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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 ...

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.

DIVISIONAL MATCHUPS

(Best of five)

American League

(Televised on TBS)

• Wild Card (N.Y. Yankees/Oakland) winner at Boston, starts Friday, Oct. 5

• Cleveland at Houston, starts Friday, Oct. 5

National League

(Televised on FS1/MLB networks)

• Atlanta at Los Angeles, starts Thursday, Oct. 4

• Wild Card (Chicago Cubs/Colorado) at Milwaukee, starts Thursday, Oct. 4

       Division champions

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.

Cleveland Indians

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.

Houston Astros

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.  

Atlanta Braves

Manager: Brian Snitker, fourth season

Record: 90-72, first in NL East

Leading hitter: Freddie Freeman, .309

Home run leader: Ronald Acuna Jr., 26