By Sam McPherson
Every MLB team’s primary goal is to make the playoffs, and last week in Major League Baseball, three teams punched tickets to October. Let’s take a look and see how they did it.
Cleveland wins 22 games in a row to set new record, and then clinches division
It was quite the consecutive-victory celebration on Thursday night when the Indians won their 22nd straight game to set a modern-day record. Cleveland trailed in the ninth inning at home to the Kansas City Royals before rallying to win in the tenth inning.
On Friday night, however, the Royals beat the Indians, 4-3, to end the streak. Yet the next day, Cleveland recovered quickly to win, 8-4, and clinch the American League Central for the second straight season. The last time the club won its division two years in a row was in 1999.
Dodgers end losing streak in San Francisco, clinch playoff spot as well
For the Los Angeles organization, it was a strange turn of events, losing so many games after spending the summer barely losing any at all. However, all is right for the Dodgers now after they beat the San Francisco Giants, 5-3, at AT&T Park last Tuesday.
L.A. went on to take both the road series in San Francisco and a road series in Washington over the weekend, proving that the team was, indeed, okay and ready to take on the challenge of October baseball.
Speaking of the Nationals, they clinched the National League East last week
The NL East is a bad division, but the Nats have been the cream of the crop nonetheless. In fact, Washington started all the clinching madness last week with a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
This is the second season in a row and the fourth time in six years that the Nationals have won their division. However, the club has yet to even reach the NL Championship Series in that span. Could this be the year for Washington to win it all? Time will tell.
The Astros join the October party themselves with first division title since 2001
Houston has a few things to celebrate in the sports world, even as the city recovers from Hurricane Harvey. The NFL’s Texans won on Thursday Night Football, and the Astros qualified for the postseason on Sunday with a 7-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners that clinched the team’s first-ever AL West pennant.
Newly acquired starting pitcher Justin Verlander struck out 10 batters in the win, as Houston made the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The Astros had qualified as a wild-card team in 2004, 2005 and 2015 since last winning a division title (when they were in the NL Central, no less).
Tigers pitcher Matt Boyd almost throws a no-hit game on Sunday
Detroit may miss Verlander, but Boyd did a good imitation of the former Tigers ace on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox. The Detroit pitcher entered the ninth inning with a no-hit game intact, and then he got the first two outs of the inning.
Chicago’s Tim Anderson broke up the no-no with a clean double to the wall in right center field, but Tigers fans had to wonder what might have happened if Nicholas Castellanos—the Detroit third baseman, regularly—hadn’t been filling in defensively out there after the team traded away both J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton earlier this season.