Czerwonka: 2023 MLB Playoffs Recap

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MLB Playoffs graphic. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The first two series of the MLB Postseason are complete, and the next is soon to begin. However, before we jump into the Championship Series (CS) matchups, let’s glance over who got eliminated from the dance. 

Minnesota Twins

This is the least surprising out of the four eliminations, but in the end, they put up a fantastic fight. The Twins lost in four games to last year’s World Series champion, the Houston Astros.

This is a step in the right direction for the team, as they managed to pick up their first playoff series win since 2002. Now after losing Game 4 by a score of 3-2, former Astro Carlos Correa said the Twins will learn from this experience, now that “some of the guys got their feet wet in postseason baseball”. 

Baltimore Orioles 

Pitching was eventually going to cost this team, and it absolutely did.

After having the most wins in the American League (AL) at 101, the O’s were favored in their matchup in the American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Rangers. Pitching was going to be a key for the Orioles in this series, as the Rangers lineup was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for Baltimore, Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, and rookie Grayson Rodriguez posted an awful 14.13 ERA in the postseason.

However, it’s not all dark and gloomy. This team is extremely young, with even more young talent on the way. I’m sure they’ll be back next season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Postseason failure is becoming a common theme for the Dodgers, this time being eliminated by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

For the past three years, the Dodgers have been eliminated by a team that they’ve finished 15 games or more ahead of in the regular season, and in each of the last two years, they’ve been eliminated in the NLDS.

The combination of Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn, and rookie Bobby Miller allowed 13 runs, 16 hits, and three walks during the three-game stretch. But it wasn’t just the pitching, as the offense went ice cold, especially in the most important moments of the game. The two superstars, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, who carried the team throughout most of the season were a combined 1-21 in the NLDS to cement the Diamondbacks’ series victory.

Atlanta Braves

Just like last year, the Braves fell right on their face against the Phillies, losing in four.

Similar to the Dodgers, everything from the starting pitching to the offense was awful. Ronald Acuna Jr, the probable 2023 NL MVP, slashed .143/.294/.214, going 2/14 in the series. He wasn’t the only problem for the Atlanta offense, as everyone except for Austin Riley went cold.

Spencer Strider, Max Fried, and Bryce Elder toed the rubber for the Braves in the series, and Strider put them in a position to win on both of his starts. Fried gave up six hits and allowed three runs in four innings in Game 2, and Elder got obliterated, giving up five hits and six runs in a 10-2 loss in Game 3. 

The NLCS will feature the Philadelphia Phillies (No. 4) vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks (No. 6)

Hitting

In the regular season, if there’s one thing the Diamondbacks excelled at, it was baserunning. As a team, they finished in second for total bases stolen with 165.

However, the Phillies lead the D-Backs in runs and home runs, and have a higher on-base and slugging percentage. Since Aug. 5 though, the Phillies offense exploded and led the league in home runs (103) and was second in runs (302).

As for the postseason, both offenses have been red hot, and so far, both teams have slugged 13 home runs in the month of October. The Phillies, however, have a slight advantage in team OPS, with .892 compared to the Diamondbacks’ .877.

Pitching 

In the regular season, the Diamondbacks’ pitching wasn’t the greatest, finishing under the National League average with a 4.48 ERA. Other than their Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, depth is an issue for the Diamondbacks.

With the Phillies, their pitching was solid aside from the early season struggles, which they eventually fixed, and ended up posting a 4.03 ERA.

But again, so far in the postseason, both teams have had stellar pitching, with the Phillies having the best ERA out of all the teams so far with a 1.53. But, the Diamondbacks aren’t too far behind with a 2.20 ERA throughout the postseason.

The ALCS will be the battle of Texas: Houston Astros (No. 2) vs. Texas Rangers (No. 5)

Hitting

Throughout the course of the season, the Rangers were better in every offensive category. They were leading the American League in runs, home runs, and more.

Coming into the second half of the season though, the Astros got hot and collected 40 more wins by the end.

In terms of the playoffs, despite playing one fewer game, the Astros have 10 home runs with a .818 OPS, while the Rangers total seven home runs with a .865 OPS. Along with the experience of the Astros hitting core in the playoffs, their experience should be a factor, as this is the seventh straight ALCS appearance for the team.

Pitching

In the regular season, the Astros finished with the sixth-best ERA in the American League at 3.94. However, the Rangers’ ERA tells a different story.

The pitching staff for the Rangers struggled and had some atrocious months, with ERAs above five in July and September, concluding the season with a 4.28 ERA, which put them towards the bottom half of the league.

But in the postseason, the pitching has turned around, as their ERA is down to 2.20, while the Astros have posted a 3.25 ERA in the four games they played in the Division Series. 

This week will be a great one, as these two matchups are the deciding factor for the well-known and loved fall classic. 

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @TheWhitSports or email @the.whit.sport@gmail.com

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