Yankees host Twins as Major League Baseball playoffs begin

Hideki Matsui helped the Yankees to their most recent World Series title a playoff run that began with the team's win over the Twins in the ALDS

Yankees host Twins as Major League Baseball playoffs begin

"I think they'll beat the Cubs in the World Series".

This matchup seems to be a particularly intriguing one.

The Twins struck first in each of the first two games, but were no match for the Yankees, who advanced to the second round of the postseason as a wild card for the first time that year. There is the best team in baseball, the Indians. This isn't a ranking based on how good the teams are, or how much I personally like them - it's a ranking based on marketability, storylines, talking points, and so on and so forth. They were counted out early, but played well and overcame poor odds.

One of the American League representatives is the Cleveland Indians with a record of 102-60.

AL Wild Card: This one game wild card series win or your season is over is between two teams that had bounce back season.

They undoubtedly found the cure after the All-Star break, taking control of the division by the end of August and igniting full force during a 22-game winning streak that accounted for the second-longest in baseball history and contributed to 33 wins over their final 37 games.

Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer made his major league debut with Arizona in 2012. In fact, the entirety of the Indians pitching staff leads all other AL teams in the major pitching categories. Imagine Bryant as part of this already-powerful Houston lineup.

An Indians-Dodgers matchup would be a battle of two franchises with World Championship droughts, one far more lengthy than the other.

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Jeff McLamb, Lumberton - BOSTON RED SOX. "The Red Sox have (pitcher) Chris Sale, dominant pitching and we can play small ball or hit the long ball". And you still wonder with Chapman on the back end too. However, Aaron Judge, et al., fared poorly in their season series against both Cleveland and Houston. Despite Sale giving his team the advantage, the Astros, with Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, will likely find their way into the ALCS after winning the next three games to win the series 3-1. The NL East Champion Washington Nationals host the NL Central Champion Chicago Cubs in the other NLDS series beginning on Friday. The three 100-win teams will face off against the Diamondbacks (Dodgers), Yankees (Indians) and Red Sox (Astros). It's a testament to how deep the NL West was that it was represented in both sides of the Wild Card Game - if the Dodgers hadn't had such an incredible year then things could have shaken out very differently for both the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. More players missed time.

One that got away: J.D. Martinez was released by Houston shortly before the 2014 season. In addition, Archie Bradley has been exceptional and has served as an X-factor since moving to a bullpen role. The Rockies' lineup is also laden with NL MVP Candidates in leadoff man Charlie Blackmon and third baseman Nolan Arenado, who have both hit at least 30 home runs this season. The Diamondbacks have to first get by the Colorado Rockies (+2800).

Representing the National League is the Los Angeles Dodgers who had the best record in baseball at 104-58. After that, it's anybody's guess on which club will take home the trophy. Due to this, the Diamondbacks will advance to the NLCS.

Before Chicago envisions itself in another World Series, it will have to encounter arguably its toughest obstacle: the Washington Nationals.

The team located in the nation's capital is tasked with squaring up against the reigning World Champion in the NLDS. October is earned, and whatever happens this postseason, these teams more than earned it. Offense is not an issue with them. Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon are all elite offensive players.

And now, for baseball's second season. Clayton Kershaw may be the best pitcher of the past 20 years, but he's still looking for his signature October (although that awesome relief appearance he turned in last year against the Nationals was fun).

Last year, the Chicago Cubs would've undoubtedly led the list of "top teams to root for in the playoffs". Much of the roster that made up the World Series Champion team of a year ago returns this year in an attempt to repeat their success. "Now all I have to do is believe it and enact it". Advancing to the World Series is a great accomplishment and something nice to look back on, but it's in the past. The Nationals will continue their run of good form and defeat the Diamondbacks in the NLCS.

The Houston Astros who went 101-61 in the regular season have an entire city and state looking for something to give them hope in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.

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