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2021 MLB Playoffs

By Trevor McKey –

The MLB Playoffs are here and are sure to play host to a variety of exciting or lasting memories for any one franchise. After 162 baseball games, this year’s 2021 MLB playoff picture is set but it was not until after some theatrics. The last playoff spots for the Wildcard in the AL came down to the last weekend of the season, as well as the top seed in the NL, which is always fun for baseball fans. With the playoffs set, you have the 2020 ALCS Champion Tampa Bay Rays taking the top spot for the American League while the San Francisco Giants surprised everyone this year and are the top seed for the National League. The Rays await the winner of the one-game Wildcard Playoff between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, whereas the Giants await the winner between the defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the red hot St. Louis Cardinals. The other National League Division Series is between the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. As for the American League Division Series, it will be between the Chicago White Sox versus the Houston Astros.

For those that are interested and want to know the entirety of the 2021 MLB Playoff Schedule and TV locations, here are the dates of the playoff games by series with corresponding network to watch the games:

Tuesday, October 5:

AL Wildcard Game – New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox on ESPN

Wednesday, October 6:

NL Wildcard Game – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers on TBS

Thursday, October 7:

Boston/New York @ Tamp Bay Rays on MLB Network/FS1

Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros on MLB Network/FS1

Friday, October 8:

Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers on TBS

Boston/New York @ Tampa Bay Rays on MLB Network/FS1

Los Angeles/St Louis @ San Francisco Giants on TBS

Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros on MLB Network/FS1

Saturday, October 9:

Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers on TBS

Los Angeles/St Louis @ San Francisco Giants on TBS

Sunday, October 10:

Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston/New York on MLB Network/FS1

Houston Astros @ Chicago White Sox on MLB Network/FS1

Monday, October 11:

Milwaukee Brewers @ Atlanta Braves on TBS

San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles/St Louis on TBS

Houston Astros @ Chicago White Sox on MLB Network/FS1

Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston/New York on MLB Network/FS1

Tuesday, October 12:

Milwaukee Brewers @ Houston Astros on TBS

San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles/New York on TBS

Wednesday, October 13:

Chicago White Sox @ Houston Astros on FS1

Boston/New York @ Tampa Bay Rays on FS1

Thursday, October 14:

Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers on TBS

Los Angeles/St Louis @ San Francisco Giants on TBS

Friday, October 15:

AL Low Seed @ AL High Seed on FOX

Saturday, October 16:

AL Low Seed @ AL High Seed on FOX/FS1

NL Low Seed @ NL High Seed on TBS

Sunday, October 17:

NL Low Seed @ NL High Seed on TBS

Monday, October 18:

AL High Seed @ AL Low Seed on FS1

Tuesday, October 19:

NL High Seed @ NL Low Seed on TBS

AL High Seed @ AL Low Seed on FS1

Wednesday, October 20:

AL High Seed @ AL Low Seed on FS1

NL High Seed @ NL Low Seed on TBS

Thursday, October 21:

NL High Seed @ NL Low Seed on TBS

Friday, October 22:

AL Low Seed @ AL High Seed on FS1

Saturday, October 23;

AL Low Seed @ AL High Seed on FOX/FS1

NL Low Seed @ NL High Seed on TBS

 Sunday, October 24:

NL Low Seed @ NL High Seed on TBS

Tuesday, October 26:

World Series Game 1 on FOX

Wednesday, October 27:

World Series Game 2 on FOX

Friday, October 29:

World Series Game 3 on FOX

Saturday, October 30:

World Series Game 4 on FOX

Sunday, October 31:

World Series Game 5 on FOX

Tuesday, November 2:

World Series Game 6 on FOX

Wednesday, November 3:

