September 30th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Predictable playoffs to follow regular season drama?

Despite the Rays' heroics on the regular season's final day, the playoffs could still prove a predictable affair.
Despite the Rays' heroics on the regular season's final day, the playoffs could still prove a predictable affair.

After watching what was arguably the most exciting day in Major League Baseball history on Wednesday, one may come to expect more of the same drama in the upcoming playoffs. Sadly, that won’t be the case.

On the final day of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals completed their remarkable September comebacks to claim baseball’s final two playoff spots at the expense of the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves respectively. Or you can also say the Red Sox and Braves completed their epic collapses, it really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that Wednesday showed to all sports fans what the competitive spirit is all about. It showed that the never-say-die attitude the Rays and Cardinals displayed can actually get you somewhere. In their case, it got them to the postseason, where they’ll look to maintain their momentum against stiffer competition.

But no matter how much of a feel-good story both teams produced, it doesn’t change the fact that the World Series will be contested by the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.

Both teams have been their league’s standard-bearers practically all season. The Phillies won a team-record 102 games, while the Yankees reached the playoffs for the 16th time in the last 17 years.

The Phillies feature baseball’s best pitching staff while the Yankees scored the second-most runs behind only the vacation-bound Red Sox. It’s really a no-brainer to assume the two teams will reach the World Series.

After all, both teams have won the championship within the last three years. The Yankees beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series to deny Philadelphia a second-straight title.

So get ready for another New York v Philadelphia showdown in the Fall Classic. The Cardinals and Rays’ comebacks gave the casual sports fan reason to expect the unexpected.

I say expect the expected.

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Filed under:  Baseball
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. MikeB

    Nobody expected the Florida Marlins to win the wild card slot in 2003. The Yankees were even more surprised when they were beaten in the World Series in 6 games by the Marlins. Sweet! The unexpected is what makes baseball such a great sport.

    September 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  2. robbie

    Its not just about the numbers...Its about heart, and desire, and hotness 🙂 The cardinals and rays are hot, they easily can win 3 games. The cardinals have one of the best offenses in the league, why does everyone forget this?? It will not be Philly vs New York, people just say that because those teams are on the east coast, so they get love...The rest of the country gets no respect...

    September 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  3. Phil

    Yep, Yankees will beat the Tigers just like they did in 2006 when the Tigers were the Wild Card–oops they didn't then and it's not automatic now

    September 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  4. Mr. Humphus

    Oh, ya wise guy? Who was it that spanked the Yankees last year? Ranger fans are not scared of that over paid New York team!

    September 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  5. fuzzynormal

    Yeah, everything happens on the east coast in baseball so those teams going all the way is a foregone conclusion, right? I mean, those are the teams you pay attention to so they must be the best, of course.

    September 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  6. David Herb

    We Oriole fans may not have a team in the playoffs but what a way to end the season! If we pick up Prince Fielder and our pitching can come around, look out.

    September 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Reply
  7. terry

    The Cardinals and Rays are going to give them a run for their money. IWatch out sports fans, expect the unexpected!

    September 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  8. Not Impressed

    Way to go, CNN. You let somebody who has no clue about how baseball really works write an article about it. I now have to question everything about your organization. I hope it didn't cost you too much to hire this hack, who sounds like he was obviously influenced by east coast media and probably doesn't even watch baseball otherwise.

    Which teams played in the World Series last year? It must have been Philly and NY, so this is simply a rematch right? Oh wait.....The Rangers and the Giants actually beat those juggernauts to advance to the Fall Classic!

    Nice job of writing an absolutely worthless article, and nice job of making a worldwide news organization look stupid, both from the writer's and the organization's sides. No wonder baseball actually has a section dedicated to it on other sites. They actually CARE about it. Hopefully, the next article that appears in "World Sport Blog" is about something with less visibility, like cricket, then maybe you won't loke like complete fools.

    September 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
  9. Disappointed.

    This is probably the most absurd sports article I have read on CNN to date.

    Knowing the ups and downs and all of the craziness of baseball, any person with half a brain would not say "expect the expected" during October baseball. Two of the teams in the playoffs (Tigers and Rays) have played the Yankees during the 2011 regular season with at least a .500 record against the club, and I believe the Phillies have a losing record to only two teams this year, the Cardinals being one of them.

    I am not saying the World Series won't end up a clash between PHI and NY, but I'm definitely saying if you knew anything about baseball and the way things go in October, you would not be so ignorant as to blow the playoffs off in so few, poorly thrown together words. For the sake of the other six talented teams that you have disrespected and dismissed by making such a brazen prediction, I hope NY and PHI are both upset this year.

    October 2, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  10. GA

    Still expecting the expected???

    October 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  11. Bastian Bux

    I'm sure by now you're reading this and thinking "man I'm glad few actually read my articles, because the Yankees were eliminated yesterday and no one has called me out on it yet".

    In all likelihood, most read your absurd article and cast it off as being hardly worthy of a rebuttal, which is impressive considering this is CNN, home to ignorant board posts.

    In light of the recent events, I just wanted to be the first to tell you "start actually writing instead of blogging garbage"

    You critique the MLB playoffs like a hipster would the Billboard top 25. Are you actually a baseball fan or just some lonely soccer fan looking to exact your revenge on the sport that so callously rejected you at an early age?

    I'd have guessed by your initial assessment that you are indeed a professional gambler by your matter-of-fact prediction. It's now clear to me you just coughed this crap up to meet a deadline and then shot yourself in the foot by being completely wrong.

    Yankees lost and the Phillies are in the deciding game? This can't be!? We aren't even out of the divisional playoffs yet either, no way!

    The MLB playoffs are an adventure every season. It often doesn't pan out like most would expect. Good job to you though. You attempted to rain on the playoffs and failed gloriously.

    Do some research next time and for God's sake learn how to really write. Paint me a pretty picture. Good day sir

    October 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  12. Not Impressed

    Well, the epic fail of this blogger is complete. Apparently the "no-brainer" conclusion proved that the blog writer indeed has no brain. The Yankees and Phillies couldn't even make it out of the first round, wow.....but wait!

    If we should not have expected any drama, then the abject failure of these two "standard bearers" of the league should come as no surprise to anyone, right? RIGHT?

    Well, one thing's for sure. The person who wrote this ridiculous article should suffer the same fate as the Phils and the Yanks: Being sent home because he's not good enough to make the cut!

    October 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Reply

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