by: Josh Golden
Baseball is amazing. The World Series is unlike any other championship, there’s no sport that plays anywhere close to 162 games, and it’s America’s pastime. However, today, one unique trait of Major League Baseball stands tall: the tie breaking procedure. In the MLB, if there’s a tie at the end of the season, the two teams who are tied face off in one winner-take-all game known as “Game 163”. Today, for the first time in MLB history, there will be two Game 163s played. For the NL Central title, the Milwaukee Brewers travel to Chicago to battle the Cubs for the division and National League pennant, while the Rockies fly to Los Angeles for a one game showdown with the Dodgers for the NL West title.
For the Central title, the Brewers, led by MVP candidate Christian Yelich, storm into Chicago having won nine of their last ten games and the last seven straight. They’ll face off with a Cubs team who’s won six of their last nine games and will have a crazy home crowd backing them up. The Cubs will be sending Jose Quintana to the mound to face off against Jhoulys Chacin. The Cubs enter the game with a roster full of experience due to their historic World Series run two years ago, but the Brewers haven’t made the postseason since 2011, so they have significantly fewer players with playoff experience. However, the Brewers young core is special, with Jesus Aguilar and Orlando Arcia shining along with Yelich and veterans Lorenzo Cain and Curtis Granderson. The Brewers are entering this game as a confident ball club and I expect them to leave Chicago as NL Central champions.
In the west, the Rockies and slugger Nolan Arenado head to Los Angeles to face off with the reigning NL Champion Dodgers. Both teams have caught fire at the right time, with the Rockies having won nine of their last ten and the Dodgers picking up wins in nine of their last twelve outings. The Dodgers will be sending young stud Walker Buehler, along with his 2.76 ERA, to face off against German Marquez, who’s coming off a record setting start Wednesday, where he struck out the first eight batters he saw. The Rockies have a strong core with Arenado and Charlie Blackmon that could cause damage in October, but they’ll hit a major roadblock today in Los Angeles. Walker Buehler has an ERA under two in each of the last two months, and I expect him to shine today and pick up a huge win for the Dodgers.
One thing to make note of heading into today’s games is that it’s still technically the regular season. Therefore, teams will have the full 40-man roster they’ve had with them for the past month before they have to cut down to 25 for the postseason. Therefore, expect managers to use their relievers, a lot of pinch hitters, and even a few pinch runners. Teams have a deep bench today for the last time, and I expect managers to use that to their advantage.
Today, two divisions will be decided. Champagne will flow in two locker rooms. Division championship shirts will be worn by two well-deserving ball clubs. Today will be a day of baseball unlike any other. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a historic day of Major League Baseball.