Over the past six weeks, I've been predicting every MLB division. We hit them all:
That led us to a projected final standings of:
NY Yankees: 85-77
Tampa Bay: 76-86
Kansas City: 74-88
Chicago White Sox: 68-94
NY Mets: 83-79
Chicago Cubs: 95-67
St. Louis: 87-75
Los Angeles: 95-67
San Francisco: 85-77
San Diego: 62-100
So now we know how it ends up. But all anyone remembers anymore is the postseason. So let's try to project how that would turn out, day-by-day.
October 2, 2017.
The lack of ties makes it nice and easy for everybody. No tiebreaks necessary. Houston gets home-field advantage in the American League Division Series over Boston because it won the season series between the two teams, and the Dodgers get the No. 1 in the National League for the same reason over the Cubs, but otherwise, we're all clear.
October 3, 2017
It's the American League Wild Card Game, with the Yankees traveling all the way across the country to face the Mariners, who have at last broken their 16-year playoff drought, the longest in baseball. (This now leaves the Marlins with the longest postseason-less streak, at 14 years.) We have waited Felix Hernandez's whole career to get to watch him pitch this game, an elimination playoff game, in front of a wild, can't-believe-they're-finally-back-here crowd at Safeco Field. Felix faces off against trade-deadline acquisition Jose Quintana, and he pulls off an old-school King Felix game, giving up just one run in seven innings. Kyle Seager hits a two-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Mariners all the runs they need; Edwin Diaz strikes out Chris Carter and Seattle is off to the ALDS. Mariners win 2-1.
October 4, 2017
The Rockies were the surprise team of the regular season -- winning Bud Black the NL Manager of the Year Award and inspiring all sorts of Rocktober puns a decade after that last improbable run -- but the magic quickly runs out in the NL Wild Card Game at Busch Stadium against St. Louis. Carlos Martinez is brilliant for the Cardinals, Dexter Fowler scores three runs and Seung-Hwan Oh pitches a non-save situation scoreless ninth as the Rockies' first postseason appearance since 2009 ends with a whimper. Cardinals win 6-2.
October 5, 2017
The two ALDS begin. The early game features the Mariners at the Indians. Corey Kluber shuts out a travel-weary, celebrated-that-WC-win-a-little-too-hard Seattle team in front of a Cleveland crowd that's even louder than the 2016 postseason version. In the other series, Houston never did end up getting that ace starter they were wanting -- the Yankees outbid them for Jose Quintana, so the best they could rustle up was Jeremy Hellickson, who doesn't start until Game 3 -- so Dallas Keuchel doesn't have much of a chance against Chris Sale, whose first postseason start is a five-hit shutout of a terrifying Houston offense. Turns out Sale might be Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner. Indians win 4-0 to take 1-0 ALDS lead. Red Sox win 6-0 to take 1-0 ALDS lead.
October 6, 2017
It's a full slate, four playoff games, which means more complaints about the TBS broadcast. Have they not done a game all year, seriously? (At least there's a bunch of ads for Samantha Bee's show.) The first game of the day is back in Cleveland, where Carlos Carrasco is nearly as dominant as Corey Kluber was, and the Mariners are suddenly in danger of being swept. Houston at least starts to make a series of it in the other ALDS, with David Price struggling yet again in the postseason as the Astros' offense comes alive. Carlos Beltran hits two homers, and it feels like 2004 again.
Over in the NL, the Cubs are on in prime time and are promptly blown away by Max Scherzer, who strikes out 16 and rides a three-run homer from Bryce Harper off Jon Lester to take a 1-0 series lead. In the nightcap, it's Clayton Kershaw time. He has another epic at-bat against Matt Carpenter, but otherwise, it's smooth sailing. Indians win 3-0 to take 2-0 ALDS lead. Astros win 8-3 to even ALDS at 1-1. Nationals win 4-2 to take 1-0 NLDS lead. Dodgers win 6-1 to take 1-0 NLDS lead.
