a reward, the Giants will get a few days to rest and prepare for the NL Division Series opener on Friday, while Los Angeles (with a whopping 106 wins) will now have to sweat out a single-game eliminator against the hottest team in the sport.
The Cardinals roared into the NL wild card game thanks to a 35-16 record over their last 51 games, including a franchise-record 17-game winning streak. The Dodgers will host the Cards on Wednesday, and while the two clubs are postseason regulars, this will be their first meeting in the playoffs since 2014.
After a season of tributes to the late Henry Aaron, perhaps it was destiny that Milwaukee and Atlanta would do battle in the postseason for the very first time. The 95-67 Brewers will host the 88-73 Braves in Game One of their NLDS meeting, which begins on Friday.
The Brewers caught fire in midseason and ran away with the NL Central, topping St. Louis by five games even despite the Cards’ late surge. Despite a few shaky moments along the way, the Braves nonetheless overcame the loss of injured superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. to capture their fourth straight NL East title.
“Champa Bay” has already collected two Stanley Cups and a Super Bowl within the last two years, and the 100-62 Rays will look to add a World Series title to the local trophy case. The Rays will start their journey in the AL Division Series on Thursday, and they’ll be facing off against a familiar AL East opponent, no matter who wins the AL wild card game.
That opponent will be decided on Tuesday, as the Yankees and Red Sox will add another chapter to their rivalry by meeting in the wild card game for the first time. Both New York and Boston won today to clinch their postseason berths, finishing with identical 92-70 records (and holding off the 91-win Blue Jays and the 90-win Mariners). Because the Sox won the season series by a 10-9 margin, Tuesday’s game will take place at Fenway Park.
The Astros and White Sox will square off in the other ALDS matchups, meeting for the first time in the postseason since Chicago defeated Houston in the 2005 World Series. The 95-67 Astros have the homefield advantage over the 93-69 White Sox, and this series will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between veteran managers Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa.
Now that we know which 10 teams will be continuing into October, the question remains….who do you think will be the last team standing at the end of October? (Link to poll for app users)