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After six months and 162 regular-season games, the real action begins as we get set for the 2018 MLB playoffs.
The American League bracket has been set for some time with three 100-win teams and two more dangerous squads all having their eyes on a World Series title. On the other hand, the National League playoffs remained a mess until the final day.
Although we knew the five teams involved, a pair of tiebreakers to complete the official bracket was needed.
There are now 10 teams remaining, with several of them potentially going home after one loss. The margin for error at this point is slim, likely creating plenty of drama in the coming weeks.
Here is what you need to know for the upcoming playoffs, with a bracket available at MLB.com.
2018 MLB Playoff Schedule
Milwaukee Brewers defeat Chicago Cubs, 3-1
Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Colorado Rockies, 5-2
National League Wild Card Game
Rockies at Cubs; Tue., Oct. 2, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
American League Wild Card Game
Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees; Wed., Oct. 3, 8 p.m. ET (TBS)
National League Division Series (NL Wild Card Winner vs. Milwaukee Brewers)
Game 1: NL Wild Card Winner at Milwaukee; Thu., Oct. 4, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 2: NL Wild Card Winner at Milwaukee; Fri., Oct. 5, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 3: Milwaukee at NL Wild Card Winner; Sun., Oct. 7, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 4*: Milwaukee at NL Wild Card Winner; Mon., Oct. 8, TBD (FS1)
Game 5*: NL Wild Card Winner at Milwaukee; Wed., Oct. 10, TBD (FS1)
National League Division Series (Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers)
Game 1: Atlanta at Los Angeles; Thu., Oct. 4, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 2: Atlanta at Los Angeles; Fri., Oct. 5, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 3: Los Angeles at Atlanta; Sun., Oct. 7, TBD (FS1/MLBN)
Game 4*: Los Angeles at Atlanta; Mon., Oct. 8, TBD (FS1)
Game 5*: Atlanta at Los Angeles; Wed., Oct. 10, TBD (FS1)
American League Division Series (AL Wild Card Winner vs. Boston Red Sox)
Game 1: AL Wild Card Winner at Boston; Fri., Oct. 5, TBD (TBS)
Game 2: AL Wild Card Winner at Boston; Sat., Oct. 6, TBD (TBS)
Game 3: Boston at AL Wild Card Winner; Mon., Oct. 8, TBD (TBS)
Game 4*: Boston at AL Wild Card Winner; Tue., Oct. 9, TBD (TBS)
Game 5*: AL Wild Card Winner at Boston; Thu., Oct. 11, TBD (TBS)
American League Division Series (Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros)
Game 1: Cleveland at Houston; Fri., Oct. 5, TBD (TBS)
Game 2: Cleveland at Houston; Sat., Oct. 6, TBD (TBS)
Game 3: Houston at Cleveland; Mon., Oct. 8, TBD (TBS)
Game 4*: Houston at Cleveland; Tue., Oct. 9, TBD (TBS)
Game 5*: Cleveland at Houston; Thu., Oct. 11, TBD (TBS)
National League Championship Series
Game 1: Fri., Oct. 12, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 2: Sat., Oct. 13, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 3: Mon., Oct. 15, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 4: Tue., Oct. 16, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 5*: Wed., Oct. 17, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 6*: Fri., Oct. 19, TBD (Fox/FS1)
Game 7*: Sat., Oct. 20, TBD (Fox/FS1)
American League Championship Series
Game 1: Sat., Oct. 13, TBD (TBS)
Game 2: Sun., Oct. 14, TBD (TBS)
Game 3: Tue., Oct. 16, TBD (TBS)
Game 4: Wed., Oct. 17, TBD (TBS)
Game 5*: Thu., Oct. 18, TBD (TBS)
Game 6*: Sat., Oct. 20, TBD (TBS)
Game 7*: Sun., Oct. 21, TBD (TBS)
Game 1: Tue., Oct. 23, TBD (Fox)
Game 2: Wed., Oct. 24, TBD (Fox)
Game 3: Fri., Oct. 26, TBD (Fox)
Game 4: Sat., Oct. 27, TBD (Fox)
Game 5*: Sun., Oct. 28, TBD (Fox)
Game 6*: Tue., Oct. 30, TBD (Fox)
Game 7*: Wed., Oct. 31, TBD (Fox)
*If necessary. Full schedule available at MLB.com.
Will Boston Be Haunted by Recent Playoff Woes?
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
The Boston Red Sox are only five years removed from a World Series title, but most of the players on the roster are much more familiar with the first-round exits in each of the past two seasons.
The Houston Astros faced little resistance in a four-game ALDS victory last year, while the Cleveland Indians swept the 2016 team. Both those teams are back in the postseason and will likely have a lot more confidence going into the 2018 playoffs.
Meanwhile, Boston’s best players haven’t exactly lit it up in October.
David Price has notably struggled with a 5.03 career ERA in his postseason career, though it’s better than Rick Porcello’s 5.47 ERA. Chris Sale gave up seven earned runs in his only start last season. On offense, Mookie Betts has played seven playoff games and has no home runs or RBI to go with a .269 batting average.
This is a much better team than we have seen in the past, and you don’t win 108 games by accident. However, the past failures will likely be in the back of the players’ minds.
Is Anyone a Favorite in the NL?
Jim Young/Associated Press
The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers entered the season as two of the favorites to reach the World Series (along with the Washington Nationals), and at the end of the year, these two are certainly still top contenders to win a pennant.
Between the recent success in the playoffs and the overwhelming talent all over the field, no one would be surprised if either of these teams was the last one standing in the National League.
With that said, the remaining challengers have been just as impressive throughout the year.
No team in the majors is hotter than the Milwaukee Brewers with seven straight wins to end the year. Christian Yelich has been especially impressive while nearly impossible to get out over the past week. He has been one of the best hitters in the league all season, and the team around him is ready to make a deep run in this tournament.
Additionally, the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies have been counted out all season long but continue to show they are each more than capable of winning games against quality opponents. The combination of young stars and proven veterans makes both teams intriguing options in the coming weeks.
Considering we don’t even know which team will win the Wild Card Game, this is an impossible bracket to predict.
Can One of the AL Wild Card Teams Go All the Way?
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Wild-card teams are often overlooked going into the playoffs, but the American League squads are legitimate contenders.
The New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics had been outstanding all season and, in some years, would be good enough to not only win a division but also potentially have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Unfortunately, they each play in tough divisions, with the Red Sox and Astros simply uncatchable throughout the year.
This means one of these teams will be out of the playoff race by the end of Wednesday’s game, though the Yankees are at least familiar with this situation after last season. New York overcame an early deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins in the 2017 Wild Card Game, which eventually fueled the run to the American League Championship Series.
The Yankees also played in the one-game series in 2015, resulting in a loss to Houston.
Of course, there are plenty of new faces on this team who are likely to make a major impact. Rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have carried the offense for stretches and are both capable of changing the game with one swing. Add in sluggers like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, and this offense is scary.
There is no question this squad is capable of beating anyone in the postseason.
Still, getting past Oakland is far from a guarantee. Oakland doesn’t exactly have an ace, but the veteran rotation has been doing just well enough to keep the team winning. Having great defense all over the field also helps keep runs off the board, which is what the A’s do well.
The same could be said for the bullpen, led by closer Blake Treinen.
Meanwhile, the Athletics lineup isn’t quite as famous as New York’s, but Khris Davis, Matt Chapman and others are more than capable of getting to the Yankees pitchers.
This is also a team no one would want to play if it gets past the Yankees.