World Series Game 7 on FOX

Top 5 Playoff Moments

Whenever anybody thinks of October Baseball or the Fall Classic, most people almost exclusively think of the World Series, and for good reason. The World Series is the culmination of a long and embattled season with a championship that typically brings high drama and unforgettable moments. Last year, Nokona chronicled the history of the World Series while looking at 2020’s MLB season. Due to COVID-19, last year’s road to the World Series was different in a lot of ways but nonetheless exciting and memorable. Whether it was once again crowning an iconic MLB Franchise in the Los Angeles Dodgers as World Series Champions after 32 years or Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena’s remarkable and historic Postseason performance, last year’s Fall Classic had it all. With that being said, Playoff baseball is honestly timeless and great for so many reasons and because the Divisional and Championship Series’ do not get as much love, let us look at the Top 5 Most Memorable Playoff Moments.

5. Game 5, 2019 NLDS: Rendon and Soto Go Back-to-Back for the Tie

On back-to-back hitters and literally back-to-back pitches, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto hit back-to-back home runs to tie the ballgame at 3-3 in the 8th inning. Nationals would go on to win the ballgame in the 10th inning after securing the lead with a grand slam. The Washington Nationals would go on to win the franchise’s first World Series and was the 7th Wildcard team to do so.

4. Game 5, 2014 NLCS: Travis Ishikawa Wins the Pennant for the Giants

Before the 2014 season, Travis Ishikawa weighed retirement but tied 3-3 in the ninth inning, Ishikawa’s homer with a man on second base was a wholesome story sending the Giants to the World Series and Travis Ishikawa into Giants lore. 

3. Game 5, 2015 ALDS: Jose Bautista’s Earth-Shaking Bomb and Bat Flip

Jose Bautista’s 40 home run campaign in 2015 led the Blue Jays to the Playoffs after a Postseason drought stemming from 1993. With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh inning, you would have thought the roof was blown off with Bautista’s 3-run bomb propelling the Blue Jays to victory, the ALCS, and talk around sports with Bautista’s massive and controversial bat flip.

2. Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run, Game 7, 2003 ALCS, New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

Boston looked poised to head to the World Series with a 5-2 lead in the 8th. After multiple hits from Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada tied the ballgame sending it to extra innings, unlikely hero Aaron Boone would add to Boston heartache with his walk-off home run in the eleventh inning.

1. David Ortiz’s walk-off home run, Game 4, 2004 ALCS, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

This is the game that started the most epic comeback in all of sports. In the fourth game and their backs against the wall, the Red Sox forced the game into extra innings after a stolen base and hit off of one of the most storied closers ever, Mariano Rivera. David Ortiz’s walk-off two-run homer in the 12th inning extended the series and would be the start to the first-ever team to win a series after trailing 3 games to 0 in a best of 7 game series. This series not only avenged the Aaron Boone walk-off but also led to the ending of the Curse of the Bambino with the Red Sox winning their first World Series since 1918.

Playoff Power Rankings

1) San Francisco Giants

The Giants won an MLB best and franchise-record 107 wins and have been great all season. Adding talent at the trade deadline will help but this team has defied all predictions and well positioned to make a deep playoff run.

2) Tampa Bay Rays

The returning 2020 ALCS Champions Tampa Bay Rays seem to be hungry and determined to right the ship after last year’s close call. With the AL best record and the first time winning 100 games in franchise history while having the AL best ERA and second most runs scored in the MLB, the Rays are fully capable of winning a shootout or pitching duel in October.

3) Los Angeles Dodgers

Any time the returning World Series Champion makes the playoffs, their consideration for a possible post season run must be understood. Specifically, the Dodgers had the best record from August to September cutting the Giants lead to only 1 game. With their firepower and pitching, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a great shot at back-to-back Championship, an event that has not happened since the Yankees from 1998-2000.

4) Chicago White Sox

The Sox went 7-3 in their last 10 games, winning six of their final seven by outsourcing opponents 41-21 in that stretch, posting a 1.41 ERA as well. The White Sox have everything you need to make a run, whether it is the pitching, hitting and the seasoned Manager who understands the moment and has managed in big games.

