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MLB Playoff Recap

Courtesy of SB Nation

Courtesy of SB Nation

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This year’s MLB playoffs were one of the most eventfult series in recent memory. There was no shortage of crazy moments and exciting games leading up to the World Series. From unexpected comebacks to surprise upsets, the playoffs redefined fans’ memories of amazing games.

The playoffs started with a bang in the American League wild card game. The New York Yankees faced the Minnesota Twins in an instant classic. The game started with Twins second baseman Brian Dozier knocking a home run out of the park off of Yankees pitcher Luis Severino. It would only get worse for Severino, who would give up a two-run home run to Eddie Rosario three batters later. Severino would then give up a single, then a double before being taken out of the game in favor of Chad Green, who would strike out the next two batters to limit the damage. Yankee Stadium was quiet and uneasy after that inning, but a walk to Brett Gardner and a single by Aaron Judge would get the fans back into the game. Gary Sanchez would then pop-out to the catcher, which led Didi Gregorius to come to the plate. Gregorius would send the 3-2 pitch from Ervin Santana into the right-field seats to tie the game. Chad Green made quick work of the Twins the next inning, and it was all Yankees from there. Gardner hit a solo home run the next inning to give the Yankees the lead. The Twins scored a run to tie the game the next inning, but that is all the runs they would be able to manufacture. The Yankees on the other hand, would continue to score runs, as Greg Bird hit a RBI single, Aaron Judge would homer, and a Aaron Hicks walk would force in runs. Aroldis Chapman slammed the door on the Twins season, as the Yankees advanced, winning the game by an 8-4 margin.

The National League Wild Card Game was just as entertaining as the AL Wild Card Game the night before. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies faced off to see who would earn the rights to play the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in the next round. At the beginning of the game, it seemed as if the D-Backs had put the game away early, as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead, after home runs from Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso, as well as a RBI triple from Ketel Marte. However, the Rockies showed resilience, as they came back to make the score 6-5 in the seventh inning. The D-Backs took over after that point, as pitcher Archie Bradley hit a two-run triple to make the score 8-5. The Rockies answered with home runs from Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, as well as a RBI single by Carlos Gonzalez, but it would not be enough as AJ Pollock would hit a two-run triple, and Evan Mathis would hit a RBI single. Thus, the D-Backs won the game 11-8.

The Yankees would move on to face the Cleveland Indians in the AL Divisional Series. The series looked to be all Indians early, as they won Game 1 after a phenomenal start from Trevor Bauer, and won Game 2 after a miraculous comeback. However, the Yankees would not give up. They would come back to win Game 3 and Game 4 at home to even the series and set up a winner-take-all Game 5 in Cleveland. Once again, Didi Gregorius would come in clutch for the Yankees, as he hit two home runs off of Indians ace Corey Kluber. The Indians would chase C.C Sabathia out of the game, cutting the deficit to just one run (3-2 score), but the Yankees would score two more runs in the ninth inning to make it a 5-2 game. Aroldis Chapman then slammed the door on the Indians, as the Yankees completed the series comeback and advanced to the AL Championship series.

The second ALDS matchup was between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. This series was a well fought series for both sides, but ultimately, the Red Sox fell short of advancing. The Astros would win the series 3-1, winning in Game 1, Game 2, and Game 4. The games would be blowouts for both teams until Game 4, as Game 1 and Game 2 were won by the Astros 8-2. The Red Sox would come storming back in Game 3, looking to avoid the sweep, and won the game 10-3. The Astros would not let the series go any farther. The next game was back and forth early, as the Astros took an early 1-0 lead after a RBI groundout by Jose Altuve. The Red Sox would respond with a solo home run by Xander Bogaerts. Again, the Astros would score on a single by George Springer, but Andrew Benitendi would answer with a 2-run home run to make the game 3-2. This would be the score up until the eighth inning, when Astros third baseman Alex Bregman would hit a solo home run to tie the game. Josh Reddick would follow that up with a RBI single to take the lead. The next inning, the Astros would add some insurance, as Carlos Beltran hit a RBI double to make the score 5-3. The Red Sox would show some life in the bottom of the ninth inning, after third baseman Rafael Devers would hit an inside-the-park home run, but it would not be enough to advance, as the Astros would win the game 5-4 and win the series 3-1.

