The Return of October Baseball
From walk-offs to incredible pitching, postseason baseball was once again a show to remember. This year’s playoffs did not disappointed, with tons of close games, as well as amazing individual performances. With the Washington Nationals winning their World Series matchup against the Houston Astros, which marked the end of the 2019 playoffs, here is a recap of how the playoffs played out.
The MLB playoffs are split between brackets. One side of the bracket is the National League (NL) and the other side of the bracket is the American League (AL). One each side of the bracket, teams form those specific leagues battle until there is a champion of the National League and a champion of the American League. Those two teams then take place in the heavily anticipated World Series and the winner of that series is crowned champion of the MLB.
NL Wild Card Round: Nationals defeat the Brewers 4-3.
The Nationals advanced from the Wild Card game in walk-off fashion, with outfielder, Juan Soto, getting the hit of the game in the 8th inning. Down three with the bases loaded, Soto hit a line-drive single to right field. Rookie right fielder, Trent Grisham, made an error in right field when the ball got past him, allowing the Nationals to take a 4-3 lead. Reliever, Daniel Hudson, got the save an inning later, advancing the Nationals to the NLDS.
AL* Wild Card Round: Rays defeat the Athletics 5-1
The Rays were able to defeat the Athletics behind four home runs and a strong pitching performance from starter, Charlie Morton, who went five innings with no earned runs. The four home runs came from Yandy Diaz (2), Tommy Pham, and Avisail Garcia. On the other hand, the only run scored by the A’s came off of a Rays error in the third inning. All of the runs came early in the game; from the sixth inning on, no runs were scored.
NL Division Series: Nationals defeat the Dodgers in five games
The Nationals pulled off a massive upset in their matchup against the top-seeded Dodgers in a tight series. The two teams went back and forth, with the Dodgers winning game one and three and the Nationals winning games two, four, and five. The Nationals were led by MVP candidate, Anthony Rendon, who totaled six RBI (runs batted in) throughout the series. The play of the series came in the win-it-all game five, where Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam to break the tie and ultimately win the series. Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto also had back to back home runs earlier in game five, which help set up Kendrick’s game-winning blast.
Cardinals defeat the Braves in five games
The St. Louis Cardinals were able to defeat the Braves in another tight series that went to five games. In the final game, the Cardinals exploded for ten runs in the first inning and never looked back, winning game 13-1 to clinch their spot in the next round, the National League Championship series. They were led by outfielder, Marcell Ozuna, who totaled five RBI throughout the series as well as multiple home runs to boost the Cardinals past the Braves.
American League Division Series: Yankees defeat the Twins in three games
The star-studded Yankees made quick work of the Twins, sweeping them in their series. The Yankees were led by their hitting, scoring 10 runs in the first game, 8 in the second game, and 5 in game three. The Yankees had multiple standout players, including Didi Gregorious (with 6 RBI and a grand slam in game two) and Gleyber Torres (4 RBI, 3 hits in game three), as well as strong pitching from starters James Paxton and Luis Severino.
Astros defeat the Rays in five games
The Astros were able to advance to their third straight ALCS after beating the Rays in a surprising five games. The Astros, having the most wins in the regular season out of every team, were expected to make quick work of the Rays. However, after taking a 2-0 series lead, the Astros lost games three and four, which left the series to a win or go home game five. Behind an amazing pitching performance from Gerrit Cole, who totaled 10 strikeouts ad 2 hits allowed through 8 innings, the Astros were able to win game five 6-1 and advance. Cole also shined in game two, where he totaled 15 strikeouts in 8 innings pitched.
National League Championship Series: Nationals defeat the Cardinals in four games
The Nationals made surprisingly quick work of the Cardinals in the NLCS to advance to their first-ever World Series. The Nationals were carried by their strong pitching. In fact, starter Annibal Sanchez threw 72/3 no-hit innings in game one in a 2-0 victory. Fellow starters, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, also had an amazing series; neither of them allowed a single run in their respective starts in games two and three. Along with the strong pitching, the Nationals offense exploded in game three, scoring 8 runs in the win. They were able to carry that momentum into game four, where they won 7-4 and punched their ticket to the World Series. For the Cardinals, the performance was disappointing, as they were shutout in game one, scored one run in game three, scored one run again in game three, and then four in game four.
American League Championship Series: Astros defeat the Yankees in six games
In a battle with two of the best rosters in the MLB, the Astros were able to pull through and advance to the World Series in six games. After dropping game one to the Yankees, the Astros were able to win three straight to take a 3-1 series lead. The Yankees were able to win game five to make the series 3-2, but they came up short in game 6. Game six included multiple late-game heroics, including a 2-run home run from DJ LeMahieu to tie the game 4-4 in the top of the ninth inning. LeMahieu, who had been one of the best hitters in the league all season, saved the Yankees season with his home run. However, his efforts would be spoiled as in the bottom of the ninth, the Astros’ Jose Altuve delivered a two-run home run of his own to walk off and send the Astros to the World Series for the second time in three years. The Astros were led by strong pitching, including dominant starts from both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
World Series: Nationals defeat Astros in seven games
The Nationals were able to win their first-ever World Series after defeating the Astros in a hard-fought seven games. The Nationals started hot, winning games one and two in Houston. The National’s offense shined in these two games, scoring 5 runs against Astros ace Gerrit Cole in game one and exploding for 12 runs in game two. The series was heavily in the National’s favor, as they were going home to Washington for the next three games and only needing to win two more to win the series. However, the Astros rebounded in games three, four, and five, as the won all three to take the series lead 3-2. The Astros pitching, led by impressive performances from Zack Greinke in game three and Gerrit Cole in game five, was dominant in these games 3-5, allowing only 1 run in each game. Along with the pitching, the offense also improved, as the Astros outscored the Nationals 19-3 throughout the three games. On the brink of elimination, the Nationals had to go back to Houston and win the next two games in order to win the series. As a surprise to many, they managed to do just that, winning game six with a score of 7-2 and game seven with a score of 6-2. In game six, the Nationals were led by starter Stephen Strasburg, who allowed just 2 runs over 81/3 innings, and Anthony Rendon, who totaled 5 RBI in the victory. Game seven also saw great pitching for the Nationals, as Max Scherzer went 5 innings only allowing 2 runs, while Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson came into the game as relievers and did not allow a single run for the rest of the game. As for the offense, the Nationals did not score a run until the 7th inning, when Rendon hit a solo home run and Howie Kendrick hit a 2 run home run, which gave the Nationals the lead late. The Nationals added three more runs in the 8th and 9th inning, which gave them a comfortable lead to close out the final game. The MVP of the series was given to Strasburg, who had two amazing starts for the Nationals in games two and six, and can be argued as the deciding factor for the Nationals in their first-ever World Series championship in franchise history.