5) Atlanta Braves

The Braves haven’t lost a series since the middle of September. In a short series with right-hander Charlie Morton and qualified bats up-and-down the lineup, the Braves are thirsty to reclaim their postseason name.

6) St Louis Cardinals

Even with the hiccup to end the season against the Cubs, the St Louis Cardinals is not a team any one wants to meet in a divisional series. In September the Cards were the hottest team with a 22-7 record and 17-game winning streak. Is this deja vu or did we already see this in 2011?

7) Houston Astros

The Astros still won 95 games and have a chip on their shoulder after everything that was uncovered with their scandal. The Stros still have one of the best postseason performers in Jose Altuve, a great pitching staff, and Carlos Correa, who happens to be in a contract year and loves postseason play, will play ball with an extra incentive.

8) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brew Crew locked up the NL Central so early that they have had the luxury to rest and reset for the postseason. Since everyone knows pitching is king in October, the Brewers pitching is loaded, rested, and set exactly how they want it. The big question is whether the rest and laying off the pedal is too much to bounce back from to start the playoffs, as indicated by not performing as well to finish the year as they may have wanted.

9) New York Yankees

The last two weeks summed up the Yankees season to a “T.” The Yankees are clearly talented and won 8 of 9 to end the season but they lost 12-2 to the Rays in a crucial game to seal home-field advantage. Are the Yankees talented enough to run the table or will they peter out against their biggest rival in sports?

10) Boston Red Sox

Boston solidified their lineup with the acquisition of Kyle Schwarber and needed a must sweep of the Nationals to secure home-field advantage for the one-game winner-take-all Wild Card game. With that said, the Red Sox’s top 3 Team OPS and middle of the pack ERA is primed to make a classic postseason run.

Tanking Draft Order

Most of everyone’s attention at the end of the MLB season is who’s leading the division Division, Postseason ranking, hopes and dreams of a World Series, and the Wild Card play-in game. Rightfully so. However, the end of MLB’s regular season does not only have implications on Divisional or Postseason Championships, but also the all important Draft Order to acquire pro-level talent for the next season. The MLB draft order is determined by the previous season’s standings, with the team possessing the worst record receiving the first pick. Since many teams are so far removed from either first place or wild card contention, in American sports where relegation is not a thing, this incentivizes teams to “tank,” lose on purpose or not place themselves competitively in order to conveniently lose while ensuring a high draft position to pick the best athlete available. For more information pertaining to MLB teams competing for draft order with data that includes losing streaks, strength of schedule, win percentage, etc. please reference Tankathon. As of right now, the 2022 MLB draft order is the following:

  1. Baltimore – Record: 52-110
  2. Arizona – Record: 52-110
  3. Texas – Record: 60-102
  4. Pittsburgh – Record: 61-101
  5. Washington – Record: 65-97
  6. Miami – Record: 67-95
  7. Chicago Cubs – Record: 71-91
  8. Minnesota – Record: 73-89
  9. Kansas City – Record: 74-88
  10. Colorado – Record: 74-87
  11. New York Mets (compensatory pick for not signing last year’s #10)
  12. Detroit – Record: 77-85
  13. Los Angeles Angels – Record: 77-85
  14. New York Mets – Record: 77-85
  15. San Diego – Record: 79-83
  16. Cleveland – Record: 80-82
  17. Philadelphia – Record: 82-80
  18. Cincinnati – Record: 83-79
  19. Oakland – Record: 86-76
  20. Atlanta – Record: 88-73
  21. Seattle – Record: 90-72
  22. St. Louis – Record: 90-72
  23. Toronto – Record: 91-71
  24. Boston – Record: 92-70
  25. New York Yankees – Record: 92-70
  26. Chicago White Sox – Record: 93-69
  27. Milwaukee – Record: 95-67
  28. Houston – Record: 95-67
  29. Tampa Bay – Record: 100-62
  30. Los Angeles Dodgers – Record: 106-56
  31. San Francisco – Record: 107-55
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