MLB Postseason: a blast from the past

Breaking down every MLB postseason series for 2015. With the Toronto Blue Jays making it for the first time since 1993, there will be a much bigger eye on the postseason around Canada. Blue Jays, along with multiple other teams are showing success that their fan bases have been waiting for, for many years.

For Major League Baseball, it feels like being back in the 1980s to the early 1990s. Personally, I don’t know how it feels, being a ’95 baby. However, the older generation is quite familiar. With the 2015 MLB postseason set to begin Tuesday night with the American League wild card game, fans are getting a taste of what the league used to look like in the past as a majority of this year’s postseason teams have not had true success since those years mentioned above.

Prior to last season, the Kansas City Royals had not made the postseason since 1985; besides three of the last 16 seasons, the Mets have not been consistently good since the late 1980s; before 2012, the Pirates last success came in 1990-1992; the last time the Toronto Blue Jays made the postseason was 1993; and the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.

The MLB postseason this year looks as followed: in the American League there are the Royals, Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. While the National Leagues five teams include the Mets, Pirates, Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Blue Jays’ big three come together to carry the team through the playoffs Photo Courtesy of: Sportsnet.ca

Blue Jays’ big three come together to carry the team through the playoffs
Photo Courtesy of: Sportsnet.ca

Breaking it down, the Blue Jays dropped the final two games of the season, losing out on the top seed in the AL. Putting themselves in the position to play third ranked Rangers. This means the second ALDS series will be between the top seeded Royals and the winner of Tuesday’s AL wild card game between the host Yankees and Astros.

In the NL, Cardinals being the top seed will wait till Wednesday’s NL wild card game to know who their opponent will be between the Pirates and Cubs. Leaving the second NLDS series to be played between the Mets and Dodgers. Here is a series by series analysis:

Toronto Blue Jays versus Texas Rangers
Home field advantage: Blue Jays
Season Series: 4-2 Blue Jays

Baseball is back in Canada and the Blue Jays have been one of the hottest teams since the July all-star break, but so have the Rangers. The Blue Jays have gone from a 45-45 record post all-star break, sitting fourth in their division to being American League east winners. The Rangers were 42-46 on the same date, sitting third in their division and have gone on to become AL west champions.

Having home field advantage in the divisional series will be a huge advantage for the Blue Jays success as they have been a very strong home team, but struggled playing away from the Rogers Centre. What could also be a big advantage for the Blue Jays is having a rotation order of David Price, R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada. Having Dickey follow Price after game one could be an issue for Ranger hitters. Stroman will also have the ability to throw Ranger hitters off balance if he were to pitch the following game after.

The Rangers pitching staff has become much more successful over the last two months as the Rangers have a 38-21 record since August 1. The addition of Cole Hamels has been a huge plus for their staff. With an already a strong lineup, the Rangers aren’t something to take lightly for the Blue Jays.

Kansas City Royals versus New York Yankees/Houston Astros
Home field: Royals
Season Series: Royals/Yankees: 2-4 – Royals/Astros: 2-4

The great thing about the MLB postseason is that it’s about creating rivalries and writing new stories. A Royals versus Yankees or Astros series doesn’t come with much icing on the cake, as there is not much history between either of the teams. However, the Royals are a young team with swag, while the Yankees and Astros are much more composed on the field. Any shenanigans from the Royals will only mean the Yankees and Astros will have more to prove.

Kansas City, the runners up in the World Series last year have been consistently good all year. They have the pitching and hitting to compete again this year. However, the Royals have a 15-23 record versus all the teams in the postseason.

It’s tough to say who the Royals would prefer to face, the Yankees or Astros, but either way they’re in for a tough series. I see the Yankees coming out on top in the wild card game, so their veteran presence will be tough for the Royals to overcome even with home field advantage.

St. Louis Cardinals versus Pittsburgh Pirates or Chicago Cubs
Home field: Cardinals
Season series: Cardinals/Pirates: 10-9 – Cardinals/Cubs: 11-8

This is just not fair. It’s not fair to the three teams and to baseball fans. The Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs are the top three teams in the entire MLB, but only one can make it as far as the NLCS, while another won’t get further than Wednesday’s wildcard game.

With all three teams being in the same division, two of the three have to play in the win or go home wildcard game. For fans, the three teams have played some back and forth games all year, making it a guaranteed entertaining postseason, however, the teams will only play a combined (maximum) of six games against each other.

With the Pirates hosting the wildcard game in Pittsburgh, the advantage is on their side to win the one-game playoff. Starting the season 6-12 was not ideal for the Pirates, but they have had the best record in the entire league since. Chicago has clearly hung around all season, but the Pirates home crowd will be the biggest factor on Wednesday.

For the Cardinals, whoever they do face in the NLDS won’t be easy. They’ve been equally matched based off of records. Cardinals look to make it to the World Series for the third time in five years, and as much as they’re contenders, this might be their toughest road to the World Series yet.

Los Angeles Dodgers versus New York Mets
Home field: N/A
Season series: 4-3 Mets

You can’t really call it David versus Goliath since the Mets are also part of a big market like the Dodgers. Both New York and Los Angeles are known for their success in sports. The Mets payroll exceeds $100 million, but is still almost $200 million less than the Dodgers. The difference between the two teams; the Dodgers expectations have been to win the World Series, maybe the Mets had the same, but around baseball the Mets were never expected to be in the position they are in. Many had the Washington Nationals winning the NL East, but the Mets came through, even with multiple injuries.

The Mets will be the fan favourite in this one, but inexperience could be an issue for them. Ace pitcher Matt Harvey is on a so-called “pitch limit” and age has to catch up to Bartolo Colon, right? This is the Dodgers third straight postseason appearance. Yet to make the World Series, the Dodgers are hoping this is the year.

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