This is going to be a very busy postseason, if the first two days are any indication.
Four of the most famous baseball franchises participated in the wild-card game. beat the Yankees, and the Dodgers defeated the Cardinals with Chris Taylor’s ninth-inning hit homer. Los Angeles will now face San Francisco in the latest chapter in a famous rivalry, and the most anticipated matchup during the Division Series round.
It’s a great time to look forward. There are 16 World Series matchups left, with four teams remaining in each league. Here’s a quick overview of each. These matchups were ranked in descending order according to likelihood using Fangraphs.com’s early Thursday morning probability figures.
DODGERS-RED SOX (12.2%).
Rematch of 2018 World Series win by Boston — except that Mookie Betts now plays for Los Angeles. Alex Verdugo was traded to the Red Sox by ex-Dodgers Nathan Eovaldi, and Kike Hernandez are also playing important roles.
This matchup is easy to understand. Dodgers fans were the worst affected by Houston’s sign-stealing scheme. They lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros. Houston is now managed by Dusty Baker, a former Dodgers star.
DODGERS-WHITE SOX (11.1%)
While there might be more familiarity or hostility in a Dodgers/Astros matchup than a Dodgers/Red Sox matchups, there are many reasons to love Dodgers/White Sox. It would allow Tony La Russa, Chicago’s manager, to rematch the World Series with Los Angeles. This is after Kirk Gibson’s home run in 1988 when the Dodgers defeated Oakland. This could be the best possible matchup for starting pitching.
Although the Fangraphs probabilities don’t favor the 100-win Rays but they will be of interest to the Dodgers if they meet in the World Series for the second consecutive year. Both pennant winners have not met since 1977 and 1978 when the Yankees defeated the Dodgers in Game 2 of the World Series.
BREWERS-RED SOMX (6.4%)
Boston and Milwaukee used to share a AL East division. However, the teams haven’t had much in common. Although the Brewers finished two games below the Red Sox division champion in 1988, it wasn’t really an actual head-to-head race. That year, the top four AL East teams were within two games of one another.
An interesting subplot would be Zack Greinke pitching in Milwaukee against his old team. David Stearns, the Brewers president, was also an assistant general manger for the Astros.
BREWERS-WHITE SOMX (5.8%).
Travel between the two ballparks would be easy, as they are only 100 miles apart. Avisail Garcia, a former White Sox outfielder hit 29 homers for Milwaukee this year. Yasmani Grandeal, a switch-hitting catcher, spent one year with the Brewers prior to joining the White Sox in 2019.
BRAVES-RED SOX (5.8%).
The Braves will face the city that they used to call home. They hope it goes better for Atlanta than the matchup against the Boston area in 2017. Fenway Park will be displaying “28-3” signs.
Charlie Morton won Game 7 of the World Series in 2017 for the Astros. This season, he was 14-6 for Atlanta.
BRAVES-WHITE SOX (5.2%)
Craig Kimbrel vs. Braves — Although Kimbrel has had a difficult time for Chicago, it’s difficult to predict how important he will be in the postseason.
GIANTS-RED SOX (5.0%)
Boston holds the record for most World Series titles with four. San Francisco has three. Over the last two decades, these teams have generally kept each other out of harm’s way. The Giants did not make the playoffs in any four years that the Red Sox won it, and they didn’t make it in three of the three seasons that the Giants won the title.
The storyline is simple: Baker takes on San Francisco, with whom he started his managerial career in 1993. Baker led the Giants to the 2002 World Series, his only pennant as a skipper in big league baseball. However, they were defeated by the Angels in seven games.
GIANTS-WHITE SOX (4.6%)
In 1917, the Giants were New York Giants. The White Sox defeated them in the World Series. Red Faber had three wins. Chicago didn’t win it all again until 88 years later.
These are the only teams in the postseason this season that have not won the World Series. In May, Tampa Bay traded shortstop Willy Adames from Tampa Bay to the Brewers. Wander Franco, a star rookie, has been a great player in that spot for Tampa Bay. Adames however hit 20 homers in his first 99 games in Milwaukee.
The SEC country wins the World Series. The two teams were within one game of meeting in the Fall Classic last year, but Atlanta lost to Dodgers in seven games in the NL Championship Series.
That’s right: According to Fangraphs, this matchup between two of the top seeds is not likely. Evan Longoria was one of Tampa Bay’s top players, but he was traded to New York after ten seasons. He has been in San Francisco for four years and is still a strong player when healthy.