October 7, 2017
The NL teams have the stage to themselves, and the Cubs rebound behind a two-homer game from Kris Bryant to even their NLDS. Rich Hill and Lance Lynn -- essentially opposite pitchers -- battle late, but a clutch eighth-inning hit from Logan Forsythe off Jonathan Broxton gives the Dodgers a commanding lead in their series. The Dodgers lost postseason series to the Cardinals in 2013 and 2014. They're one game away from getting their revenge. Cubs win 8-2 to even NLDS 1-1. Dodgers win 3-2 to take 2-0 NLDS lead.
October 8, 2017
We have our first team to advance to the LCS. Felix Hernandez does his best, but an Edwin Encarnacion two-run homer in the fourth is enough for Danny Salazar, and the Indians move on. And it's pouring down rain in Boston, so this is the only game of the night. Indians win 3-1 to sweep ALDS and move onto ALCS.
October 9, 2017
Rick Porcello is exactly the type of top-tier pitcher the Astros can knock around, and they do, battering him around a still-soggy Fenway Park to put the Red Sox a game away from elimination. Carlos Martinez keeps the Cardinals alive with a dazzling eight-inning, four-hit performance against the Dodgers, and the Cubs' offense batters poor Tanner Roark around to put the Nationals on their heels. Astros win 7-2 to take 2-1 ALDS lead. Cardinals win 3-0 to bring NLDS to 2-1. Cubs win 11-4 to take 2-1 NLDS lead.
October 10, 2017
Cubs win! Cubs win! The W is flown at Nationals Park as the Cubs win their third in a row to move on to the NLCS. They will, once again, meet the Dodgers there, as Dave Roberts' decision to hold off on Clayton Kershaw until a theoretical Game 5 pays off: Justin Turner's bases-clearing triple in the sixth takes the Dodgers to their fifth NL Championship Series in the last decade. And Chris Sale is brilliant again, giving us our lone five-game LDS by vexing the Astros for the second straight time. Cubs win 5-1 to advance to NLDS. Dodgers win 5-2 to advance to NLCS. Red Sox win 4-1 to tie ALDS 2-2.
October 11, 2017
Take a night off. You've earned one.
October 12, 2017
Red Sox fans are dreading David Price in an elimination game, but he puts all those fears and misplaced criticisms to bed with a seven-inning, two-run victory; it's a Xander Bogaerts grand slam in the fifth inning that sends the Red Sox on and once and for all disproves that SI cover. Red Sox win 5-2 to advance to ALCS.
October 13, 2017
The NLCS kicks off at Dodger Stadium with Clayton Kershaw ready to have his Bumgarner moment. It's a perfect night at Chavez Ravine, and Kershaw is at his all-time best, shutting out the powerful Cubs offense. Dodgers win 3-0 to take 1-0 NLCS lead.
October 14, 2017
It's nice to have a defending AL Cy Young Award winner as your third starter, and Rick Porcello matches a maybe-too-rested Corey Kluber strike for strike. The Red Sox scratch out a run off Andrew Miller in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel makes it stand up. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are putting a legit scare in the defending champs, knocking around John Lackey to head back to Wrigley up two games. Red Sox win 2-1 to take 1-0 ALCS lead. Dodgers win 8-6 to take 2-0 NLCS lead.
October 15, 2017
The Indians needed to win that first game, because they've run into Chris Sale again, who is showing how desperately he wanted to get to the postseason: He wins his third playoff game in his third playoff start, and the Indians have just lost their first two games at home. Red Sox win 5-2 to take 2-0 ALCS lead.
October 16, 2017
Jon Lester gets the Cubs back on track at Wrigley Field; turns out the Dodgers still have those troubles against lefthanded pitchers. Cubs win 7-3 to move NLCS to 2-1.
October 17, 2017
Uh-oh, Indians: You're not going to get swept, are you? Released from the pressure of being thought of as a playoff choker, David Price is fantastic in front of a wild Fenway Park crowd, and the Red Sox move within a win of the World Series. Meanwhile, Wrigley carries the Cubs to a series-tying comeback win over the Dodgers, on a two-run walkoff homer from Kyle Schwarber that replaces that homer against the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS as the most iconic homer of his Cubs career. Red Sox win 5-1 to take 3-0 ALCS lead. Cubs win 9-8 to even NLCS.
