The league championship series, which begin Sunday with the Texas Rangers at the Houston Astros in the ALCS, may not have been MLB’s ideal matchups for the postseason.
Despite three teams with 100-plus wins – the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Baltimore Orioles – all being eliminated quickly, baseball is left with an all-Texas matchup in the ALCS and an NLCS series between the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks and the star-studded Philadelphia Phillies.
A potential repeat of an Astros-Phillies World Series may not generate much excitement. Last year’s rematch was one of the lowest-rated World Series in history.
However, who knows? It could still be an enthralling display of baseball, something that has been lacking in the postseason due to several blowouts and sweeps.
Here are five key takeaways from the postseason:
1. Questioning the playoff format
The current playoff format, with three of the top four seeded teams being eliminated, will inevitably be scrutinized. The long wait for the first postseason series disrupts the routine of a sport that relies on the 162-day grind. However, the blame for the early exits of the Orioles, Dodgers, and Braves should be placed on the teams themselves rather than the format.
The only potential solution would involve shortening the rest time for the top seeds by changing the wild-card series to a do-or-die format. However, this would affect TV revenue, making it unlikely for MLB to make any drastic changes.
2. Lance Lynn’s struggles
In Game 3 of the NLDS, Dodgers starter Lance Lynn made history by serving up four home runs in a single inning against the Diamondbacks, an unprecedented feat in postseason history. Lynn had already given up a league-leading 44 home runs during the regular season. His performance was reminiscent of his time with the White Sox, where he struggled and became known for not taking responsibility for his team’s shortcomings.
3. Bryce Harper’s demeanor
Bryce Harper has often been described as an unlikeable figure, especially by opposing players. During the NL Division Series, Harper’s interaction with Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia resulted in a postgame backlash. MLB Network’s Alanna Rizzo faced criticism for her reaction to a reporter’s coverage of the incident, highlighting tensions between the media and the league.
4. The matchup of managers
The ALCS will showcase the matchup between two future Hall of Fame managers, Dusty Baker and Bruce Bochy. Bochy, with three World Series rings, has previously faced criticism for his decisions in the playoffs but has maintained a graceful approach. His managerial success is evident, with 49 postseason victories and a .598 winning percentage.
5. Nick Castellanos’ postseason success
Joe Maddon once referred to Nick Castellanos and his family as a “reality show in the making.” After a trade to the Cubs in 2019, Castellanos had a sizzling performance and became a fan favorite. Now with the Phillies, he has become the first player to hit two home runs in consecutive postseason games. The Cubs’ decision not to re-sign Castellanos remains unexplained.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.