The Major League Baseball playoffs are set. The American League Wild Card game will feature the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, Oct. 5. The Wild Card game in the National League will be a matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

WILD FINISH IN THE AL

The Wild Card round is set, and what a wild finish it was to the season. The Red Sox will host the Yankees at Fenway on Tuesday night, and that was one outcome out of many different ways this Wild Card game could’ve ended up.

The Blue Jays ended up trouncing the Orioles, and their game finished before everyone. Toronto had their eyes glued to the scoreboard after they went up 11-1 before the sixth inning hoping for a Yankees or Red Sox loss. Vladimir Guerrero Jr hit his 48th home run, making him the first player 22 years old or younger to reach that mark in a single season.

Shortly after, the Yankees walked off on an Aaron Judge “infield single” to beat the Rays 1-0. That eliminated the outcome where the Yankees play in a tiebreaker game, locking up a wild card spot and a birth into the playoffs.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, though, they will be without D.J. Lemahieu Tuesday night after hitting the 10-day IL on Sunday.

As for the Red Sox, they had themselves quite the day. After being down 5-1 to the Nationals, Boston was able to rally once again and win the game 7-5. Rafael Devers led the charge with two home runs. One of them being the go-ahead two-run shot in the top of the ninth after a three-run seventh to tie the ball game.

GIANTS CLINCH TOP SEED

No one expected the San Fransisco Giants to be in their position as it stands today at the beginning of the year. The over under on wins before game one was only at 75.5, and they won 107 games. What’s even crazier is that the Dodgers have to play in the Wild Card game with 106 wins. They were 16 games up in the Wild Card standings to end the year. If the Dodgers won and the Giants lost, they would’ve played a Game 163 to decide the winner of the NL West and the first seed in the playoffs.

The second NL Wild Card spot was a different story. On September 7, the St. Louis Cardinals had a 2.8 percent chance to make the playoffs. They end today in the second Wild Card spot with a seven game lead at that. Since that date, the Cardinals went 21-4 including a SEVENTEEN GAME winning streak in that stretch.

All power to the Cardinals and their fans, and believe me I am happy for you. But I will say it sure is a shame we won’t be able to see Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres play October baseball. He hit this mammoth homer that went just about 470 feet and out of Dodger Stadium.

MLB PLAYOFF FIRST ROUND PREVIEW

I feel as if the 2021 MLB Playoffs are pretty wide open, where one of the underdogs can definitely pull it off. I don’t think it is as top-heavy as it seems with three 100-win teams (Dodgers, Giants, Rays).

AL Wild Card: YANKEES vs. RED SOX

The rivalry is back in the postseason, round four. This will be the second time since 2004 that the Sox and Yankees will go head-to-head in the playoffs. The game will feature the teams’ two aces, Gerrit Cole (3.23 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (3.75 ERA). We are be in store for a battle. Lemahieu being out will be a tough loss for New York, but J.D. Martinez is questionable after spraining his ankle running out to right field… smh. If the starters are at full force (as I expect) this should be a low scoring game going into the late innings, but Alex Cora might have to throw the kitchen sink at the Yankees depending on how Eovaldi pitches early. The Yankees currently hold a six-game winning streak against the Red Sox.

Eovaldi vs. NYY in 2021: 6 G, 3.71 ERA

Cole vs. BOS in 2021: 4 G, 4.91 ERA

AP Photo/Steven Senne
NL Wild Card: CARDINALS vs. DODGERS

The Cardinals are red hot, but the Dodgers have quietly also been one of the hottest teams in the past month. LA had a 22-7 record in September and are riding into the postseason on a seven-game win streak. We have another stellar pitching matchup for this one between the two veterans, Adam Wainwright (3.05 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (2.46 ERA, 1.98 with LAD). Wainwright is kind of having a resurgence after struggling for a few seasons. Max Scherzer is Max Scherzer. Another year, another Cy Young finalist. He has been lights out since he got to Los Angeles. Anything can happen in this game, but I would have to say the Dodgers have the edge. Even though Waino is having a great year, the better pitcher is on the mound, and there is no question the Dodgers have the better line up.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