October 18, 2017
Kershaw does it again, shutting out the Cubs at Wrigley and letting it be known that "I'll be out there there for Game 7 if they need me." And the Red Sox finish the job against Cleveland, saving us all a bunch more Cleveland 3-1 "jokes." Red Sox win 9-5 to win ALCS and move on to the World Series. Dodgers win 4-0 to take 3-2 NLCS lead.
October 19, 2017
These days off are sort of handy. One forgets how much sleep one loses in the postseason.
October 20, 2017
The defending champs aren't going down without a fight. Anthony Rizzo hits a two-run double in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie, and just like that, we have a Game 7. Cubs win 6-4 to even NLCS 3-3.
October 21, 2017
It's a 2-1 Dodgers lead in the sixth inning. Guess who's warming up? It's Kershaw, and he comes in and shuts down the Cubs in order in the sixth and seventh. They wouldn't dare send him out for the eighth, would they? They do. He strikes out the side. Dodger Stadium is going crazy. Obviously it's Kenley Jansen in the ninth, right? Nope: No one would dare take Kershaw out now. He gets the last out, and the Dodgers have their first World Series trip in nearly 30 years. Dodgers win 2-1 to advance to World Series.
October 22, 2017
It's gonna take a while to catch your breath from that one.
October 23, 2017
Two days, actually.
October 24, 2017
Welcome to Fenway Park! The Red Sox have home-field advantage for the World Series because they had a better record than the Dodgers during the regular season, by one game. Sort of nice how that works, doesn't it? It's Chris Sale vs. Rich Hill, and, uh, that is not much of a matchup at all. Sale wins his fourth postseason game and might just be named the MVP of Earth. Red Sox win 4-1 to take 1-0 World Series lead.
October 25, 2017
You know what's also scary about the Dodgers? Julio Urias. He quiets Fenway Park with seven shutout innings just a couple of months after his 21st birthday -- justifying Dave Roberts' much-debated decision not to start Kershaw just three days after his NLCS clincher -- and we head back to Dodger Stadium all knotted up. Dodgers win 5-1 to even World Series 1-1.
October 26, 2017
It's quite a long flight from Boston to Los Angeles. Racking up those frequent flier miles.
October 27, 2017
KERSHAW BACK. Is there any way to set this up to where we get a Sale/Kershaw matchup? Probably too much to ask. Anyway, you don't mess with either one of those guys this postseason. Dodgers win 4-1 to take 2-1 World Series lead.
October 28, 2017
This is where it gets scary for the Red Sox. They don't start Sale on three days' rest, and it blows up in their face: Eduardo Rodriguez isn't ready for the moment, and the Dodgers knock him around. They're one game away. Dodgers win 9-2 to take 3-1 World Series lead.
October 29, 2017
Vin Scully shows up! He throws out the first pitch! The place goes nuts! And then Chris Sale shuts out the Dodgers because jeez, man, enough already. Red Sox win 3-0 to move World Series to 3-2.
October 30, 2017
Back to Boston. Maybe if you get in early enough, you can catch them putting up the 2016-17 NBA Championship banner at TD Garden.
October 31, 2017
Because they have a lead, the Dodgers hold off on Kershaw until he's fully rested for a Game 7. And they'll need him. The Red Sox score four runs early and are never challenged. Game 7 of the World Series at Fenway Park. That seems like it might be fun. Red Sox win 8-3 to force Game Seven of the World Series.
November 1, 2017
It's Kershaw vs. Porcello, which is a matchup of Cy Young Award winners but also not much of a matchup at all. Porcello hangs in, but the Red Sox are down 3-1 when they bring in Sale, just to keep them close. But he's exhausted at this point, giving up a two-run shot over the monster to Justin Turner. Kenley Jansen strikes out Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth, and the Dodgers have their first World Series title since 1988. DODGERS WIN.