The 2021 MLB playoffs will be the first to take place in September after the 2020 season.
When we talk about the future of anything, it often involves an element of uncertainty. The 2019 MLB playoffs saw a lot happen in three short months: another team added to the postseason, two wild card teams securing their spot and one more year for Manny Machado’s service time clock to begin ticking. Now that all the dust has settled after this whirlwind season, let’s take a look at what might happen in 2021 with respect to both regular-season play and post-season matchups.The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will square off in a best-of-seven series after they both won their divisions. The Red Sox earned the American League East title with an AL Central tiebreaker over the Chicago White Sox, while New York took home first place ahead of Boston by beating out Tampa Bay to claim the AL Wild Card spot. The two teams have met 11 times since 2013, but it’s been four years since either team has hoisted a trophy that doesn’t involve champagne or beer..
The “mlb playoffs 2020” is the upcoming MLB post-season. The playoffs will begin in April and end with the World Series in October.
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan
- MLB insider on ESPN
- Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity,” “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity”
HOUSTON, Texas — Here’s the thing: the Houston Astros are really exceptional. They were that good in 2017 when they were cheating, and they’ll be that good in 2021 when they aren’t. They play a type of baseball worth enjoying no matter who they meet in the World Series, which they’ll play for the third time in five years after dismissing the Boston Red Sox in stunning manner Friday night.
If you’re from Boston, New York, or Los Angeles, or if you’re a baseball fan with a pulse anywhere outside of the Houston metropolitan area, the preceding paragraph may cause teeth-gnashing, eyebrow-furrowing, nausea, irritability, or any of the other reactions you’d see on a TV commercial for a new drug. The Astros are Major League Baseball’s villains, and nothing irritates fans more than when the villain succeeds, whether it’s in baseball, football, wrestling, or any other kind of entertainment.
It’s only that since becoming baseball outlaws, the Astros have also become something else: just the second club in history to reach five consecutive ALCS and the first since the Yankees in 2002 to reach three World Series in a five-year stretch. In two decades of baseball, no club has matched the 5-0 thrashing the Astros delivered in Game 6 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park against the Red Sox.
The first appearance in the trilogy resulted in a title that has since been tarnished due to the sign-stealing, trash-can-banging scam that went along with it, and the second concluded with a Game 7 defeat weeks before the scheme was revealed. However, these Astros are far enough removed from the teams who won those series to appreciate them for what they are: a formidable lineup of hitters, a solid group of fielders, and a club that has pieced together enough pitching to be four wins away from another championship.
Even the Astros’ detractors can’t help but admire them. They play a kind of baseball that no longer exists. They had the best batting average in the league. The player that was struck out the fewest times. Fouled throws more than anybody else. The league’s lowest rate of swings and misses. All of the things they were so good at while they were cheating, they are still doing today.
Which, of course, may convince even the most cynical person to believe they are still cynical. And that, more than anything else, is the result of the 2017 Astros’ actions. It not only tainted that triumph, but it also put doubt on their ability to win more. So why should it be safe to presume they’re not breaking any regulations any longer? Beyond the sheer arrogance required to cheat once again, the combination of MLB’s crackdown on in-game technological communication and the embarrassment that follows the Astros around the league is appealing.
There’s also the knowing that a clean sweep changes the Astros’ narrative. It just adds to the sadness of what they did in 2017 — in the same way that Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez’s usage of performance-enhancing drugs is tragic. It wasn’t required.
These Astros, like their 2017 counterparts, are fantastic. Despite the loss of George Springer, they may suddenly be a better offensive club. Yordan Alvarez, the ALCS MVP and 24-year-old slugger, went 4 for 4 with a pair of singles and a triple in the clinching and batted. This is number 524 in the series. Kyle Tucker, a 24-year-old right fielder, hit a three-run home run to transform a two-run deficit into a five-run cushion. Both spent the most of 2017 in the minors.
Luis Garcia, who threw a no-hitter in Game 6, is 23 years old and spent 2017 in the Dominican Summer League. Framber Valdez, 27, shut down the Red Sox in Game 5 but was yet to make his major league debut in 2017. Over the remaining two games, both players contributed to a total of five hits for Boston. Alvarez has seven of his own.
After how poorly the Astros handled the revelation of their cheating, how long it took them to apologize, and how they bungled almost every aspect of the aftermath, the possibility of any sort of recognition for what they’re doing now that isn’t viewed through the lens of what they’ve done in the past was lost for most. It hardened the players, making them even more closed-off than they already were. It’s strange when individuals find inspiration in their own wrongdoings, but the Astros did just that.
“We’ve made errors in the past, but you can’t go back,” said injured starter Lance McCullers, who, along with first baseman Yuli Gurriel, second baseman Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman, and shortstop Carlos Correa, is one of the few parts of the 2017 club remaining in Houston. “All we can do now is keep moving ahead, play excellent baseball, remain inside our clubhouse, fan base, and incredible city, and do our thing.”
That is a victory.
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When their manager, A.J. Hinch, was dismissed in early 2020 as a result of MLB’s findings on the plan, they needed stability as well, which Dusty Baker delivered. Baker is 72 years old. He hasn’t won a World Series since he was the manager of the San Francisco Giants in 2002. That happened four teams ago. Baker is well-liked across the game, and anybody who refuses to appreciate what the Astros do on principle alone should support for Baker.
“In most playoffs, Game 6 has been my enemy, and that’s what I was thinking,” Baker said. “You have to go past your foe, after all. I was terrified of electricity as a child, and now I operate an energy firm. You are attempting to overcome obstacles in your life.”
You are attempting to overcome obstacles in your life. There may not be a better way to characterize the Houston Astros in 2021. They know no one will feel sorry for them if they get whacked on ball-strike calls twice in the same eighth-inning at-bat, as reliever Ryne Stanek did. They know that if Correa does things like glance at his wrist and touch it while shouting “my time” in the playoffs, it would be ridiculed, yet if Fernando Tatis Jr. did it, fans would adore him. They’re well aware that they’re still the bad guys outside of the 713, 281 and 832 area codes.
That’s all right. Fans are free to feel whichever they choose, since fandom is fundamentally an emotional and illogical experience. But, through the booing, sneering, and everything else that’s going to pound the Astros, whether in Atlanta or Los Angeles, there should be a grain of truth that everyone realizes, as painful as that may be.
The Astros are a force to be reckoned with. And no one should be surprised if they win another World Series.
The “mlb playoffs standings” is a website that will display the current standings for the MLB playoffs. This site also includes links to other sites such as ESPN, Yahoo!, and CBS Sports.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the MLB playoff format for 2021?
A: The MLB playoff format for 2021 is as follows: There will be a 7-game series where the first team to win 4 games advances. If there are tie games, they will go into sudden death kicks from 5 yards out with no timeouts.
Where is the World Series played 2021?
A: The World Series is played in October of 2021.
Where are the MLB playoffs?
A: The MLB Playoffs are in the American League Division Series.
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