An overview of the MLB postseason

Samantha Lee, Staff Writer

Every fall, Major League Baseball is full of surprises during the postseason, and you can always expect the unexpected. Fans hope that every year is the year their team wins it all. So, here’s an overview of the 2021 MLB postseason. 


The playoffs began on Tuesday, Oct. 5 as the Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees in the AL wildcard game, knocking off their division rivals and sending them home. Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was on point, pitching 5 ⅓ innings while giving up only one run. Home runs by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and left fielder Kyle Schwarber fueled the Red Sox win, sending them to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays for the best-of-five series to reach the league championship series.  

A day later, the St. Louis Cardinals played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL wildcard in Los Angeles. Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer allowed Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman to score on a wild pitch in the top of the first, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead until the fourth inning. A 1-1 ballgame turned into a win for Los Angeles, as center fielder and Virginia Beach native Chris Taylor walked off with a two-run homer in the ninth inning, sending Los Angeles to San Francisco for the division series. 

Division Series

In the first division series of the postseason, the Houston Astros hosted the Chicago White Sox, the second postseason matchup between the two teams. Houston jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the series, and the White Sox came back to win Game 3, 12-6 to avoid elimination, but Houston Game 4 in Chicago with a 10-1 victory to get them to their fifth-consecutive ALCS appearance. Houston outscored Chicago 31-18. 

This matchup saw the Boston Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays. In Game 1, Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena became the first player to hit a home run and steal home in a playoff game. Tampa Bay got out to a 1-0 series lead, but Boston stormed back to win three straight to beat the high favored, defending AL champion Rays. Boston catcher Christian Vazquez walked off with a two-run homer in Game 3, and a sacrifice fly by center fielder Kike Hernandez in Game 4 that sent the Red Sox to their 12th ALCS in franchise history.

The Braves traveled to Milwaukee to compete against the Brewers, marking their first postseason matchup against them. Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in Game 1, but Atlanta stormed back to win three straight, outscoring the Brewers 11-4 in those games. Home runs by third baseman Austin Riley and outfielder Joc Peterson powered the Braves past the Brewers to move on to the league championship series, their second straight appearance in that series. 

The Dodgers and Giants went head to head in a highly anticipated division matchup that saw both teams win at least 106 games each during the regular season. San Francisco took Game 1 with a 4-0 win and game three with a 1-0 win. In Game 5, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger came up clutch in the top of the ninth, giving Los Angele a 2-1 lead. The game ended on a questionable check swing by Giants first baseman Wilmer Flores, and pitcher Max Scherzer earned the save as the Dodgers outscored the Giants 18-10 in the series. 

 League Championship Series

The Astros hosted the Red Sox at home in Games 1 and 2. In Game 1, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit his 20th postseason homer, tying Yankees legend Derek Jeter for the third most in history. The Red Sox hit three grand slams, two in Game 2 and one in Game 3, making them the first team in postseason history to hit that many in a single series. Houston ultimately came out on top with a 4-2 series win, sending them back to the World Series for the first time since 2019. Manager Dusty Baker became the oldest manager to win the AL pennant, and outfielder Yordan Alvarez was the ALCS MVP after batting .522 in the series.  

The Braves got revenge on the Dodgers after blowing a 3-1 lead in the Championship Series last year. They walked off twice in a row, putting Atlanta up 2-0 in the series. In Game 5, Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor became the first player to homer three times in an elimination game. The Braves ultimately came out on top against the defending champs, winning the NL pennant for the first time since 1999 to advance to the World Series. Left fielder Eddie Rosario won NLCS MVP with 3 HR and 14 hits, tying the record for the most hits in a playoff series. 

World Series

The fall classic saw a matchup between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros which lasted six games. Houston managed to reach their third world series in five years, and their first one under manager Baker. Through four games, Atlanta found itself up three games to one and only one win away from winning big at the world series. Houston fought back in Game 5 with a 9-5 win to cut the series down three games to two, but Atlanta prevailed in game six with a 7-0 victory over the highly favored Astros as the Braves won the World Series for the first time in 26 years. Outfielder Jorge Soler won the Willie Mays MVP Award, first baseman Freddie Freeman finally got his ring, outfielder Joc Peterson became the ninth player ever to win consecutive world series with two different teams, and all of Atlanta could finally rejoice after years of disappointment and heartbreak.