By Josh Dillen
This year’s MLB playoffs are in full swing with a whole host of heavy hitters and competitive teams. In the American League Championship, the Boston Red Sox chipped away at the Detroit Tigers victoriously, while the Los Angeles Dodgers battled the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championships but ended up losing. Unfortunately, our esteemed hometown heroes, the Padres, have yet again failed to see the playoffs.
The road to playoff baseball is long and arduous. The regular season consists of 162 games, with each one being fought publicly in front of either adoring home town fans, or hostile interstate rivals. Even a record with 65 losses is enough to get to the playoffs. While winning games is important, staying healthy over such a long season is equally as important. The loss of a clutch infielder, an acrobatic outfielder, or a massive power hitter can spell disaster for any team. While the simple fundamental skills and baseball talent are necessary to see playoff success, a team must stay healthy and have plenty of non-starting depth to make it to the playoffs in the first place.
The American League champions, the Red Sox, have toiled strenuously to reach the World Series. Finishing the regular season with 96 wins and 65 losses, and thanks to good luck facial hair, they won the American League East division and went on to face the Detroit Tigers in the American League Champions. While the Tigers fought valiantly, they could not defeat the Red Sox on their home turf. The Red Sox won the series 4-2 in historic Fenway Park, thanks to a grand slam home run hit by Shane Victorino with the Red Sox trailing by one run. The Red Sox hope to use the momentum from their decisive game six victory and hometown advantage in game one of the World Series. After all, there is no way to start an at bat with a first pitch strike.
In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals proved dominant with an identical record to the Red Sox. The Cardinals also won in game six of their series, dominating the Dodgers, much to the dismay of many Southern Californian fans, with a score of nine to the Dodgers’ zero. The Cardinals have a slight advantage, having won the pennant on a Friday giving them four days between games instead of three for the Red Sox. This gives their pitchers time to rest their arms in preparation for the World Series, allowing them to set up the perfect rotation of starters.
While the Red Sox get the home field advantage, the Cardinals have an extra day to prepare for the grueling series ahead of them. Analysts and sports writers of all kind may attempt to predict the outcome of the series down to the individual games, but no one can know what might happen on any given night. A hometown crowd could be the tenth man or rain clouds could test the adaptability of either team. All that can be assured is that there is an exciting series ahead of us.