Now that we are in the middle of September, baseball playoffs are just around the corner, and it is time to look back on what a crazy season it has been so far. So many surprising players and teams, along with disappointing teams and players, have led to one of the craziest seasons in recent memory.
While many teams have excelled this year, the Boston Red Sox have been incredibly disappointing. Their season did not start well at all and it has not gotten much better. They have been making some questionable decisions like not trading any of their veterans such as outfielder J.D. Martinez or expiring contract Xander Bogaerts, and instead only trading catcher Christian Vasquez. This season has been a complete disaster with the worst performance happening on July 22 when they gave up a team record 28 runs, including 18 coming in three innings all with two outs. Currently as it stands, they sit 17 games back in their division and are No. 4 in the Wild Card race with them being 10 games back from the third spot.
A team with one of the weirdest seasons of any team is the New York Yankees. Before the trade deadline, they were the clear favorites for the No. 1 seed in the AL, with the only team close being the Houston Astros, and having more than 20 games above any in their division. However, the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays have gained a lot of ground and it is no longer a secure thing that the Yankees are winning the division.
While the Yankees might be struggling as of late, there is one player who has completely dominated this year and that is Aaron Judge. After struggling with injuries and COVID-19 the past few seasons, he has absolutely torn it up in his first season back. He has currently hit a staggering 59 home runs, the next closest contender being Kyle Schwarber with 39! At this rate he has a shot at passing Barry Bonds’ home run record of 73, though it’s not likely he will get to that level. It is still extremely impressive either way.
Even throughout the Yankees dominating the first half of the season, there has been one team that has had their way with them all season and that is the Houston Astros. Sitting at seven games above the Yankees for the top playoff spot, and with no signs of slowing down anytime soon, they are poised for another deep playoff run and it would not surprise anyone if they make it back to the World Series this year.
No matter what team comes out of the AL, there is a high likelihood they are going to have to face the Los Angeles Dodgers out of the NL. Currently sitting with baseball’s best record with 98 wins, the Dodgers are doing exactly what they are expected to do: dominating every team in their path. While LA has a stacked pitching core, they have had a surprising ace come out of nowhere to dominate this year in Julio Urías. With a 2.30 era and a record of 16-7, he has emerged as a surprise Cy Young award frontrunner.
If the Dodgers do not make it to the World Series, there is a strong chance that the defending World Series champions the Atlanta Braves will be the opponent instead. Even though they do not lead their division right now, Atlanta showed last year they can turn it on when it matters the most, and now with Ronald Acuna Jr. back they are even more dangerous.
With the playoffs around the corner, anything can happen, but while the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers seem to be the clear favorites, we could get a surprising run from a team not expected to go far. With the season being wide open, as always, anything and everything can happen.