The Texas Rangers won the World Series for the first time in their franchise history beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1. No one expected the Rangers to go all the way or even have a good shot at winning the championship. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round 2-0, then beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0. In the American League championship round, they went to seven games against their instate rivals, the Houston Astros, to move on to the World Series where they beat another unexpected team the Diamondbacks. The Arizona Diamondbacks had the same exact path to the World Series. They beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 then went on to face their divisional rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers and swept them 3-0 leading them to the National League championship. They faced the Philadelphia Phillies and beat them in seven, after being down 2-0, to move to the World Series. Both teams and fans never expected them to go this far.
The first-round exits were the Miami Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Twins and the Blue Jays faced off in the first round with the Twins sweeping them 2-0 and then losing in the second round to the Astros 3-1. The Rays played the Rangers in the first round and got swept 2-0. The Brewers played the Arizona Diamondbacks and got swept 2-0, and lastly, the Marlins played the Phillies and got swept 2-0.
The Braves, Phillies, Astros, Dodgers, and the Orioles were all teams expected to go far and have the best chance at winning it all. The Orioles had an amazing year after last’s, having 101 wins this year having the first seed from being out of the playoffs, and having 80 wins. Sadly, they went through the whole season to then lose to the Rangers in a sweep. The Astros were looking again to have another shot at the World Series and were looking good until the final game before their trip ended short in game 7 against the Rangers. The Phillies were also a team looking to keep going on a roll, having some heavy hitters and a good overall team. They played excellently throughout the playoffs beating the Braves in the second round before moving onto the Diamondbacks and losing in 7. The Braves were supposed to be the best team in the league, looking amazing the entire season and having an MVP on the team but once they had the first-round bye and had to face the Phillies they lost that series 3-1. The Dodgers again had a pretty good team and had the first seed to get a first-round bye but got swept against the Diamondbacks leading their season short once again.
The best regular season teams this season were almost all wiped out in their first series, which has raised questions about the validity of this new postseason format. Before last season, Major League Baseball expanded the postseason from 10 to 12 teams with three Wild Cards from each league now being accepted into the playoffs instead of two. In the previous format, the two Wild Cards would play a one game playoff to decide who would advance to face the highest seeded team from that league. Now, only the top two seeds in each league get a bye while the division winner with the worst record as well as the three Wild Cards would face off against each other in a best of three Wild Card round to advance to the League Division Series. This format has not had good results for the highest rated teams, this year all four Wild Card series ended in sweeps and in the two years with this new format, seven of the eight Wild Card series have ended in sweeps. This round that Major League Baseball expected to add additional intrigue to its playoff bracket has not yielded the results it has wanted. It has given teams with the worst regular season records that advanced to the playoffs momentum into their series against the highest seeded teams. In the Division Series, three of the four teams that won its Wild Card series beat the higher seed in the division round with the only exception being Houston holding off Minnesota in four games just to lose in the ALCS to Texas. The World Series matchup between Texas and Arizona was the lowest regular season records to face off in the history of the World Series.
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