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MLB playoffs: Keys to victory

MLB Postseason 2017 Wild Card Bonanza

October is just around the corner. The 10 teams moving on will have a chance at much-coveted glory. Every team brings something different to the table, including aces up their sleeves. But they also have weaknesses that need improving to help guarantee wins. Here are the different keys to victory for each team for playoff success.

Here, keys to victory in this case, will entail a team’s strongest asset(s). They can also spotlight how improving departments can help. We begin with the American League.

Keys to Victory: American League

Boston Red Sox: Continue to Believe in the Manager
keys to victory
Cora (middle in red)
Image courtesy of The New York Post

Not only are the Boston Red Sox armed to the teeth with All-Star power, but they also have the best regular season record this season. Not to mention they have hit the most RBIs and boast the best batting average as a team. Sounds like the work of a seasoned manager with over 10 years of experience with the organization? Wrong. Manager Alex Cora is a first-year skipper manning THIS helm. However, Cora won a World Series as a player for the Red Sox in 2007, so his familiarity with Boston’s style has given him a significant advantage. If Boston is to capitalize on this momentum, just let Cora call the shots like before.

Houston Astros: Trust the Defense

The reigning World Series Champions will have a big target on their backs. Come October, everyone in the AL will be looking for their chance to dethrone Houston. But they will have to get past two very big obstacles. First, the Astros’ pitching staff is the scariest in the league, boasting the lowest ERA by any team. They have also allowed the least amount of earned runs and lowest batting average in the regular season. Having a three-headed pitching monster via Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton sure helps. Second, their fielding crew is a force to be reckoned with. Their fielding percentage is best in the AL and have committed only 62 errors in the regular season. Only the Washington Nationals have committed fewer this season.

Cleveland Indians: Just Keep Swinging
keys to victory
Image Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Sorry, I had to. Arguably, the biggest standout feature for Cleveland is its offense. As a team, The Cleveland Indians have cashed in 755 RBIs in this regular season, along with 209 home runs. Both sit among the top five in the MLB. Yes, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are the terrible two everyone talks about. But Cleveland has more batters for other teams to worry about. Designated Hitter, Edwin Encarnacion, is making his presence felt as one of the premier power hitters of today. He has tallied over 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Left fielder, Michael Brantley has struck gold in his more recent outings. Plus, the 31-year old has maintained a batting of .339 in his last 30 games. Plus, he posted a >.330 batting average in the months of August and September.

New York Yankees: Keep Having Fun

The New York Yankees are off to a very high note with a new manager in Aaron Boone. The Pinstripes also lead the majors in home runs hit by a team in the regular season (shocker). But having so many players having big seasons, plus adding Giancarlo Stanton to their camp comes with tons of pressure to succeed. Well, they do have a playoff berth this season and sit comfortably in the Wild Card. No matter how you look at, going to the playoffs with a first-year skipper is quite an accomplishment in itself. Not to mention Aaron Judge is back in the game. Among the biggest keys to victory for New York is to just keep having fun.

Oakland Athletics: Have Faith in the Pitcher
keys to victory
Aug 17, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Lou Trivino (62) throws a pitch during the sixth inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY

The Oakland A’s have just earned their ticket to October. But they will have the Pinstripes to deal with right out of the gates. The A’s do have a formidable offense as well. However, Oakland’s aces will be the deciding factor in their clash with New York. These aces include Lou Trivino, Blake Treinen and Mike Fiers. Their pitching staff is among the most underrated. Yes, Houston, New York and Boston all have bigger weapons on their sides. Some of which are potential CY Young Award contenders. But Oakland’s biggest keys to victory are the lack of spotlight time compared to other clubs, which will help them prepare for the tough road ahead, along with how the starting pitcher sets the tone for the 2018 AL Wild Card Game.

 

Featured image courtesy of Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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