The D-Backs would go on to take on the top seed Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. This series never was close, as the Dodgers dominated the D-Backs, as they swept the best of 5 series. The Dodgers came out of the gate strong, beating the D-Backs 9-5 in game one and never looked back. They went on to win game two 8-5, and would put an end to the D-Backs season by winning game three in Arizona, by a score of 3-1. It was an all-around great series for the Dodgers, as the hitting and pitching dominated the D-Backs throughout the series. There was never really any question who was going to win this series, and it showed, as the Dodgers man-handled the D-Backs.

The second NLDS matchup was nothing like the first. The Washington Nationals took on the defending champion Chicago Cubs. Both teams were very evenly matched, as both teams won their divisions. This series was back and forth from the beginning, as neither team was able to win back-to-back games in the series. A major turning point in the series was game 3, as Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He allowed one hit in the seventh, but Nationals Manager Dusty Baker took him out. It all went downhill from there, as the bullpen could not hold on. The Cubs would go on to win the game 2-1 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Nationals would come back strong the next game, beating the Cubs to tie the series, but they ran out of good fortune in the final game. The Cubs would beat the Nationals 9-8 in the winner-take-all game and advance to take on the Dodgers in the NLCS.

The ALCS was another incredible series, as the Houston Astros faced the playoff surprise New York Yankees, who had just completed a miraculous comeback over the best team in the AL, the Cleveland Indians. This series was another well fought series for the Yankees, as they came back from a 2-0 series deficit to take the lead in the series 3-2 after winning three straight at home. The Yankees would then run out of luck. The Astros made the most of their home-field advantage, as they won game six 7-1, behind an incredible start from Justin Verlander. They would then go on to win game seven 4-0, as Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia faltered in the biggest game of the season. Charlie Morton started the game for the Astros and pitched brilliantly, and after he was taken out, Lance McCullers Jr. came out of the bullpen to finish the Yankees off. After so much tragedy in Houston this past summer, the Astros were giving people from Houston something to be excited about, as they would advance to the World Series.

In NLCS, the Dodgers continued to play at their best. After disposing the D-Backs in quick fashion, the Dodgers were set to face the defending champion Cubs. The Dodgers once again played exceptionally, only allowing the Cubs to win one game, in a game that could have gone either way, with the score being 3-2. The Dodgers dominated the other games, winning 5-2, 4-1, 6,1 and 11-1. Chris Taylor, who would win NLDS Co-MVP, had a fantastic series, leading the Dodgers to a NL Pennant and World Series berth.

The series that everyone has been waiting for, the World Series. The final two teams alive will face off to see who is the best and who deserves to be a World Series champion. The Houston Astros, who were looking for their first World Series championship, faced the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team who has had the talent to make the World Series for many years, but has failed to do anything with all the talent they have had. Like the trend this postseason, this series was incredible, a back-and-forth series, with many push-and-shove moments. All the games were close games, but overall, Houston looked like the better team throughout the series. They would have a 2-1 series lead after three games, and although the Dodgers would come back to tie the series, the Astros would shift the momentum, after they won a high-scoring game 11-10 in extra innings. The Dodgers again would tie the series up, but it would not be enough. The Astros would go onto win game seven in Los Angeles, by a score of 5-1. They would earn their first World Series championship behind center fielder George Springer’s spectacular series, and would bring joy to Houston.

This year’s MLB playoffs was one of the craziest in recent memory. Many crazy games and crazy comebacks and upsets occurred this postseason. Not only was there a new champion this year, but it was a first for a team, and it brought happiness back to a city that was in disarray. Just like this regular season in baseball, with a record number of homeruns, and an overall crazy season, the MLB playoffs ended the 2017 MLB season with a bang.

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