After a thrilling AL Wild Card game on Tuesday night and a too-late-for-issue NL Wild Card game on Wednesday, the MLB Postseason is well underway, with plenty of great teams having the opportunity to win it all. Between the 107-win San Francisco Giants, the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the winningest Tampa Bay Rays squad in franchise history, there are some dominant teams looking to make a run. However, this is October and anything can happen, as division winners like the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers hope to do some damage. But who will reign supreme? Our team shares their takes:
Associate Sports Editor
Boston Red Sox
Alright look, I’m probably (definitely) riding high off of the Wild Card win over the Yankees. But why not? The last time the Sox were in the playoffs, they went on one of the most dominant postseason runs in recent history, winning all but three games on their way to their fourth ring this century. They’re definitely hot, coming off of a crucial sweep of the Nationals and a dominant win at home to send New York off to the golf course in Cancun. Nathan Eovaldi looks great. The bullpen looks great. This offense, missing down the season’s stretch at times, is actually showing up. For Pete’s sake, they just sent 324 million dollar man Gerrit Cole home for the year after just two innings pitched. With team leaders and proven winners like Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts leading this energized squad into the ALDS, who knows what can happen. October is here, and no team has thrived as much in October since 2004 as the Boston Red Sox.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been “that team” all year. They started off as a squad that many people wrote off as being an early-season outlier, but no one’s laughing now with their 107 wins. Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman has been their ace all year, and although he weathered a bit of a slump, he looks to be back in form just in time for the playoffs. Pitcher Logan Webb has also been a pleasant surprise this year, along with Anthony DeSclafani with each posting sub-3.2 ERAs. On the other side of the ball, the acquisition of Kris Bryant was huge, as well as very nice seasons for Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. The Giants do not have one player that is necessarily “that guy,” but their large collection of talent makes them incredibly dangerous regardless and capable of earning their veteran-laden roster rings.
Los Angeles Dodgers
I’m going to be ambitious with my pick and choose the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite finishing second to the powerhouse San Francisco Giants and playing in the NL Wild Card, don’t let their second-place finish fool you. This team still won 106 games and can compete with any team in the entire league. I just have to pick them to grab another ring. Where could you start with this team? The infield is absolutely stacked with shortstop Trea Turner, fan-favorite Corey Seager and the reliable Justin Turner. That doesn’t even begin to touch an outfield that contains former MVP Mookie Betts and AJ Pollock. The pitching roster is absolutely beautiful despite injuries and controversy as it flaunts a 20-win Julio Urias, a great Max Scherzer and even Red Sox legend Joe Kelly. It’s going to be hard to beat this team and I don’t envision them losing.
The Braves are coming off two major heartbreaks within the last year, blowing a 3-1 lead to the Dodgers and losing Ronald Acuna Jr. on a torn ACL. The Braves need to win this for both of those painful memories. Adam Duvall came back to Atlanta and quietly put up a 38-homer season while leading all of baseball in runs batted in with 113. Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson both have playoff experience that helps increase the power of the outfield. Mike Soroka may be hurt, but Charlie Morton was a sensational pickup in free agency to go alongside Max Fried and Ian Anderson in the rotation. On a good day, Will Smith can shut the door and relievers like Richard Rodriguez, AJ Minter and Luke Jackson can help get him there. Importantly, there’s also the loaded infield where each starting member hit 25 or more home runs. If the offense is clicking and the pitching throws it back to the 90s, then there’s no way the Braves blow this amazing opportunity. Please Atlanta, reverse the fate of the state of Georgia.
I think it’s finally Milwaukee’s time. In their best season since 2018, the Brew Crew got to 95 wins, mostly on the backs of their incredible pitching staff. Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, and Freddy Peralta are likely the best 1-2-3 starting-pitcher combo in baseball, followed by a Brent Suter, Devin Williams and Josh Hader bullpen. My big concern is the offense: Christian Yelich has underperformed all season and that underperformance has been infectious, with the Brewers only scoring about 4.56 runs per game. If the postseason atmosphere doesn’t get more out of this Brewers’ offense, the pitching core would have to put this team on its back to get to the promised land. But hey, if there’s one team that could prove that pitching wins championships, it’s this Milwaukee Brewers one.
Chicago White Sox
People seem to forget that the Chicago White Sox were one of baseball’s best teams throughout the regular season. After what felt like years and years (and years) of irrelevance, the boys on the south side of the city finally made the jump back into the postseason in 2020 and ran away with the AL Central this year. Their offense is… kind of stacked. If any of Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert or Yoan Moncada can get hot at the right time, opposing pitchers will have a hard time mowing down this Chicago lineup. The offense is complimented by a respectable pitching staff – each of Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease turned in a solid season in 2021. However, it’s the two-headed monster of Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks at the back of the bullpen that should really scare opposing teams. Having a guy that you know can shut the door when the game is on the line is an elite advantage and the Sox have two of those guys. On any given day, Chicago can beat you with their offense or with their pitching. You better believe that in the bright lights of October, they will be firing on all cylinders. Baseball is better when the White Sox are good, and man, they are pretty good.
Tampa Bay Rays (but the Red Sox in my heart)
I love the Boston Red Sox, I really do, so don’t get it twisted, but I’m not ignorant of the Tampa Bay Rays’ success this season. They had a really impressive World Series run last year, coming up just short to the Los Angeles Dodgers in game six after they finished the regular season 40-20 which was the best record in the American League. This season, the Rays set a franchise record for wins when they reached 100. At the league level, they lead with strikeouts. They solidified their spot in the AL Division Series long before the Red Sox and Yankees dueled over who would be their opponent. Is it the Tom Brady effect? Well, as a Tom Brady fan, that works for me. The Rays have been putting in the time and effort without spending what the Yankees have on their roster, and just take a look at who gets to play baseball on Thursday. Always wishing the best to my Sox, but the Rays are shining and Boston is going to need to apply sunblock to prevent getting burned.