Tuesday night’s wild card opener between the Athletics and Royals demonstrated how a one game playoff can put fans on the edge of their seats. An entire season’s worth of work ended in one night of heartbreak for Oakland, and pure jubilation for Kansas City.
Elsewhere, in Baltimore, Adam Jones has quietly become one the best center fielders in baseball, crushing 94 homers and 286 RBI the past three years. The Orioles rotation, while absent of any true ace, has been anchored by starters Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris.
Across the Beltway, the Washington Nationals feature one of the great young stars in the game in Bryce Harper. While Harper’s numbers were down in 2014, infielder Anthony Rendon led the National League in runs scored, and Tanner Roark posted a 2.85 ERA in a rotation where eyes were looking elsewhere. The trio helped the Nats capture NL East for the second time in three years.
As usual, the St. Louis Cardinals did their thing—winning the NL Central behind ace Adam Wainwright. The nine-year veteran went 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA this year.
The Detroit Tigers have a surplus of pitchers with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price and Rick Porcello. Throw in a lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and Brad Ausmus’ club is one of the most dangerous teams around.
Meanwhile, both Los Angeles teams are abundant with talent.
The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig, one of the most exciting players in baseball. The Dodgers also have this year’s likely NL MVP and Cy Young. With a 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, Clayton Kershaw proved once again that he is the most dominant pitcher in baseball.
The Angels have far and away the best player in the majors in Mike Trout. With his .287 average, 36 homers and 111 RBI, Trout, at 23-years old, showed he can do it all.
So your favorite team is not playing this October. That does not mean there won’t be plenty of great playoff baseball to watch. Take a look.
Gary Phillips is a sophomore journalism student from Ramsey, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.