AL Division Winners

AL East: TAMPA BAY RAYS

The Rays make it their second straight year as AL East division winners, and it is the first time in franchise history the club has reached 100 wins. Tampa Bay will have the pleasure of hosting a division rival for their first round matchup. It would be a good matchup regardless of if the Yankees or Red Sox move on to face the Rays. I’m not sure the Rays would prefer one or the other. Tampa’s strategy of “pitching by committee” was still prominent this season, and obviously it continued to work. They also are a sneaky team who’s offense can strike out of nowhere. There’s a lot of pop in those Tampa Bay bats. Let’s just hope Shane McClanahan doesn’t toss 5 innings only giving up one hit with 70 pitches and gets pulled in one of these games… if you know what I mean.

Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports
AL Central vs. AL West: WHITE SOX vs. ASTROS

Chicago vs. Houston is another great matchup. A top AL Manager of the Year candidate, Tony La Russa, was questioned a few times during the beginning of the year, but it turns out the man knows what he is doing. He led Chicago to a division title with a great pitching staff and offense. The White Sox are a great team top to bottom and have a ton of talent in each aspect of the game. They have great young players that can hit and trading for Craig Kimbrel made their bullpen one of the strongest in the playoffs.

Even though the Astros have been riddled with injuries all year, they still managed to obtain the second best record in the AL and win the West division. They arguably have been the best offense in the league this year and have a very underrated pitching staff. Houston ended the season first in batting average (.267) and second in OPS (.784). Dusty Baker will be looking to get his long awaited ring as a manager as he and La Russa will face off as the two oldest coaches in MLB.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

NL Division Winners

NL West: SAN FRANSISCO GIANTS

Since 2016, the Giants had been struggling and finishing toward the bottom of the division for a few years. After a late push for the expanded playoffs last season, San Fransisco blew expectations out of the water and finished the year with 107 wins, the most in franchise history. The Giants’ franchise dates back over 100 years, by the way. They have been the best pitching team in the league besides their division rival the Los Angeles Dodgers. The veterans are having great seasons with the team; Evan Longoria, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey. It just seems like this team does not stop winning. They will be a fun team to watch and root for in the 2021 Playoffs. If the Dodgers advance, that would be an insane five-game series.

Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune
NL East vs. NL Central: BRAVES vs. BREWERS

The Braves did not get off to a hot start in the first half of the season. They hovered around .500 all the way up until the trade deadline. And of course, they took a HUGE loss when Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL. Atlanta made some moves, though, to strengthen their offense, and went on quite the run while the Mets collapsed out of first place. Jorge Soler, Adam Duval, Eddie Rosario, and Joc Pederson were all acquired during the season to help out the Braves offense. Max Fried has been a stud for the Braves this year (3.04 ERA), and he will go in Game Two for the Braves against the Brewers. Charlie Morton gets Game One and is still chugging in his age 37 season.

Milwaukee has made the playoffs for the fourth straight season after clinching the NL Central, which seemed like a lock for a majority of the season. The Brewers’ pitching staff is top tier, and that helped them gain the second seed in this year’s playoffs. In related news, the Brew Crew will be without their set up man, Devin Williams (2.50 ERA). He punched a wall after the celebration for clinching the NL Central and fractured his pitching hand. Not the best choice of action if you ask me, or anybody. He is a crucial part of their bullpen so that is not a great sign. The Brewers haven’t named a Game One starter yet, but it will most likely be Brandon Woodruff, but they cannot go wrong with him, Corbin Burnes, or Freddy Peralta.

Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

I can’t find enough words to describe how excited I am for the playoffs to start, and you should be too. Baseball is one of the best postseason sports to watch and crowds you will see. The Wild Card games offer up two incredible matchups, so we will see some great baseball in electric environments. See you on Tuesday!