The chill starts to set in, the leaves begin to change and for a few weeks people put football on the back burner to witness the magnificence that is October baseball.
The marathon of the 162-game baseball season is over and now comes the sprint, when eight teams fight for the Commissioner’s Trophy and the top spot in the baseball world.
In April, the season begins with 30 teams vying for the same goal, then the field narrows to eight. Eight teams have proven themselves this year as the league’s elite. These organizations will possibly have the chance to lift the trophy at the end of the playoffs. The Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Cardinals, Twins, Rockies and Red Sox will compete this October for the ultimate prize in baseball.
For the first round of the baseball Octoberfest the matchups will be: Red Sox vs. Angels, Twins vs. Yankees, Cardinals vs. Dodgers and Rockies vs. Phillies.
The Yankees seem to be favored for the title this year. With a high-powered offense that seems to have no weak spots, C.C. Sabathia on the bump, and the intimidation factor of the pin stripes, the only question is, will their MVP candidates, mainly Alex Rodriguez, remember that they actually have to hit the ball in order to win games?
The Twins may be a surprise this post season. Coming off a one game playoff win over the Tigers to clinch the American League Central, Minnesota will be carrying momentum into playoff time. Even though they have not won a playoff series since 2002, the one hundred and sixty-third win may be just what they need to take down the evil empire of the New York Yankees.
The Cardinals are the heavy favorite in the National League. The Cards have two Cy Young Award candidates in Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, the unquestionable MVP in Albert Pujols. They also had the best mid-season acquisition when they picked up Matt Holliday.
The Dodgers have the task of trying to take down the Cards, but with the best record in the National League, L.A. will play at home where they maintain a 50-31 record. Last season the Dodgers dropped the NLCS to the Phillies but gained some much needed postseason experience.
The Angels are not a team the Yankees should take lightly. The club is run by one of the top managers in the league in Mike Sciocia, and there is no doubt that he’ll have his team ready to play. The Angels quietly had the second best record in the American League and remain a force to be reckoned with.
The Red Sox may not seem threatening but they have peaked at the right time. Pitching during the season was an issue but now that the starting rotation is back to form they pose a risk to other contenders.
The Phillies are going to try and make history by becoming the first National League team to win back-to-back World Series titles since the Reds did it in 1975 and 1976. With the same high-powered offense as last season and a much improved pitching staff the sports world may witness history come Nov.
Finally the Rockies come into the postseason winning five of their last seven games. For the season they averaged just under five runs a game and have seven players in their lineup with 15 plus homeruns.
It is impossible to predict what is going to happen this Oct. with all the great talent on the diamond, but that is what’s great about playoff baseball. The elite in the league will play to make their permanent mark in baseball history.