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2023 Division Series Preview

Previewing the 2023 American and National League Division Series

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 7 months ago 6 min read

It took only two of the three days of the Wild Card Series for this year's Division Series matchups to be set, as all four Wild Card Series ended in sweeps. This is the 29th edition of the League Division Series (LDS), not counting the occurrence that took place in 1981 due to a brief work stoppage. When the LDS was created in 1994, the original matchups pitted the best division winner against the league's lone Wild Card (unless they were in the same division), while the other two division winners faced each other. The LDS officially debuted in 1995 (a strike canceled the rest of the season and postseason in 1994), and stood as the opening round of the postseason until the Wild Card Game was introduced in 2012.

The Division Series has served as the second round since 2012, following the Wild Card round, and has been played under a best-of-five format ever since the round was introduced. The winners face off for the pennant, and this year, we have some amazing matchups taking place. They are as follows:

Orioles vs Rangers

The Orioles and Rangers met in the first ever AL Wild Card Game in 2012

The regular season did not end as planned for the Texas Rangers. The final day saw them one win away from clinching the American League West, but they lost Game 162, and the Houston Astros won their finale to take the division. As a result, the Rangers had to participate in the Wild Card Series, but they easily made mincemeat of the Tampa Bay Rays, not only sweeping the series, but holding them to just one run. This was their first postseason series win since the 2011 ALCS, and as a result, they will face off against the top-seeded Baltimore Orioles.

What a turnaround for the Orioles. The O's had a few postseasons during the 2010s, but after their Wild Card loss in 2016, they fell off...big time. Out of the five seasons that followed, the Orioles had 100+ losses in three of them; a lot of blame was directed towards the huge Chris Davis contract. This included the 2021 season, just two years ago, that saw them lose 110 games. 2022 saw them turn it around; they missed the postseason, but they finished with a winning record. This year was a double down. 101 wins. Almost double their win total from only two years ago. Time will tell if this turnaround has some staying power, but even as a fan of a division rival, I'm very happy for this O's team.

This is the second postseason meeting between the Orioles and Rangers. Their only other encounter was a historic one; they faced off in the first ever American League Wild Card Game, which the Orioles won.

Astros vs Twins

The Astros and Twins have never met in the postseason

Reunited, but will it feel so good for Carlos Correa?

I do expect that to be talked about quite a bit. Carlos Correa was part of the Houston Astros' runs, and yes, he was part of that core cheating group from 2017. I'm still surprised he's not an Astro anymore. I still remember there was interest from the New York Yankees. I would think that Yankee fans would have moved on from 2017 had we signed Correa, as long as he produced. Correa ended up with the Minnesota Twins in 2022, which means, yes, the Astros won their World Series without their longtime shortstop.

Honestly, the Correa storyline is the only interesting thing in this series. I don't really see this going anywhere. While I am long past 2017, I would like to see Houston taken down in this series, but I just can't see it happening. This is the first ever postseason meeting between these two clubs.

Braves vs Phillies

The Phillies upset the Braves in the 2022 NLDS

Oh, this will be good.

We all remember last year's postseason. The Philadelphia Philles ousted the St. Louis Cardinals in an upset, but they would face off against the then-defending champion Atlanta Braves. A lot of us figured that the Braves would be the dead end for the Phils, even after Philly won Game One. The Braves winning Game Two seemed to prove that to be a possible fact, but the Phillies would shock Atlanta in both home games, dethroning the defending champs.

The Braves decided to respond to last year by literally hitting everything in sight. 307 home runs. That number ties a Major League record set by the Minnesota Twins just four years prior. Plus they do have quite the rotation and bullpen as well. Some have said that this year's team is better than the one from two years ago. You know, the one that won the World Series?! However, they are not facing last year's Phillies. Last year's Phillies had a "happy to be there" vibe, and capitalized on it. This year's Phillies have some expectations. This will be the best out of the four series.

Dodgers vs Diamondbacks

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks' last postseason meeting was in the 2017 NLDS

I had mentioned that the 2022 Phillies were in that "happy to be there" mode. That's the exact mode that this year's Arizona Diamondbacks are in. I said this before, with the terrible state that Arizona pro sports are in, it's good to see that the Diamondbacks are playing like they actually give a damn. It's been working so far. They shocked fans and experts by reaching the postseason over a few teams with expectations. They also swept the Milwaukee Brewers with comeback wins in both games. Now they have a big test in front of them--in the form of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers have one job: wash that horrible stench of 2022 off. Despite this current stretch seeing them win a World Series in 2020, the Dodgers have had a few seasons to forget, and that includes 2022. 111 wins, setting a new franchise record, only to completely fizzle against the San Diego Padres. Some blame went to manager Dave Roberts' overconfidence in a radio interview before that season started; you notice this year he kept his head down and said nothing? As usual, the Dodgers are one of the big favorites to win the whole thing, and they really need to do it in this window, because failure to do so will decrease the respect of their 2020 championship.

Since 2007, Fox and TBS have rotated LDS and LCS coverage, with Fox Sports 1 (FS1) getting involved years later. With this year being an odd-numbered year, Fox and FS1 will have the ALDS, while TBS has the NLDS. I do love the Division Series, it's the last stop before things get serious and pennants are on the line. I think this year's LDS will provide some very interesting moments!


About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

Twitter - Facebook - Tiktok - Instagram

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Comments (2)

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  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    Good review. Go Twins, I guess.

  • Alex H Mittelman 7 months ago

    Great work! 😀

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