Astros, Yankees, Padres and Phillies duel for World Series title

Four teams remain in the MLB playoffs

Courtesy / Joshua F. Madison

Four teams remain in the MLB playoffs

John Anthony Risso, Crier Staff

As of the time of writing this article, the Championship Series is about to begin. This means that the final four teams are set. The teams left who have a chance to win the World Series are the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Diego Padres. 

The Astros and Yankees are perennial contenders, but the two National League teams are fresh and haven’t been this far in the World Series race in a while. 

  The Houston Astros have proved to be the pinnacle of a baseball team. They have proved to be successful even after their 2017 cheating scandal was uncovered. Houston consistently made the playoffs for the last six years. 

Two key pieces to the Astros offense, George Springer and Carlos Correa, left the team in free agency over the last few years, but the Astros always seem to manage. They still have Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, who were also key to their 2017 championship. Houston added the rookie shortstop, Jeremey Peña, to their roster, and he has had his moments. 

The biggest breakout of the year for the Astros is Yordan Alvarez, as he has become one of the hardest lefty hitters to face in baseball. He single-handedly propelled Houston past the Seattle Mariners in the Division Series. 

The offense has a history of thriving with a mix of gritty veterans, decent rookies, and breakout all-stars. But currently, their offense is slumping. Their pitching has been led by the 39-year-old Justin Verlander. Verlander, a future hall of famer, has revitalized and looks like his early 2010s self. He legitimately has a chance at winning the American League Cy Young Award. Houston is truly a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. 

  The Astros will be facing off against the ever-hated New York Yankees. The Yankees have all the familiar faces that you know. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton add power to the Yankees lineup. 

Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino have been the rock of New York’s starting rotation. New York’s starting pitching is its strong suit as its bullpen is in shambles due to injury. The only arm in the pen that you can put all your faith into is Clay Holmes. Michael King is out due to injury and Aroldis Chapman is a shell of his former self. The offense also hasn’t stepped up besides Judge who led the league with 62 homers. New York’s bullpen is its weak link, so the offense will have to score enough runs to give the pen breathing room.

The San Diego Padres shocked the world by beating two 100 plus win teams to get to where they are. They beat the New York Mets in the Wild Card and the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series. 

The Padres have truly earned the place they are in right now. Similarly to New York, San Diego has elite pitching. The duo of Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove is one of the scariest 1-2 punches in baseball and they also have one of the best closers of the past half decade, Josh Hader. 

Hader, who was picked up at the trade deadline, had a rocky start for San Diego. He didn’t look like the player who dominated all those years in Milwaukee. But now, Hader has found his groove and is back to his old self. San Diego’s other deadline acquisitions of Josh Bell and Brandon Drury have been ice cold.

The biggest disappointment has been the young superstar, Juan Soto. The Padres acquired Soto in a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline. 

With the Washington Nationals, Soto has been an all-star twice, won silver slugger twice, won a batting title, won a World Series, and won the Home Run Derby. Soto does not look anything like that player. This is especially concerning because San Diego gave up a lot of assets to get Soto, and they expected him to make a huge difference on their team. 

Although none of the bats acquired this year are working, San Diego still has a decent offense. Manny Machado, who some consider the best third baseman in baseball, is the heart and soul of their lineup. There are no other flashy names or all-stars in the Padres lineup, but they can play the hot hand. We will have to see if San Diego can survive off the backs of their hot players.

  It is a shock that the Philadelphia Phillies are even in the postseason. For the first half of the year, they were infamous for making errors in the field. But the Phillies prove that a lot can happen in a year. Bryce Harper is the biggest star to shine on their team. He is their franchise player and easily their best bat. 

They picked up Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber last offseason even though neither supplied good defense. Castellanos has been underwhelming, but Schwarber led the National League in home runs and is a scary threat. Similarly to the Padres, the big names on the Phillies have been quiet and it’s the average players who are getting the job done. 

The Phillies also have an outstanding 1-2-3 pitching punch of Zach Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Ranger Suarez. The Philadelphia bullpen has solid depth as well.

The main concern for the Phillies would be if their bats go quiet. They have elite pitching to stay in any game, but I could see a world where the offense goes cold, and they score very few runs. Overall the team has been hot, so maybe they can use that to their advantage and win it all.

           Each one of these four teams has a legitimate chance to win the World Series. Playoff baseball is the best kind of baseball because it brings the best out of teams. It’s where the true stars of baseball shine. Another year of playoff baseball with some new faces is super exciting and is a must-watch.