MLB postseason lineup: Will there be a 'Freeway Series'?

Depending on how the postseason plays out, baseball fans could be gearing up for a World Series spiced with regional rivalries.

Mark J. Terrill/AP
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, in Los Angeles, Sept. 24. The baseball playoffs are not only a second season but a second chance for the likes of Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, Adam Jones of the Orioles and Drew Storen of the Nationals to atone for past playoff flops.

From the East Coast to the West Coast and points in between the Major League Baseball postseason starting on Tuesday provides tantalizing possibilities of a regional rivalry determining the World Series champion.

From a possible "Freeway Series" in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and cross-town rival Angels, to a "Beltway Series" by the nation's capital featuring the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles, local fans dream of a territorial skirmish.

There is also a chance for a "Bay Bridge Series" between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics or an "I-70" clash in the American heartland between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.

Such showdowns could showcase some of baseball's best from the Angels' Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig, and strikeout artist Stephen Strasburg of Washington to Baltimore's home run leader Nelson Cruz.

Those notions, however, are well down the road as three levels of playoffs must be hurdled first, starting with a pair of do-or-die wild card clashes in Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Oakland (88-74) travel to Kansas City (89-73) for the American League's one-game showdown on Tuesday with the Royals celebrating a return to the postseason after a 29-year absence.

The Athletics aim to shake off a late-season swoon in which they nearly squandered a postseason berth after losing 30 of 45 games before joining the tournament with a Sunday win.

Starting for the A's, who have been struggling to score runs, will be Jon Lester (16-11), who will oppose James Shields (14-8) of the Royals, the lowest scoring AL team in the playoffs and dead-last in the league in home runs.

That coupling in itself represents a pair of intertwined franchises, as it was the Kansas City Athletics who moved to Oakland in 1968 with MLB returning to the city one year later with the expansion Royals.

Kansas City won their only World Series in 1985 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a World Series dubbed the "I-70 Showdown" for the 250-mile stretch of highway that separates them.

The AL wild card winner will advance to the best-of-five division series, starting on Thursday, versus the top-seeded Angels (98-64), whose formidable one-two punch of Trout and Pujols helped them lead the majors in runs scored.

AL East champion Baltimore (96-66), who have endured 31 years since their last Fall Classic crown, will open their best-of-five series at home on Thursday versus the Central division-winning Detroit Tigers (90-72) and their vaunted one-two offensive punch ofMiguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

The Tigers hunger for another crack at a World Series after being runner-up to the Giants in 2012 and the Cardinals in 2006.

In the National League, San Francisco (88-74) play the Pittsburgh Pirates (88-74) on Wednesday for the right to advance to the best-of-five Division Series against Washington (96-66).

No strangers to the postseason, the Giants have won a pair of recent World Series, in 2012 and 2010, and are hoping to score another even-year bonanza.

Pittsburgh, led by last year's NL most valuable player Andrew McCutchen, are aiming to go deeper into the playoffs after returning to the postseason for the first time in 21 years last year and falling in the Division Series.

The Pirates may be at disadvantage after striving in vain to wrest the NL Central crown from St. Louis as they used their top starters over the weekend and will go with Edison Volquez (13-7)to oppose Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (18-10).

The NL wild card winner will advance to a best-of-five series starting on Friday in Washington to play the Nationals, who won the East by a whopping 18 games with what could be the best rounded team in the majors featuring a deep rotation that led the league in earned run average (3.03).

St. Louis and ace Adam Wainwright (20-9) will travel to Los Angeles for an expected duel against the Dodgers' reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who was an eye-popping 21-3, leading the majors in wins and ERA with an exceptional 1.77.

The Cardinals-Dodgers series also opens on Friday.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to MLB postseason lineup: Will there be a 'Freeway Series'?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today