In five weeks, we’ll be watching playoff baseball. With the new 12-team postseason format, this is not his one-off Wildcard series, but four best-of-three Wildcard series (two in the AL and two in the NL). It’s the first year it’s done. games in each league.
This sets up an exciting first weekend of playoffs, with four games in a row on Friday and Saturday and, with any luck, four consecutive wins or home game three. on sunday.
I’ve written in the past about how much I loved the one-game wildcard round because it immediately gave fans two high-stakes matchups to kick off the playoffs. One of his biggest problems casual fans have in baseball is the length of the season and the lack of marquee events. Having an elimination game to start the playoffs was the easiest way for MLB to quickly create his two major events.
That said, an expanded postseason set-up is great for baseball, as two or three days in a row over four games gives MLB the type of all-day event that other sports use to profit. Look at the buzz surrounding the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness, or the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. That’s what MLB wants to replicate. Granted, these feature only elimination games, but baseball’s postseason is made up of series, either two nights of one-off games or multiple days packed with four games. If I had a choice, I would rather choose the latter.
You can enjoy the first MLB Wild Card Weekend soon, but in the meantime let’s take a look at the five storylines that follow the final month of the regular season.
That’s right, Albert Pujols is looking to become the fourth player in history to hit 700 home runs and the first since Barry Bonds in 2004. Do some simple math here.of cardinals Having played 37 games in the second half of the season, he has averaged 1 man for every 4.1 games played for his team during that period. With his 31 games left in St. Louis, at the current pace, Pujols will hit his seven homers this season and end his career with 701.
From ’61 to ’61, ’61
Aaron Judge, who leads the majors with 51 home runs, is on pace to break Roger Maris’ American League record for most home runs in a season. As the judges pursue Maris, a new debate erupts over the impact of performance-enhancing drugs on baseball records. Here’s my take: The true season home run record and lifetime home run record are held by Bonds, who hit his 73 homers in 2001 and finished his career with 762 home runs. You can’t erase the fact that he had a home run. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the circumstances surrounding the achievements of Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa. With all the stories we write and all the discussions we have as judges, we can and should say that we’re finally getting closer to and finally passing 60 home runs.
A few other ways to look at Judge’s historic home run barrage: As he ends the year tied with Maris, he’ll be the first player in 61 years to hit many home runs in a season without an association with steroids. If he fell short of Maris by one, he would be the third player to score 60 without connecting to PED. If he reaches his 62 dingers, he will have that many clean his players. It’s amazing, regardless of what the record books say.
Finally rain on these playoff droughts
of Mariners They have not advanced to the postseason since 2001. Phillies Haven’t done that since ’11. Each team holds the longest active playoff drought in their respective leagues. Seattle’s is the longest in professional sports in North America.
Both of these dry spells can end quickly. With five weeks left in the regular season, the Mariners and Phillies each retain one of his three wild card slots in the league. Coming into this weekend, he has 97.5% odds in the Seattle playoffs and 85.3% in Philadelphia, according to FanGraphs.
So which team will be responsible for the longest post-season drought in each league, as one of the clubs could collapse? piratehaven’t made the playoffs since 2015. Two AL teams have been short every year since ’14: tigers and the angel.
go to the bird?
No, it’s not the Eagles.what i’m talking about Oriolesis just 1.5 games behind another bird. blue jays, for the last AL wildcard spot. The playoff projection system doesn’t really know what to do with O. Depending on which one you use, his odds in the Baltimore playoffs range from 9.6% (FanGraphs) to 48.1% (Baseball-Reference). Because never in the history of MLB have we seen a team turn around so dramatically from one year to the next. If you like the unexpected, you’ll be rooting for the Orioles for the next five weeks.
the best of the worst
AL Central is the worst division, but one team still wins and makes it to the playoffs.that team Guardian (68–61) if the season ended today. They are one game ahead of him. twins (67–62), and lurking four games behind are white socks (65–66). In last week’s newsletter, Tom Verducci explained why Chicago has been such a disappointment and has no intention of staying late to reach the postseason. Everything he wrote is valid. However, he still has nine games left for the South Siders against Minnesota and four against Cleveland. If the Sox still have that improbable run, they have a chance to earn a spot.
