By: Michael Porter
There are just eight teams remaining, each with the same goal in sight: A World Series title.
The Houston Astros, world champs just two seasons ago, cruised into the postseason yet again backed by ageless wonder Justin Verlander and his supporting cast of former Cy Young award winner Zack Grienke and 2019 Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole.
The Tampa Bay Rays have the lowest payroll of any remaining team. This small market ballclub finds unique ways to win each season and their combination of strategy and talent makes the Rays an intriguing organization to keep an eye on.
The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins were both 100 game winners in 2019, and are set to face off in round one. This series is likely going to come down to pitching as each club’s offense proved that they were more than capable of putting runs on the board this season.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are coming off of their second straight NL East division crown, while the opposing St. Louis Cardinals just completed a miraculous month of September that saw them squeak into the postseason picture. Atlanta has one of the best groups of young, athletic superstars in all of baseball but their depleted bullpen has already proven to be a weakness as the unit coughed up a late game lead in their first playoff game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made it to the fall classic in each of the past two seasons, but neither World Series ended in their favor. Although the franchise has won their division in each of the past seven seasons and does not have any obvious weaknesses, the playoffs have not treated them well in recent years.
They face off against the Washington Nationals in round 1 and despite losing the series’ first game, it is hard to ignore all of the talent on the Washington roster. Their pitching staff is the most expensive in the game as their “three headed monster” in Max Sxherzer, Steven Strasburgh and Patrick Corbin all make well over $20 million a season, but can money buy a championship?