The last time the Minnesota Twins won a playoff game, Shannon Stewart knocked in Michael Cuddyer for the go-ahead run, Jacque Jones homered, and Johan Santana threw seven scoreless innings as the Twins beat the Yankees in Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS. The next night, Hideki Matsui singled off J.C. Romero to score Derek Jeter in the 12th inning, and that was that for the next 15 years (and counting): The Twins have somehow found a way to lose every single postseason game since, one of sports’ cruelest and most unlikely streaks.
A defining characteristic of Major League Baseball’s 2019 season — beyond the record home run totals — is how predictable it was. Of the 15 teams with the lowest preseason playoff probabilities, per FiveThirtyEight’s predictions, only the Oakland A’s exceeded 50 percent playoff odds at any point in the season. (The A’s, who opened the season with the 16th-best playoff odds, are the only team from the bottom half of our preseason predictions to earn a postseason berth.)
The Boston Red Sox missed the playoffs, so there will be a new champion in 2019. Will the Houston Astros take home their second title in three years? Or can the Los Angeles Dodgers get over the final hurdle and take home their first championship since 1988? Or will it be a surprise team like the Washington Nationals or Minnesota Twins?
One win away from winning a World Series title in his rookie season as a manager, Alex Cora appears poised to make surprise moves right up until the champagne flows. Following Saturday's 9-6 triumph, which gave the Red Sox a commanding 3-1 lead over the Dodgers in the World Series, Cora matter-of-factly announced that David Price will start Sunday's Game 5 instead of ace Chris Sale.
After the epic effort of the Dodgers' 18-inning win in Game 3, you could argue that the epicenter of sports in the country is located in Los Angeles. LeBron James is the talk of the town after making his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers; the Los Angeles Rams are the only undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the World Series for the second consecutive season, a feat they have not accomplished in 40 years.
It was about the 17th inning during the record-breaking World Series Game 3 between the Dodgers and Red Sox that it hit me. *Gulp*This is gonna be the impetus for commissioner Rob Manfred to put "pace of play" measures on extra-inning games, isn't it? To be clear, I don't know that Manfred was thinking this nor do I have any information on the matter other than the history here. We know Manfred is constantly pushing for quicker play. We know that ending a baseball game at 3:39 a.m. ET ... 2:39 a.m. CT ... 1:39 a.m. MT and even 12:39 locally for a World Series game is not necessarily a good thing for growing the game to reach new fans.
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series early Saturday morning, one of the game's most memorable performances belonged to Nathan Eovaldi, the pitcher who yielded the walk-off home run to Max Muncy in the 18th inning. It was Eovaldi, after all, who made his third relief appearance of the series -- that despite being scheduled to start Game 4 -- and who held the Dodgers to two runs (one earned) across six innings on 97 pitches. Essentially, he threw a hidden quality start.
Powered by Eduardo Nunez's three-run home run and Andrew Benintendi's four-hit night, the Boston Red Sox seized a quick lead in the World Series with their Game 1 victory on Tuesday. Despite a number of mishaps, the Los Angeles Dodgers should not hang their heads too much -- they chased Sox ace Chris Sale in the fifth and got into the Red Sox bullpen, as Boston manager Alex Cora used six relievers. Will that have an impact in Game 2 if L.A. can force Cora to go to his bullpen early again? No game in October is played in isolation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox will meet in the 2018 World Series, and that fresh reality has us pondering ... "Who will win the World Series this year?" We certainly don't know the answer to that question, so in lieu of thundering certainty we'll instead provide you with a brief walking tour of how these teams match up, along with whatever else comes to mind -- i.e., what you need to know as this best-of-seven clash for the belt and the title looms. Come with us, won't you?
The Red Sox are a dangerous team when they're able to grab a lead first, which they did in Game 4 thanks to a two-run first inning. But it looked like the Astros had a chance to erase that early lead when Jose Altuve hit what potentially could have been a two-run home run in the bottom half of the inning. However, the play was ruled fan interference by right field umpire Joe West, who determined that Mookie Betts was obstructed as he went airborne to make the catch at the wall. Have a look for yourself:
Milwaukee is going to the LCS for the third time in their history
Two teams, 208 regular-season wins. It was a banner year for the rivalry. Now, it's a best of five. This season, the Boston Red Sox (108 wins) and New York Yankees (100) became just the fourth pair of teams to win 100 or more games while playing in the same division since MLB's divisional era began in 1969. Along the way, they played each other 19 times (the Red Sox won a close season series 10-9), with enough wild moments between them to set up what should be a memorable American League Division Series.
The Yankees now advance to the ALDS after their second straight Wild Card Game win
Wednesday night, for the first time in baseball history, a 100-win team will compete in a Wild Card Game. The New York Yankees (100-62) and Oakland Athletics (97-65) will meet in the 2018 AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium. A trip to the ALDS to face the 108-54 Boston Red Sox is on the line. That's three of the four best records in baseball right there. Fortunately, Wednesday's winner-take-all AL Wild Card Game will avoid rain in New York. It rained Tuesday night and it will rain Thursday night. Wednesday night? Crystal clear and cool with a nice breeze. CBS New York has a similar forecast throughout the night.
As unlikely heroes go, Wolters is, well, unlikely
Baez embraced Arenado as part of a force-out
The playoff picture is finally in focus
October is always the most thrilling month for Major League Baseball. The drama, the intensity of every pitch, the late nights that leave you giddily staggered the whole next day. This is baseball's month to strut its stuff. The game is at its absolute best. And, more than that, it's a chance for stars to truly shine. Baseball's greatest players have had their most indelible moments in October, from Reggie Jackson's (and Albert Pujols') three World Series homers to Madison Bumgarner's dominance to Derek Jeter turning into Mr. November. This is the month when you want to see the best baseball has to offer.
The games and their outcomes are what matter most in the MLB postseason, of course. But even before it begins, every October matchup has some sort of attached storyline or stat or circumstance that makes it special. With 10 teams playing four rounds, including the one-and-done round that begins with tonight's National League Wild Card Game between the Cubs and Rockies, there are 45 possible October pairings ahead. Here, we'll lay out each one and why it would be interesting.
Last year's World Series between the Astros and Dodgers was a thriller, ending in Houston's Game 7 victory for its first championship.