The MLB Playoff bracket is set and there are some really interesting storylines to follow, even if there’s a whole lot of … badness caked in. A postseason that includes the Brewers, Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, and White Sox is a tough one for Cubs fans. That’s their two biggest rivals, the two biggest markets, a team no one likes because of a massive cheating scandal, and their cross-town rivals … oof.
The MLB Playoffs Begin
But if you set that aside and pretend to be only a baseball fan for a month, you’ll be greeted with a still-compelling Wild Card matchup between Red Sox and Yankees that will lead right into a battle between a major market (Boston or New York) and the small market Rays. You’ll also get a Halloween-themed, crypt-keeper style ALDS between Tony La Russa’s White Sox and Dusty Baker’s Astros. Fun? I guess?
On the other side of the bracket, the 106-win Dodgers have been rewarded with a one-game playoff against the Cardinals. This game pits 37-year-old Max Scherzer against 40-year-old Adam Wainwright. And the winner of that game will get to face the 107-win Giants team that no one saw coming. And beyond that, we’ll get the Braves-Brewers NLDS, which makes it easy for Cubs fans to pick a side.
Pretty much anything other than a Yankees-Cardinals World Series would be acceptable. But I’ll be pulling for the Rays from the AL bracket and the Giants or Braves on the NL side, personally.
Chelsea Janes and Ken Rosenthal each offer additional depth/coverage on the threads mentioned above plus a lot more on the potential COVID impacts, various key injuries (Clayton Kershaw, Max Muncy, Devin Williams), the Rays pitching staff, and a lot more.
If all else fails, here are some ex-Cubs worth rooting for:
Players who were Cubs in the last calendar year who are in the playoffs:
Jon Lester, Cardinals
Kyle Schwarber, Red Sox
Joc Pederson, Braves
Craig Kimbrel, Ryan Tepera, White Sox
Anthony Rizzo, Yankees
Kris Bryant, Giants
Colin Rea, Brewers
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) October 4, 2021
Wainwright’s New Deal
Unique situation, but Wainwright’s one-year deal is for quite a bit. We learned today that the veteran right-hander’s new deal would be worth $17.5 million. Brett offered some commentary on the agreement that will keep Wainwright in St. Louis for a 17th season.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 1, 2021
Is this Kyle Seager’s Last Season as a Mariner?
Kyle Seager has spent his entire career with the Seattle Mariners and has been a part of 11 of their 20 consecutive seasons without a trip to the MLB Postseason. Seager is kind of an interesting situation as the club has a big decision to make regarding Seager’s contract. The veteran infielder has a $20 million club option for the 2022 season as part of his current seven-year, $100 million deal. However, the Mariners could also buy out that club option for just $2 million, making it seem likely that Seager might have played his last game in Seattle.
While Seager played well in 2021, hitting 35 home runs and driving in 100 RBI as the Mariners came up just a game shy of a trip to the postseason on the final day of the season, he’s underperformed much of his current deal in the years since he signed it. Seager has slashed .240/.315/.449 with a 107 wRC+, and he’s heading into his age-34 season in 2022, the final year of the deal if the Mariners pick up the option.
A loud ovation for Kyle Seager from the Seattle faithful! pic.twitter.com/ZqCrD94nnG
— MLB (@MLB) October 3, 2021
Indians Merch Still Selling?
The Cleveland Indians moniker is officially no more as the club did away with the old name and became the Cleveland Guardians after Sunday’s season finale. But, according to TMZ, we haven’t seen the end of the old branding just yet. TMZ reports that fans will still be able to purchase memorabilia with the former branding, with the proceeds from all sales being donated to charity by the club.
Cleveland Will Continue To Sell Indians Merch, Donate Proceeds To Charityhttps://t.co/SOUsSlhUAk
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) October 5, 2021
What Must Change?
It’s never to early to look ahead. Or to think back to what you learned:
3 True Outcomes – down
Injuries – way up
Postseason format – needs to change
3-batter rule – not working
Tanking – time to fix it
M's, Marlins, Tigers – teams to watch
The Giants – restored our faith in old guys
I wrote about what we learned in 2021https://t.co/9e6fu5RhC7
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 4, 2021
Odds and Ends:
• For those looking for an alternative to the traditional telecast of tonight’s AL Wild Card game, ESPN will be offering its Statcast Broadcast on ESPN 2:
So hey, we're doing the Statcast Sox/Yankees on ESPN2 tonight. We're going to have lots of fun graphics and numbers, but not an *overwhelming* amount of graphics and numbers, because this is a one-game playoff and it's going to be FUN.
Come have fun. 8pm ET. pic.twitter.com/0Vrs90ypIl
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 5, 2021
• MLB Communications shared the broadcast dates, times, and television information for the AL and NL Divisional Series.
The broadcast schedule for Postseason games through Sunday was announced today by @MLB. @FS1 and @MLBNetwork will have exclusive live coverage of the ALDS presented by @GoodSam, while @TBSNetwork will provide exclusive coverage of the NLDS presented by @GoodSam. pic.twitter.com/BFkO6S8C5N
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) October 4, 2021
• Let’s get hyped!
— MLB (@MLB) October 4, 2021