Any questions for our team? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I wonder what the cleaners are thinking,” he laughs. Those who know his story will understand why he needs that time. dodgers 2016. He went through his eight organizations and then in six years he recorded 395 major league at-bats. But a tradeback to Los Angeles in July, meant solely to cover an injury, reignited something in the outfield, and after just 50 games, at age 31, he was ninth on the best teams in baseball. He was forced to join the starting line-up most days. He regained his health, received help from Hero, and revived his career. So every day, when he arrives at Dodger Stadium, he says thank you. “
This is Stephanie Upstein, writing about Dodgers outfielder Trace Thompson. In a Thompson profile this morning, Steph details his 31-year-old Thompson’s journey back to Los Angeles, where he’s making a big impact on baseball’s best teams.
You can read Steph’s full story here.
Trace Thompson is grateful to be back in Stephanie Apstein’s star country
Check out this week’s other great SI Baseball stories.
What history tells us about Aaron Judge’s 61st home run pursuit by will
Will he break Roger Maris’ record? Let’s see how his season compares to others who had similar home run pace going into September.
Albert Pujols writes the perfect ending to his legendary career by Nick Selbe
After years of struggle, the 42-year-old Cardinals slugger is back as one of MLB’s most productive hitters.
MLBPA’s effort to unify minor leagues didn’t happen overnight by Emma Baccellieri
In an interview, Tony Clark spoke about the players’ association’s monumental step in representing minor league players and what it means for baseball.
What the MLBPA Needs to Know When Promoting Unionization of Minors by Emma Basellieri
This is a monumental step towards improving working conditions for minor leaguer players, but there is still a long way to go.
How the Orioles Became the Most Unlikely Playoff Contender in MLB History by Tom Verducci
No team has turned around as well as Baltimore this season. what’s the secret? Hint: It’s not just “Oriole Magic”.
3. Noteworthy from Matt Martel
Mike Trout has hit 28 home runs this season after playing in just 91 games this weekend. This translates to an average of 1 home run every 3.25 games. This is his second-highest percentage in his career, not including his pandemic-shortened 2020 season, where he only hit 17 homers in 53 games (a 3.12 percentage). His best batting average was in ’19, when he hit 45 homers in 134 games (1 in 2.98 games), the most he’s ever hit in a single season. That was enough to earn him his third MVP award.
4. Nick Selbe’s W2W4
At the time of writing this Yankees According to FanGraphs, they have a 91.9% chance of winning the American League East. However, they haven’t looked unbeatable for some time, finishing 15th-24th since the All-Star break. If slips like this continue this weekend, it’s time New York hits the road to challenge his second place and domineering. Raise— full-blown panic could break out in the Bronx (if it hasn’t already). The Yankees led Tampa Bay by 13 games in the second half. Now that lead is down to 6.
The Yankees’ main culprit is their offense, with a .225 second half batting average (25th in the majors) and a .378 slugging percentage (23rd). He ranks 12th in batting average (.246) and 1st in slugging (.445) in the first half. The only person playing his part is, you guessed it, Aaron his judge. In his 38 games since his All-Star break, he has hit 18 home runs in .326/.477/.780. The Yankees’ offense has been a disappointment, so they’re starting to call the kids in. A second prospect, shortstop Oswaldo Perasa, is set to make his league debut in the majors this weekend. Another highly publicized prospect named Oswald — utility man Oswald Cabrera — has been sparking since joining the big leaguers in mid-August. Their arrival means less playing time for struggling infielders Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson and Gleyber Torres, not to mention outfielder Aaron Hicks, who has already been shut out of the lineup. likely to mean
Other weekend series with playoff impact include the Mariners vs. Guardians in Cleveland, the Twins vs. White Sox in Chicago, and the NL West tilt between the Padres and Dodgers in Los Angeles. Oh, let’s not forget angel Superstar Shohei Ohtani’s next hill start is due to take on No. 1 at home on Saturday. Astros.
5. THE CLOSER BY EMMA BASSERIERI
When Atlanta With rookie Spencer Strider’s 16-strikeout masterpiece last night, I found myself unable to recall the last such game off the top of my head. Certainly, with this strikeout rate, 1 Somewhat recent. But it turns out that the last time a pitcher hit 16 or more strikeouts was him over three years ago. Since Walker on June 21, 2019, he hasn’t done a single Strider since Buehler. (It took four years from Herb Score taking 16 in ’55 to Sandy Koufax striking out for the first time in ’59.) That led me to something else: Sure, in the last few years. We’ve seen more strikeouts than ever before. , but such achievements are declining. Here, the ability (or permission) to go deep into the game turned out to be as important as the ability to get a K. The decade brought him 16+K games fewer than any of his decade since the 50s!The entire league combined in the last decade (15) than Nolan Ryan’s career (16) was also less.so we conduct get one? Taste it. It may not come out for a while next time.
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