The MLB postseason got underway with the wildcard rounds on October 5 with the National League match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets. With the Wild Card Round being single elimination, both teams threw their aces. Two of the Mets best pitchers, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, both had season ending injuries during the regular season so the Mets threw right hander Noah Syndergaard. There was no doubt on who the Giants were throwing, it was Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner over the past years has made a living in the postseason, entering with a 14 inning scoreless inning streak. All eyes were on the starting pitchers and they did not disappoint. deGrom and Bumgarner matched each other scoreless inning for scoreless inning all the way through the seventh inning until Terry Collings, manager for the New York Mets, pulled deGrom after 108 pitches. Heading to the top of the ninth inning, it was still tied zero to zero. The Mets brought in their closer, Jeurys Familia to try and keep it scoreless. Brandon Crawford led off the ninth with a base hit, followed by Angel Pagan with another base hit. After a Joe Panik out, third baseman Conor Gillaspie went deep with a homerun to give the Giants a 3-0 lead and that was all they need as Madison Bumgarner would finish out the ninth for a complete game shutout.
In the American League wild card game there was a match-up between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles that took place in Toronto. This game was a good one that had to have extra innings to decide who was going to the divisional round. Again, both teams threw their aces with Toronto throwing right hander Marcus Stroman and Baltimore throwing right hander Chris Tillman. Both teams leaned heavily on their bullpen arms to help them get through the game. The game was decided in the bottom of the eleventh with a walk off three run home run hit by Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays. This put the Blue Jays on top for a 5-2 win. The Orioles manager, Buck Showalter, caught heavy criticism for throwing a struggling pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez at the end of the game instead of their all star closer, Zach Britton. The Blue Jays were not complaining with the fatal decision made by Showalter as they took home the win and moved onto the divisional round to face the top ranked Texas Rangers.
The National League Divisional matchups were the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants versus the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs took a quick 2-0 lead in the series against the Giants while the Nationals and Dodgers split the first two games. Once in Los Angeles, the Nationals and Dodgers split their two games, causing a Game 5 back in Washington. The Giants avoided a sweep against the Cubs in Game 3, but the Giants ended their season in Game 4 when the Cubs made a comeback in the top of the ninth. Back in Washington, the Dodgers scored four runs in the seventh inning which would be enough for them to advance to face the Cubs in the NLCS (National League Championship Series).
The American league divisional rounds ended with two dominating performances by the Cleveland Indians, who swept the Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays, who swept the Texas Rangers. The Cleveland Indians had a very strong performance from their bullpen as well as their depleted starting rotation. The Toronto Blue Jays had a very strong offensive showing by outscoring the Texas Rangers 21-11.
After a Cubs’ win to start the NLCS, their bats went to sleep for the next two games. In both games the Cubs got shut out by pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, putting the Cubs in a 2-1 hole in the series. After being the best team in baseball the entire season, the Cubs were just two games away from their season coming to a losing end. In Game 4, however, their bats woke up, and they put up 10 runs and tied up the series 2-2. In Game 5 the Cubs took care of business at home in a 8-4 victory and were looking to win it all back in Los Angeles. The only thing standing between the Cubs’ first World Series appearance since 1945 was Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs got to him early, scoring two runs in the first followed by one run in the second inning. That would be enough because Kyle Hendricks pitched a gem and the final score was 5-0. The Cubs would now face the Indians in the World Series.
When the top two teams squared off for the American League title, the Indians put up a dominating performance, taking the series in five games. Again, the Indians relied heavily on their bullpen and starting pitchers to help hold the Cubs offense to fewer runs. Left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller was awarded the MVP of the series for his stellar pitching performances. He didn’t allow a single run in 11 ⅔ innings in the ALCS in a dominating relief roles. The Indians look to win the next series against the Cubs with home field advantage.
No matter what happened in the World Series, it was going to be a historic one. The Cubs came into the World Series with the longest title drought in professional sports history, 108 years since they had won a title. The Indians title drought was not short either, it had been 68 years since the Cleveland Indians had won the World Series. A recurring theme came back up in Game 1 for the Cubs, their bats went quiet again. They were shut out 6-0. The Indians and Cubs would then split the next two games making the Indians lead 2-1. The Indians would then take another game in Chicago, putting themselves up 3-1 with a chance to win it all in Chicago in Game 5. In the last game at Wrigley Field for the year, the Cubs won and pushed the series back to Cleveland for Game 6. From the start of Game 6 the Cubs made it clear that they were very much still alive, by going up 7-0 after three innings. The final was 9-3 and this series was heading to a Game 7. Nerves were running high for both teams heading into Game 7. Heading into the eighth inning the Cubs were up 6-3 but the Cleveland crowd and players did not give up. Cleveland put up three runs in the eighth to tie and all of a sudden it was a tie ball game heading into the ninth inning. The pressure was at an all time high but neither team could come up with a run so the game went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth inning, Cubs left fielder Ben Zobrist doubled down the line scoring two, to make it 8-6 Cubs. The Indians tried to make a comeback in the bottom of the tenth but they only could score one run, giving the Cubs their first World Series Championship in 108 years.