It’s been known for some time now that 2018 was going to be a rough season for the Royals, so 2017 was seen as a possible last hurrah for this core group of players. Things didn’t quite start that way, when the Royals this time, finally, were as awful as the pre-season projections expected them to be.
Given the inherent unpredictability that comes from short postseason series that follow a long, grinding season, there is no such thing as an inevitable World Series matchup. We see top regular season teams fall in short series all the time, most notably when the 116-win Mariners fell in the 2001 ALCS. With all of that being said, each league this season has a team that is soaring above the rest. Both the Dodgers and the Astros have been on fire pretty much since the season began, and if other teams around the league were hoping the All-Star break would slow them down, they’re going to be sorely disappointed.
The Dodgers were on an absurd tear when they were stopped by the All-Star Game festivities, winning 26 of their last 30 games in the first half. That opened up a huge lead in the competitive National League West, and the only hope for a team like the Diamondbacks was if they struggled out of the gate in the second half. On Friday, they didn’t put together a dominant win in Miami, but rather a thrilling one in which Yasiel Puig’s second homer of the night gave L.A. the late lead and eventual victory.
The Astros, meanwhile, weren’t quite as hot as the Dodgers heading into the break, but they were still nearly unstoppable. If you are given a choice between an Astros/Dodgers World Series matchup or the field, you have to take the field. That being said, it’s been a long time since a matchup seemed more inevitable than this one, and it’s becoming clear that nothing can slow these teams down.