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October Is Here

📸 Photo Credit: Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

As the sweet notes of pumpkin spice fill the air, one thing becomes certain. October is here. 

The first day of October signifies the start of the baseball postseason, but in 2021 it signifies the final leg as the last three games of the year is to be played. 

The National League has locked in all five teams who will play in the Fall Classic: San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves. 

Only three teams in the American League have stamped their ticket into the Fall Classic — all division winners: Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros.

And, then, there’s the American League Wild Card. 

The A.L. Wild Card is like that person in the group project who can’t seem to get their *expletive* together as the deadline approaches, causing pandemonium and pent-up anxiety. 

With three games remaining, four teams vie for the taste of October baseball. 

At the helm — with a two-game lead on top of the Wild Card — are the New York Yankees. Tied at the cusp of postseason contention are the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Standing one game outside the lines of playoff contention, the Toronto Blue Jays are looking for a crack to fly through and clinch their first postseason berth since 2016.  

To get a visual of the next three days for these four teams, here’s a look at the pivotal matchups as the 2021 season comes to an end:

Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees

Boston Red Sox at Washington Nationals 

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays

Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners

To view a breakdown of all Wild Card outcomes, MLB writer Anthony Castrovince dissects all scenarios that’ll lead these teams into the 2021 postseason. 

“We have to go one game at a time,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after the conclusion of Thursday’s game against the Yankees. “One game at a time. Take care of tomorrow and we go from there.”

No one could have predicted the vast uncertainty at the tail-end of the regular season. The saying, “one game at a time,” carries more weight now than it has thus far in 2021. After 2020, we shouldn’t be surprised at the curveballs we come across, whether it’s in life or the game of baseball. For the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mariners, 2021 has been a season that would thrust them into adversity.

What is winning, if not adversity persevering?

Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees know what they have to do to clinch a postseason berth, but their goal goes beyond obtaining a berth, “We still have a lot of work to do. Job’s not finished, we have to keep going. There’s some big games, even if we clinch … we want that home-field advantage.”

All four teams will encounter that moment of solace right before the first pitch is thrown. As the sun sinks beneath the horizon and night falls, the warmth of the stadium lights is felt and a deafening bellow is heard from the stands, we know that October baseball is here.

If the next three games are a glimpse of what is yet to come, I have three words for you:

Bring it on.

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