MLB playoffs begin for contenders Four match-ups will determine one champion
By Collin Trotter
For most of the country, the arrival of October brings an exciting time of colorful leaves and colder weather. For baseball fans, the month brings a whole new type of thrill: The Major League Baseball playoffs.
The playoff format of baseball is simple, with 10 teams playing for one trophy and one title: World Champions. The San Francisco Giants were the 2012 Champions but were unable to return to the playoffs, meaning a new team will take the crown this year. The playoffs are already underway, and three teams have already been eliminated from postseason play. For the Cleveland Indians, the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves, the season is over. As the running joke goes, these three teams will have to take satisfaction from an early vacation. For the remaining seven teams, the dream is still intact. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team to have advanced to the third round, after winning their third game in a best of five series late Monday night.
Though it is very early in the playoffs, the excitement has been unmistakable. In the Oakland Athletics victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday, the Oakland A’s closer Grant Balfour and Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez got into it on the field, throwing obscenities and threats at each other until both benches cleared.
The conflict was resolved with no punches thrown, but expect this to be a storyline as the series comes to a close this week. The Oakland A’s had a 2-1 series lead as of Monday, and were hoping for a victory that would take them straight to their first American League Championship Series since 2006. However, after an 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland A’s will have to fight for their ALCS ticket in game 5 on their home field.
The Tampa Bay Rays-Boston Red Sox series features two teams that are division rivals. These two teams have played each other 19 times throughout the course of the season, with the Red Sox winning 12 of the games.
However, any true baseball fans know that when it comes to the playoffs, anything can happen. The Red Sox came into the series with the best record in baseball and showed it by winning the series in game 5 with a 3-1 victory.
No matter what happens in the Pittsburgh Pirates- St. Louis Cardinals series, the Pittsburgh fans already have something to celebrate. For the first time since 1992, the Pirates had a winning season, going an impressive 94-68. Built on a low payroll and a diehard fan base, the Pirates look to continue to improve their already successful season. The Cardinals look to regain the championship they won in 2011. The series is currently tied 2-2.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have quite the opposite storyline, with a rich tradition of success, and the second highest payroll in all of the MLB. With an immense payroll of over $200 million, they have almost triple the payroll that the Pirates have.
The Dodgers had huge expectations coming into the season, after a year ago participating in the largest blockbuster trade the MLB had ever seen.