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A D-backs’ fan guide to the post-season

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The playoffs begin today. Let’s look at the ten remaining teams.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a quick guide to the ten teams that made it into the 2021 post-season. For each, you’ll get some background info, including their World Series odds (courtesy of BetOnline) any former Diamondbacks who appeared for them this year (note: they may or may not be on the post-season roster, or even still with the club), and a few quick thoughts as to their overall likeability.

Astros

  • Record: 95-67
  • Odds: 11-2
  • Former D-backs: Zack Greinke

Have we forgiven the Astros for the whole garbage can thing? I imagine probably not, as long as there are players on the roster who benefited from it. See: Braun and the Brewers. However, I feel they do get points for the presence of Greinke, even if his last season before free-agency wasn’t particularly awesome.

Braves

  • Record: 88-73
  • Odds: 12-1
  • Former D-backs: Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte, Steven Vogt, Jeff Mathis, Touki Toussaint

Atlanta won their fourth division in a row, the first time they’ve done that since the glory days of Andruw Jones and Bobby Cox. But they have not been to the World Series this millennium, their last appearance being in 1999. When potential playoff starters Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa were aged... one.

Brewers

  • Record: 95-67
  • Odds: 15-2
  • Former D-backs: Eduardo Escobar, Zack Godley, Brad Boxberger

Of course, the most-loved former D-back occupies the managerial chair, in Craig Counsell. Escobar joined them at the trade deadline, and they’re a lot more likable now that Ryan Braun has officially retired. Kinda stealthed their way to a spot where only three teams in the majors had a better record.

Cardinals

  • Record: 90-72
  • Odds: 16-1
  • Former D-backs: T.J. McFarland. Vaguely recall there was someone else, but I can’t remember who. Sure Keegan will be along to remind me, any moment... :)

On September 7, the Cardinals were 69-68 and had the eighth-best record in the National League. They finished 21-4, including seventeen straight wins, the longest run in the NL since 1937. But as the odds above indicate, everyone starts the playoffs at 0-0, and a road-game in Los Angeles is not an easy way to start, regardless of hotness.

Dodgers

  • Record: 106-56
  • Odds: 15/4
  • Former D-backs: A.J. Pollock, Steven Souza, Trevor Bauer, Max Scherzer

Not often that a wild-card team is installed as World Series favorites, but not often that a wild-card team has the best run differential in MLB - 59 runs better than anyone else. A 24-24 record in one-run games ended their division streak. I have my memes hopefully prepared, for when they get eliminated tonight.

Giants

  • Record: 107-65
  • Odds: 21-4
  • Former D-backs: Wilmer Flores, Dominic Leone, James Sherfy

We all kept waiting for the Giants to fall apart after they overtook the Padres in late May. It never happened, a couple of days tied with the Dodgers being as close as it came. They won the regular season series over LA 10-9, so should have no fear of them or anyone. But can they overcome it not being an even year?

Rays

  • Record: 100-62
  • Odds: 13-2
  • Former D-backs: None. Sean Poppen played for them though.

The Rays’ average attendance this year? Despite having the best record in the American League, a mere 9,396. That’s 35% down on the last season fans were allowed in, and they weren’t exactly drawing then. That included a game against the A’s in June, where the official crowd e.g. not butts on seats was just 2,924.

Red Sox

  • Record: 92-70
  • Odds: 16-1
  • Former D-backs: J.D. Martinez

The Red Sox just held on, though they had to come from 5-1 down against the Nationals on Sunday to avoid a play-in game. Still, they now face the Yankees and there won’t be any shortage of motivation for that contest, even if they’ll be without Martinez, who injured his ankle tripping on second-base. We clearly need Designated Runners...

White Sox

  • Record: 93-69
  • Odds: 15-2
  • Former D-backs: Adam Eaton, Jake Lamb, Evan Marshall

And, of course, managed by Tony La Russa to their best record since 2005, cheerfully disproving the pundits who wrote pieces like “Tony La Russa Is Wrong for the White Sox”. 2005 was the last time the White Sox won a playoff series, eventually sweeping the Astros in the World Series. That’s who they play in the ALDS...

Yankees

  • Record: 92-70
  • Odds: 12-1
  • Former D-backs: Tim Locastro

It’s quite surprising to realize the Yankees have won their division just once since 2012. They have, however, managed five wild-card appearances in that time. This was their twenty-fifth consecutive season with a winning record. Yeah, the Empire may not be quite as evil as it was, but I hope the entitled Yankees fans are sent home quickly.