MLB playoffs start Oct. 4
Fred Jeter | 10/4/2018, 6 a.m.
After a grinding seven-month regular season, Major League Baseball is starting all over this week with playoffs leading to the World Series.
There are story lines aplenty.
After going nearly seven decades without a World Series, will the Houston Astros — founded in 1962 — win the October classic for the second year running?
Will the long overdue Cleveland Indians win its first World Series since 1948?
Will the Boston Red Sox, the best team by far in the regular season, be top dog in the postseason, too?
Can the Atlanta Braves, improved from 72-90 in 2017 to 92-70 this season, keep it up?
Is it “Miller Time” finally for the Miller Park-based Milwaukee Brewers who are looking for their first World Series crown?
Housed near Hollywood, the Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since “Rain Man” was a box office hit in 1988.
(Best of five)
(Televised on TBS)
• Wild Card (N.Y. Yankees/Oakland) winner at Boston, starts Friday, Oct. 5
• Cleveland at Houston, starts Friday, Oct. 5
(Televised on FS1/MLB networks)
• Atlanta at Los Angeles, starts Thursday, Oct. 4
• Wild Card (Chicago Cubs/Colorado) at Milwaukee, starts Thursday, Oct. 4
Boston Red Sox
Manager: Alex Cora, first year, native of Puerto Rico
Record: 108-54, first in AL East
Leading hitter: Mookie Betts, .346
Home run leader: J.D. Martinez, 41
RBI leader: Martinez, 130
Most pitching wins: Rick Porcello, 17
World Series titles: Eight; most recent in 2013
Fun fact: On Dec. 26, 1919, Boston made perhaps the worst transaction in sports history when team owner/theatrical agent Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees to help finance his Broadway play, “No, No Nanette.” Ruth would go on to become one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Manager: Terry Francona, sixth season
Record: 91-71, first in AL Central
Leading hitter: Mike Brantley, .309
Home run leader: Jose Ramirez, 39
RBI leader: Edwin Encarnacion, 107
Most pitching victories: Corey Kluber, 20-7
World Series titles: 1920 and 1948
Fun fact: In 1947, the Cleveland Indians introduced outfielder Larry Doby as the first African-American player in the American League. Doby became a seven-time All-Star and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1978, he served one season as manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Manager: A.J. Hinch, fourth season
Record: 103-59, first in AL West
Leading hitter: Jose Altuve, .315
Home run leader: Alex Bregman, 31
RBI leader: Bregman, 103
Most pitching victories: Justin Verlander, 16-9
World Series titles: 2017
Fun fact: The Houston Astros joined the National League in 1962 as an expansion team, along with the New York Mets. The Franchise originally was called Colt .45s, but the name was changed to the Astros in 1965 when the team moved to the Astrodome, baseball’s first domed stadium.
Manager: Brian Snitker, fourth season
Record: 90-72, first in NL East
Leading hitter: Freddie Freeman, .309
Home run leader: Ronald Acuna Jr., 26