PHOENIX — Venezuelan Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson and the Atlanta Braves’ sluggers got a few extra days of rest and relaxation, after 162 regular-season games in the major leagues.
Same for Venezuelans Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander and the current champions Houston Astros — who won the American League West pennant on the final day of the season — as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the interesting story of the Baltimore Orioles.
As for the remaining eight teams, postseason action is coming quickly.
Major League postseason matchups have been set, and the American League and National League wild-card duels begin this Tuesday. This is the second year of the new October format, which features an opening round best-of-three series, with all games played at home of the higher seed.
In the NBA, the sixth-place Toronto Blue Jays will face the third-place Minnesota Twins, while the fifth-place Texas Rangers travel to the home of the fourth-place Tampa Bay Rays. In the National League, the sixth-placed Arizona Diamondbacks face the third-placed Milwaukee Brewers, and the fifth-placed Miami Marlins face the fourth-placed Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves, Astros, Dodgers and Orioles will have about a week off before the division series.
Wild Card Series
Diamondbacks vs. Brewers
The Diamondbacks are back in the postseason for the first time since 2017, despite falling in their final four regular-season games. Rookie speedster Corbin Carroll leads a diverse lineup, while right-hander Zac Gallen is among the contenders for the NL Cy Young Award. The Brewers’ lineup is led by 2018 Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich, while in their rotation they have a solid trio of Corbin Burns, Brandon Woodruff, and Dominican Freddy Peralta.
The Marlins have been an under-the-radar success story and have been dealing with New York weather chaos for most of their home run. Venezuelan Luis Arraez won the National League batting title with a .354 average, while Peruvian-Venezuelan Jesús Luzardo and Braxton Garrett lead the rotation in the absence of Dominican star Sandy Alcantara, due to an injury that will keep him out of action for a while. As long as possible the remainder of the season. The Phillies are trying to get back to the World Series — which they lost to the Astros last year — and they have a deep lineup with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, and Trea Turner.
The Blue Jays are a strong sixth seed with one of the deepest lineups in the major leagues, including Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Matt Chapman, George Springer and Whit Merrifield. They also have depth on the mound with Chris Bassett, Puerto Rican Jose Berrios, Kevin Guzman, and Yusei Kikuchi. The Twins were easily the best in the weak AL Central Division. They hope players like Puerto Rican Carlos Correa and third baseman Royce Luis can return healthy after suffering injuries in the final weeks of the season.
The Rangers are led by an impressive lineup of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, both of whom could finish in the top five in American League MVP voting. Cuban outfielder Adolis Garcia also had a great year. Their shooting rotation is missing most of the big names, but has been stable with Dane Dunning, Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays were the hottest team in the first few weeks of the season, but were caught by the Orioles midway through the season. The balanced lineup includes Cuban Yandy Diaz, Mexican Isaac Paredes, and Cuban-Mexican Randy Arozarena. Zach Eflin and Tyler Glasnow lead their cast.
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