There’s nothing better than postseason baseball in October. Every inning, out, pitch and base runner matters that much more. The margin for error is almost reduced to none, and only the best advance.
As some of the series are currently underway and the rest get started this weekend, the race for the World Series is on. The Chicago Cubs have a chance to repeat. The Cleveland Indians have a chance at redemption. The Houston Astros have a chance to rally around their city. Additionally, the Los Angeles Dodgers can capitalize on one of the best seasons in the franchise’s history. Although it doesn’t look likely, the Red Sox and Yankees can renew their historic postseason rivalry as well.
The numerous possibilities are what makes postseason baseball so thrilling. Each player and team has their own role. As a result, the story lines that unfold throughout the playoffs are much like a suspenseful movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Here are some of the major players and teams to keep an eye on this postseason.
Aaron Judge – New York Yankees
All rise. Aaron Judge has started a movement in the Bronx. The literally larger than life baseball player has turned around the outlook of the Yankees. His incredible rookie season saw him smash records set by legends. He solidified his case for Rookie of the Year as well as inserted himself in the MVP discussion.
With 52 home runs, his colossal power has struck fear in to the hearts of many pitchers. He has a tough act to follow with some of the legends that have performed in the postseason for the New York Yankees.
He let the city know that his talent would come along with him for the postseason ride. Some stars are only able to produce in the regular season. However, Judge homered at a crucial point in the AL Wild Card against the Minnesota Twins.
Now the Yankees have the unenviable task of taking on the Cleveland Indians, the hottest team in the MLB Playoffs. Judge’s bat will be one of the major keys if the Bronx Bombers want to pull off the upset.
Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
Different year, same story. Clayton Kershaw’s dominance is legendary. In this generation of baseball, it is undeniable that he is the best pitcher in the league. However, that dominance has yet to translate into postseason success. It appears the moment is too big for him at times. The idea of it is head scratching to say the least.
After another season that has him in the Cy Young discussion he will be tasked with starting Game 1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. His 4-7 record will be on the line against one of the hottest teams in the league. The Dodgers themselves boast a powerful offense, but we’ll see if it can keep pace with the Diamonbacks. Arizona won the NL Wild Card game 11-8, so they’ll be confident.
Kershaw needs to bring his A game. The Dodgers won an impressive 104 games this season and won their division by 11 games. He’ll know all this and realize that if they slip up in Game 1, the talk will only be about whether or not he was able to perform. Let’s see what you got Clayton Kershaw.
Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
The electric Bryce Harper has some questions to answer in his own right. The Nationals have loads of talent, but have never made that deep run in the playoffs. His regular season was another reminder of just how special of a player he is. Although it was cut short with injuries, he still put up MVP caliber numbers.
He is a five tool player, a special talent and a very rich man. The only thing Harper has left to accomplish is bringing a World Series title to the nation’s capital. In their series against the Dodgers last season, Harper only mustered 4 hits and 1 RBI during their five game postseason run.
The supporting cast has gotten even better around Harper. That will take some pressure off of the young star, but it will also erase some of the excuses he was afforded. His power, speed and tenacity are all amazing to watch, but they need to show up when it matters most.
Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Jose Altuve proves that on a daily basis for the Houston Astros. His Game 1 performance bolstered his MVP candidacy. Altuve smacked not one, not two, but three monster home runs to deflate the Boston Red Sox.
During the regular season the man was unstoppable as well. With over 200 hits for the fourth season in a row, Altuve is money at the plate. He has become one of the hardest outs to get in baseball. His .346 average and .410 on base percentage has led to his name being at the top of the list when it comes to discussing AL MVP.
Also, the Astros players have been revitalized by the epic support from the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Altuve and Houston are playing with a purpose, and as a result, they are the most motivated team still standing.
These players will have major impacts on the outcome of the 2017 postseason. See all the action live by finding MLB Playoffs tickets at TicketNetwork.com!
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