October 15, 2021 | SPORTS | By Max Giles | Illustration by Sydney Morris

October baseball is finally here. This year’s playoff picture promises to be filled with extra innings, victories, and heartbreaks. The remaining teams for the American League are the Boston Red Sox (Four Seed) and Houston Astros (Two Seed). For the National League, it’s the San Francisco Giants (One Seed), Los Angeles Dodgers (Four Seed), and Atlanta Braves (Three Seed). 

Starting off in the American League, the Red Sox beat the Yankees and top-seeded Rays to advance to the American League Championship Series (ALCS). The pivotal moment against the Rays came in the 13-inning game three, when the ball accidentally deflected off an outfielder into the stands and was deemed a ground rule double, preventing a Rays runner from scoring and taking the lead, and possibly costing them the game. 

Despite the Red Sox’ seemingly mediocre roster coming into the season, throughout the late season drama they have proved to be a strong ballclub, and shocked the number one seed in the American League. 

The Astros beat the White Sox in a series that also contained plenty of drama. Following game three, a White Sox pitcher brought up the potential of another Astros team cheating their way to victory, similar to the manner in which they did just a couple of years ago. 

However, these accusations were not substantiated and the Astros manager and players proceeded to ignore them. The Astros and Red Sox will face off this Friday Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. 

Moving onto the National League, we have the battle of California teams tied at 2-2 as of Thursday Oct. 14, with the deciding game set for Thursday evening.

The San Francisco Giants are undoubtedly the most surprising story of the 2021 MLB season. In most of the preseason power rankings, the Giants were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league, but went on to finish with the best record in all of baseball. 

On the other hand, the Dodgers were expected to be the best team in baseball coming off a World Series title in 2020.They sit as the four seed, despite finishing only one win behind the Giants in the regular season. 

Finally, the Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers to advance to the National League Championship series on Tuesday. 

The Braves, who fought the World Series champion Dodgers strongly in 2020, had high expectations coming into the 2021 season. Although they underperformed in the regular season, winning under 90 games, their playoff performance has been strong thus far. The winner of the Dodgers/Giants series will face the Braves this Saturday.

Overall, the 2021 MLB postseason has been a fascinating one. Doug Kerizan noted in his ESPN article, “the San Francisco Giants, who had the best record in the majors after entering the season as 100-1 longshots to win the World Series, have their sights set on another unique distinction: sportsbook crusher, as multiple operators each stand to lose more than $1 million if they win the championship.” This illustrates what a crazy story a 2021 championship Giants team would make.

As these series continue to play out, it is certain that more excitement, controversy, and heartbreaks are in store.

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