The second round of the MLB postseason, the division championship series, is complete. Like with the Wild Card round, the league division series was filled with excitement and close games.
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs (5) New York Yankees – The Rays had a three games to two series win over the Yankees from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9. Led by four home runs including a Grand Slam by Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankeed easily won Game 1 by a score of 9-3. While Giancarlo Stanton got another two home runs in Game 2, it was not enough for another Yankees win as the Rays won the game 7-5. In Game 3, Giancarlo Stanton hit another home run, but with Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez each batting in three runs and Randy Arozarena and Ji-Man Choi each batting in one run, the Rays won the game 8-4. The Yankees were not about to lose the series in Game 4. Home runs by Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres led them to a 5-1 win. In Game 5, all three runs were scored on solo home runs. Aaron Judge hit the one home run for the Yankees and Austin Meadows and Mike Brosseau each hit one home run for the Rays to give them the 2-1 Game 5 win and a 3-2 series win. After advancing to their first ALCS since 2008, Rays third baseman Mike Brosseau said, “We came here to win a series, we came here to move on and do what we do best, and that’s play our game.” The Rays will be playing the Astros in the ALCS.
(2) Oakland Athletics vs (6) Houston Astros – The Astros had three games to one series win over the Astros from Oct. 5 to Oct. 8. In Game 1, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman led the way with two home runs and one home run respectively as the Astros won the game by a score of 10-5. The Game 2 stars for the Astros were George Springer and Martin Maldonado, who had two home runs and one home run respectively in a 5-2 win. The Athletics bounced back in a 9-7 elimination Game 3 win with five home runs, coming from Tommy LaStella, Mark Canha, Matt Olson, Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder. However, despite the Athletics bounce back win in Game 3, Game 4 showed that the Astros were the dominant team when, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Michael Brantley hit a two run homerun and Carlos Correa hit a three run homerun. This gave the Astros the lead and they never looked back. Speaking after the Astros made their fourth straight ALCS, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said, “We’re motivated because we want to win, we want to be able to bring another championship to the city of Houston. We know what it feels like, so we want to be able to have that feeling once again … We’re one step closer.” The Astros will be playing the Rays in the ALCS.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs (4) San Diego Padres – The Dodgers had a three-game sweep over the Padres from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8. A four-run bottom of the sixth inning for the Dodgers in Game 1 that included RBI singles by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers the lead and ultimately the win. Game 2, which the Dodgers won 6-5, included a spectacular catch by Cody Bellinger robbing Fernando Tatis of what would have been a go ahead seventh inning home run for the Padres. Led by four RBI singles in the top of the third inning and a four-run top of the ninth inning, the Dodgers beat the Padres 12-3 in Game 3 to clinch their fourth NLCS in five years. After the Dodgers celebrated their win, manager Dave Roberts said, “In the first two series, you saw what we’re capable of. Everyone’s gone above and beyond. It’s a unique year, and it’s really sort of, in a weird way, galvanized us. We have a lot of work to do, but really proud of them.” The Dodgers will be playing the Braves in the NLCS.
(2) Atlanta Braves vs (6) Miami Marlins – The Braves had a three-game sweep of the Marlins from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8. The bottom of the seventh inning in Game 1 was when the Braves came alive scoring six runs including home runs by Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson as they won the game 9-5. Two solo home runs by Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud was all the scoring activity that happened in Game 2 as the Braves won 2-0. Two RBI singles, two RBI doubles, and a sacrifice fly by six different Braves players gave the Braves a 7-0 Game 3 win and ultimately advanced them to their first NLCS since 2001. After the win, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman remarked, “We definitely felt like we deserved to be in this situation [in 2019]. But we all know baseball is a funny game, and they made us wait one more year. That’s OK with us. We just know we have a really good team right now.” The Braves will be playing the Dodgers in the NLCS.
The championship series will begin next week. Four teams have made it this far, but only two can make it to the World Series. It is shaping up to be an exciting week.