MLB Regular Season Comes to a Close

Outlook on the 2021 MLB Postseason as October baseball is finally upon us.

Mark Elliott, Editor-In-Chief

As the MLB regular season comes to a close, the playoff picture comes with a lot of surprises. These surprises consist of a 100 win team not winning their division, teams that looked to be contenders that are missing the playoffs, and teams that didn’t look good are in contention for a World Series. With fans back at full capacity and the season going back to a normal 162 game season, this 2021 season was a good one.

The National League was not at all what it had seemed. In the NL West, the team currently leading the division is the San Francisco Giants. Prior to the season they weren’t even supposed to be in the playoff picture. They have had the best record in baseball the majority of the season, and before the trade deadline they acquired third baseman Kris Bryant, this was the icing on the cake as they have a two game lead in the division over the high powered Los Angeles Dodgers, as they are legitimate treats to win the World Series

This will be the first time since 2018 where a team will not win their division while achieving 100 wins. This team will be the Los Angeles Dodgers, unless they come back with just 6 games left in their season. The Dodgers exude the example as to why MLB needs to install a salary cap. They sign a big name all-star almost every off-season, this season it was former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. It was a necessary signing after Dodgers other all-star pitcher, Trevor Bauer, is having trouble with sexual assault charges. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are a major contender to win the title.

The biggest disappointment in the NL West was the San Diego Padres. They had high expectations with all-star shortstop  and MVP candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. He had a good offensive season, but made many costly errors. The Padres have been officially eliminated from playoff contention. It is sad to see a team with so much potential not live up to it.

The NL East was quite honestly painful to watch all season long. The New York Mets were expected to win it after offseason addition Francisco Lindor. But he heavily underperformed all season long. The Atlanta Braves are in the driver’s seat to win that division. Despite their best play Ronald Acuna Jr tearing his ACL. Second in this division is the Philadelphia Phillies, who really haven’t had any major headlines this season. Besides Bryce Harper is the main NL MVP candidate, as he seems to have gone back to his old self.

As for the NL Central, it was a dog fight all season long. The Milwaukee Brewers have clinched the division. They had a great season, besides former MVP Christian Yelich. If he plays like his former self, the Brewers can make a World Series run. In second, and likely to get the wild card spot, is the Saint Louis Cardinals. They added third baseman Nolan Arenado in the offseason via trade. He has been a game changer, but the Cardinals were really struggling, cruising at .500 almost all season. They are currently on a 16 game win streak, and are major underdogs heading into the playoffs, but they got hot at the right time. 

As for the American League, it has been pretty standard besides the AL East. The Rays are going to win the division again, seeking revenge for their World Series loss last year. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays are all in contention for a wild card spot. The Yankees have all the talent in the world, but continue to struggle. They even added Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. This team really has no excuse to not succeed if they make the playoffs. Both the Red Sox and the Bluejays were somewhat of a surprise, the Red Sox came off a terrible year, but this year bounced back largely due to the play of shortstop Xander Bogaerts. I don’t think they have enough depth to make a playoff run. The Blue Jays are a very exciting team to watch, led by Vladimr Guerrero Jr. This is a very good, young team that will be good for years to come.

A team back from the dead, the Chicago White Sox. They have clinched the AL Central, and this team has had potential to have this type of success for the past 3 years. They are a very balanced team, being good at almost every position. They can make a deep playoff push this year. In the AL West, the Houston Astros will once again come out on top. They still haven’t fully recovered from the cheating scandal in 2017. They are just trying to prove they can win with no scandal or any asteriks attached. The AL should be fun to watch in the postseason this year.

This has been a very exciting and fun MLB season, the only downsides have really been the injuries and teams not performing to their potential. There has also been talk about an electrical strike zone instead of having umpires. The past two years there have been heavy complaints from the players about the umpiring. Regardless, this postseason is bound to be an October full of madness. My World Series prediction is the Sanfrancisco Giants vs. the Chicago White Sox.