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The MLB postseason kicks-off tonight

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OKLAHOMA CITY – This year’s baseball playoffs expects to be a lot of fun. For the first time in 14 years, and only the sixth time in Major League history, there are three teams with at least 100 wins.

Winning 100 or more games during the regular season doesn’t guarantee success. Since the World Series era began in 1903, 102 teams have won at least 100 games—62 reached the Series, and only 30 were crowned World Champs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won 104 games this year to capture the National League’s West Division for the fifth straight year. The Cleveland Indians won 102 games and the AL Central for the second consecutive season. The Indians took the Chicago Cubs to extra innings in Game 7 of last year’s World Series, which the Cubs won to end a 108-year drought. The Houston Astros won 101 games to win the AL West for the second straight year.

The Cubs return as the NL Central champs for the second successive year and look to become the first team to capture consecutive World Series in 17 years.

The first of two Wild Card games begins tonight (7 p.m. ESPN) when the Minnesota Twins (85-77) meet the New York Yankees (91-71) in the Bronx. Minnesota finished second behind Cleveland in the AL Central—17 games back. The Yanks were only two behind the Boston Red Sox in the final AL East standings.

The winner of the one-and-done game gets to take on the Indians (102-60) in a Best-of-5 Divisional Series matchup beginning Thursday in Cleveland. Cleveland was the hottest team since the All-Star Break and in the last month of the season. The Indians went 55-21 since the Break and 24-4 in September.

The second Wild Card game (Wednesday at 7 p.m. on TBS) pits two teams from the NL West. The Arizona Diamondbacks (93-69) finished second and 11 games behind the Dodgers. The Colorado Rockies (87-75) placed third in the division and 17 games behind the Dodgers.

The Arizona-Colorado winner will meet L.A. (104-58) in the NL Divisional Series beginning Friday in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were the hottest team until hitting a slump in late August. They went 56-11 between June 8 and August 25. They hit an 11-game slump in early September, but went 7-2 including winning five of their last six to close the regular season.

The Cubs (92-70) will meet the Washington Nationals (97-65) on the other NL Divisional matchup also on Friday in the nation’s capital. The Nats won the NL East for the second straight year.

The Astros (101-61) will host Boston (93-69) in the second AL Divisional Series, which begins on Thursday.

VegasInsider has installed the Dodgers and Indians as 7 to 2 favorites to win the World Series. They are the teams with the best records in each league. And this year, the team with the best record will have home-field advantage in the World Series. During the last 14 years, the winning league in the All-Star Game got to have home-field advantage in the Series.

Many of the online prognosticators have picked the Dodgers and Indians to meet in the Fall Classic. A few believe the Cubs and Indians will meet in a rematch from last year. The Nats also have been getting some love to represent the NL, and even one forecaster (Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated) picked the Diamondbacks to rise through the Wild Card ranks to get to the Series.

Fivethirtyeight.com also favors the Indians and Dodgers to reach the Series with Cleveland ending its 69-year drought. The Indians are now the longest-suffering franchise without a World Series pennant.

 

Playoff Contenders in the World Series

 

                                                World Series               No.                  Last

Appearances               Wins                Win

New York Yankees                40                                    27                2009

Los Angeles Dodgers             18                                     6                1988

Boston Red Sox                      12                                     8                2013

Chicago Cubs                          11                                    3                2016

Cleveland Indians                     6                                     2                1948

Minnesota Twins                       6                                    3                1991

Arizona Diamondbacks            1                                     1                2001

Houston Astros                         1                                    0                ----

Colorado Rockies                     1                                     0                ----

Washington Nationals               0                                     0                ----

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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