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2023 League Championship Series Preview

One state will host the entire ALCS, while the NLCS features a pair of Wild Cards

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 6 months ago 3 min read
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I always love that final round before the championship in sports. In the NBA and NHL, it's the Conference Finals. In the NFL, it's the Conference Championship. In Major League Baseball, it's the League Championship Series that has served as that penultimate semifinal round since 1969. It was during that year that the wave of expansion and relocation during that decade resulted in the American and National Leagues being split into two divisions: East and West. For 66 seasons, the pennant was decided via the league standings, but with two divisions in each league, the East and West winners faced each other in the League Championship Series, MLB's first official playoff round.

The League Championship Series, or LCS for short, was played under a best-of-five format during the first 16 seasons of the round's existence (1969-1984). In 1985, the LCS was extended to a best-of-seven format, which is still in use today. This year is the 54th edition of the LCS, and it's a doozy. The five winningest teams this season--Braves, Orioles, Dodgers, Rays, and Brewers--all got eliminated at some point in this year's playoffs. Three of the remaining teams have 90 wins each, while the fourth has 84. Absolutely amazing! The matchups are as follows:

American League Championship Series

The Rangers and Astros finished tied atop the AL West

We have a Lone Star battle in the Junior Circuit! The Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros will face off in their first ever postseason meeting, and it's for the American League pennant! This will be a good one, as these two teams have been the top two squads in the American League West, even finishing with identical 90-72 records. The tiebreaker ended up going to Houston, and they were crowned division champions on that final day after they won their Game 162 following Texas' shutout loss.

As a result, the Rangers had to go that extra step and play in the Wild Card Series, but that would lead to the Rangers sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays, and later sweeping the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS--going 5-0 in the postseason against two teams who won a combined 200 games this season. The Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins in a four-game ALDS, to reach the ALCS for the seventh straight season. For the Rangers, this is their third overall ALCS appearance, and their first since their back-to-back pennants in 2010 and 2011.

National League Championship Series

The Phillies and Diamondbacks are in their first postseason meeting

The ALCS made history with two teams from one state, while this year's NLCS is the second straight to pit Wild Cards against each other. The Philadelphia Phillies, in the words of Hall of Famer Adam "Edge" Copeland, have grit. They proved it last year when they, a #6 seed, mowed their way to a National League pennant. That season brought expectations, and from the looks of it, the Phillies have lived up to them. After taking care of the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card Series, they--again--dismantled the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS to reach this pivotal point.

As for the Arizona Diamondbacks, they are the ultimate Wild Card. Nobody had them in the postseason, and most people had them in the near bottom of the National League West. Yet, the Diamondbacks exceeded expectations and made it, and they are also unbeaten in this year's postseason; sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers and even the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies are making their 11th overall NLCS appearance, having won six of their previous ten appearances. For the Diamondbacks, this is their third NLCS appearance, and their first since 2007, with their only pennant coming during their championship season in 2001. This is the first postseason meeting between the two clubs.

It takes four wins to capture the pennant and reach the World Series, been that way since 1985. Regarding TV coverage, the ALCS will air on FOX and FS1, with Games One, Two, and a possible Seven airing on FOX, while Games 3-6 airing on FS1. The NLCS will air, in its entirety, on TBS. It's the last leg before the Fall Classic, and it's pretty wide open this year. It's going to be an amazing Final Four!

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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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