erik lundegaard

Wednesday October 25, 2023

Wild-Card World Series

Not exactly the T&A the networks want to show.

“Paul Sewald shuts them down in the ninth to take the Mariners to the World Series!!!!”

What? Oh, the M's traded Paul Sewald to the Arizona Diamondbacks in July? And they're the ones going to the World Series? While my Seattle Mariners didn't even make the postseason? While we just missed the postseason? While we needed to win four of four against the Texas Rangers in the final weekend but only won three of four, and now those self-same Texas Rangers, whom we beat three of four, are facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks for the title?

Yeah, sounds about right.

I didn't even get to NLCS MVP Ketel Marte being a Mariner, too. He came up through our system. We traded him in 2016. Fun.

I forget who I wanted to see in the World Series at the start of this neverending postseason (Baltimore vs....?) but by the time the LCS hit I was hoping for Texas/Philly. Almost got my wish. Unfortunately, in Game 7, Corbin Carroll brought his A-game (3-4, 2R, 2RBI, 2SB), while many otherwise otherworldly Phillies flailed: Turner, Castellanos, even Harper to an extent. The three of them in that final game went a combined 0-12, and worse, it felt like they would. It wasn't like, “Uh oh, here's Harper.” It was “Yeah, I don't think he's going to do anything.” He didn't even project menace. To be honest, I think he might be injured. And thus whatever mojo the Phils had at the start of all this stopped mojoing. 

This is the second year of the new playoff system that's supposed to reward the long season by giving a first-round bye to the division winners with the best records, and thus far that reward looks unrewarding. No NL first-round bye team has won a division series or even forced a fifth game. It's been 100-win Braves and Dodgers teams both years, so maybe there's something wrong with those orgs that prevent them winning (or even competing in) short series? I don't know.

  • 2022 NLDS1: Phillies (87-75) over Braves (101-61), 3 games to 1
  • 2022 NLDS2: Padres (89-73) over Dodgers (111-51), 3 games to 1
  • 2023 NLDS1: Phillies (90-72) over Braves (104-58), 3 games to 1
  • 2023 NLDS2: D-Backs (84-78) over Dodgers (100-62), 3 games to 0

The AL, thanks mostly to Houston, has been different. Last season, they beat the Mariners 3-0, while the division-winning Yankees squeaked by the Guardians 3-2. This season, Houston beat the Twins (3-1) while the 101-win Orioles lost to the wild-card Rangers.

Many think the first-round bye is still a boon, and the above is too short a sample size. I think the above is too important to let lie for a larger sample size, but that's me. Either way, we now have an all-wild card World Series: the 90-win Rangers vs. the 84-win D-Backs. I'm backing the Rangers. They're one of six franchises to never win a World Series (chronologically by year of expansion: Rangers, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rockies, Rays), and I wouldn't mind if it was five. Plus Mariners fans could say we beat the World Series champions three of four in that final weekend of the regular season. That'll be our World Series. The way things are going, it may be as close as we get.

Posted at 08:02 AM on Wednesday October 25, 2023 in category Baseball  
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