MLB Wild Card Games

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge follows through on a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of the American League wildcard playoff baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, in new York (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

AP

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge follows through on a two-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of the American League wildcard playoff baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, in new York (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Regan Brown, Sports Editor

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October signifies the start of fall, but for baseball fans across the nation, it signifies the start of the MLB’s postseason and World Series race. After 162 games, the long season comes to an end after nearly 6 months of games, but not for the 10 teams that advance to the postseason.

The six lucky teams that had the best record in their divisions were exempt from the immense stress and excitement that comes with the Wild Card Game, which is a one-game playoff that determines which two of the four teams involved will advance one step closer to the World Series. The stakes are high for this game because unlike the other playoff games, there is only one chance to prove yourself rather than a best of 5 or 7 game series every other postseason series involves. For those four teams, it’s either win or go home, which is a lot of pressure for them and their respective fans.

This year, in particular, was an extremely rare and interesting occurrence with the National League playoff race. In both the NL West and Central divisions, there was a tie for first place. Because of this, the seldom played “Game 163” was put into action, which is essentially a tiebreaker to determine which teams will get the division title and which teams will be subjected to the anxiety of the Wild Card Game. The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Colorado Rockies, sending the Rockies into the Wild Card game and the Dodgers into the Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs, sending the Cubs to play the Rockies in the Wild Card Game and the Brewers to await the winner of the Wild Card Game to face off in the division series.

The National League Wild Card game took on as captivating of a role as the circumstances that placed each team in the game. The Rockies got off to a slow start and scored one run early on, which the Cubs left unanswered until the 8th inning, creating yet another tie. By the end of the 9th, the game was still tied, resulting in extra innings and even more tension to an already high stakes game. The game finally came to a decision in the 13th inning when the Rockies backup catcher, Tony Wolters, singled and brought in the go-ahead run, as the Cubs were unable to score any more runs. Both teams’ defense brought their A-game, leaving it a pitcher’s battle between the two teams as neither team seemed to be able to score any runs. The Cubs were eliminated from the World Series Race, and the Rockies’ World Series hopes remain alive as they move on to play the Milwaukee Brewers.

The American League playoff race, while just as interesting as its counterpart, was a more traditional postseason arrangement. The New York Yankees, who dominated the entire season, were granted the first Wild Card spot, and the remaining spot was given to the Oakland Athletics, who had a surprisingly impressive season as well. For those two teams, it was a dramatic contrast of payroll. The Athletics, who are infamous for having one of the lowest salaries in baseball, had a return to their famed 2002 “moneyball” season, in which they were extremely successful, despite paying the least amount in player salaries, while the Yankees paid top dollar for stars such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, yet, they had similar seasons. The Yankees got off to a great start early on in the game, with a 2-run homer for Aaron Judge in the first inning, followed by a rare 2-run triple by Luke Voit in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Although the A’s did drive in a few runs late in the game, they were unable to recover to the early blows and fell to the Yankees 7-2. The Yankees will face off against their greatest rival, the Boston Red Sox, in the American League Division Series.

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1 Comment

One Response to “MLB Wild Card Games”

  1. Robbie Loya on October 22nd, 2018 1:37 pm

    The Red Sox’s are going to win it all, they have a strong pitching rotation as well as having a really strong starting lineup. I’m excited to witness history, I can’t wait to see who wins it all.

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MLB Wild Card Games