With the National League Championship Series, beginning tonight, we take a moment to look back at the biggest takeaway from each MLB Division Series. And check out our 3 Up and 3 Down piece about the MLB Playoffs.
Empty Heart of Braves Order vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Arguably the most evenly matched Division Series matchup of the bunch. The Braves and Cardinals fought each other tooth and nail to try and advance. The biggest takeaway was the nearly none existent middle of the Braves order. The typically unfazed and potent heart of the Braves order was painfully anemic for Atlanta. Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson, and Nick Markakis hit .200, .158, .143, respectively. Those are numbers outside of what their talents usually dictate. If the Braves received any semblance of their career norms, they might have moved past the Cards.
As far as the advancing Cardinals, Yadier Molina has the heartbeat of a surgeon. In the most significant moments of the game, the Cardinals Catcher, Yadi Molina, is at his best. From game calling to throwing runners out to walk-off hits, Yadier Molina is the epitome of Cardinal baseball.
Nationals Knockout Juggernaut Dodgers
The Washington Nationals started the season in a rocky manner. By the end of May, the Nationals record was 24-33. But as the season continued, the Nats began to find their groove and would end the season with a record of 93-69. And when the Nationals won the NL Wild Card game, everyone expected them to be defeated by the Dodgers, as the Blue Crew won 106 games this season. But as the series unfolded, the Nationals were proving to be a pesky and unfolding squad. Ultimately, the team from the Nation’s Capitol dethroned the reigning NL Champion Dodgers.
Tampa Tried But Houston Too Strong
The Tampa Bay Rays were a club no one gave any respect to before the season. But as the year went on, the Rays were in the hunt for the AL Wild Card. And during the AL Wild Card, the Rays came out swinging and advanced to face off with the Houston Astros. Houston was the top team in MLB this season, finishing with 107 wins in the regular season. And while the Rays would put in an incredible display of heart and tenacity, the strength of the Astros (aka Gerrit Cole) was too much to overcome.
Yankees Continue to Dominate Twins
The Yankees have an unprecedented level of dominance over the Minnesota Twins. We covered that dominance over the Twins in an installment of the Pinstripe Plunge Report. The Yankees have been in this position before defeating the Twins. Minnesota had an outstanding season culminating in 101 wins. The Twins and Yankees battled all season for the MLB team home run crown, and the Twins Cities won that battle. But the war was won by the Yankees as they would sweep the Twins in three games, reminiscent of the 2009 Post-Season.