MLB postseason: Ranking all 25 possible 2021 World Series matchups, from Yankees-Dodgers to Cardinals-Rays

The 2021 common season is full and the postseason is ready to start Tuesday evening with the AL Wild Card Game. The NL Wild Card Sport follows Wednesday, then the ALDS and NLDS start Thursday and Friday, respectively. The lengthy marathon is over and the dash to the end is about to start.

Right here is the 2021 MLB postseason bracket:

The Dodgers need to turn into baseball’s first repeat World Collection winner because the Yankees received three consecutive championships from 1998-2000. We’re in an unprecedented period of parity in baseball.

5 postseason groups per league means there are 25 doable World Collection matchups and we’re right here to rank all of them. What are we rating the matchups on, precisely? Crew high quality, historic rivalries, geographic rivalries, stuff like that. The rankings are extremely subjective, however be at liberty to inform us we’re flawed anyway.

After consulting with the opposite CBS Sports activities MLB scribes, I current to you our 100% correct doable World Collection matchup rankings for 2021. Include me, will not you?

Good, however not nice

Let me begin by saying there is no such thing as a such factor as a foul World Collection matchup. All 10 postseason groups are nice and enjoyable to observe. It is simply that some are extra enjoyable to observe than others. The underside of our rankings: 

25. Cardinals vs. Rays
24. Braves vs. Rays
23. Braves vs. White Sox
22. Astros vs. Cardinals
21. Braves vs. Crimson Sox
20. Astros vs. Braves

There’s some historical past right here — the Braves and Crimson Sox as soon as shared a metropolis, and you’ll have heard in regards to the Astros-Cardinals hacking scandal — however truthfully not a lot. Final yr’s ALCS watered down the “Charlie Morton vs. the Astros” storyline. I believe I’m underrating a doable Braves vs. Rays sequence, although these matchups are usually quick on big-name star energy, particularly with Ronald Acuña Jr. and Justin Verlander injured. Good groups and good matchups, all of ’em, however I reckon most would really feel underwhelmed with these World Collection.  

Could possibly be worse

This tier has somewhat of every part. Huge markets vs. small markets, powerhouse contenders vs. up-and-comers, and younger stars vs. massive title veterans.  

19. Brewers vs. Crimson Sox
18. Braves vs. Yankees
17. Brewers vs. Yankees
16. Giants vs. White Sox
15. Astros vs. Giants

Brewers vs. Yankees is the final word small market vs. massive market World Collection matchup this yr. Just about everybody exterior New York can be pulling for Milwaukee in that one. The Yankees and Braves have some recent-ish World Collection historical past (1996 and 1999), the Giants and White Sox some not-so-recent World Collection historical past (1917), in any other case this tier is somewhat quick on massive head-to-head storylines. MLB and the tv networks love these. Possibly Jackie Bradley Jr. returning to Boston does the trick?

These will do

Now we’re beginning to get into the World Collection matchups that will excite all baseball followers, not simply the diehards or the locals. Let’s start the march towards the highest of our rankings.

14. Cardinals vs. Crimson Sox
13. Cardinals vs. Yankees

The Cardinals and Crimson Sox have met within the World Collection 4 occasions (1946, 1967, 2004, 2013) whereas the Cardinals and Yankees have met within the World Collection 5 occasions (1926, 1928, 1942, 1943, 1964). There’s numerous historical past right here, although most of it’s historical. I’ve to confess, understanding Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright are returning in 2022 takes somewhat spark out of a Cardinals vs. Crimson Sox World Collection. The “Molina and Wainwright get revenge for 2013, then journey off into the sundown” storyline would have been juicy. The race is not shut, although Yankees vs. Cardinals would symbolize essentially the most World Collection title vs. the second-most World Collection titles (27 to 11).

12. Astros vs. Brewers

A lot of intrigue right here. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns lower his tooth as Jeff Luhnow’s assistant common supervisor in Houston earlier than becoming a member of Milwaukee, after which after all there’s Josh Hader. Hader went from the Astros to the Brewers as a prospect within the massive Carlos Gómez/Mike Fiers commerce in 2015. That deal did not work out so nice for Houston. Think about if had Hader roaming of their bullpen the previous couple of years, notably in 2019? Milwaukee’s powerhouse pitching workers in opposition to the best scoring offense in baseball can be an unbelievable matchup.

11. Brewers vs. White Sox

The closest we are able to get to an all-Chicago sequence. I reckon each fan bases would journey nicely, giving us “dwelling video games on the highway” vibes all through the sequence. The 2 pitching staffs are wonderful, although Chicago undoubtedly has the sting offensively, no less than on paper. These two groups are many issues and boring just isn’t one in all them. Give me Tim Anderson and Willy Adames, José Abreu and Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Eloy Jiménez, and so forth.

10. Giants vs. Crimson Sox

A lifetime in the past the Crimson Sox beat the (New York) Giants within the 1912 World Collection, and these two groups have managed to keep away from one another in October ever since. The roster building could be very completely different right here. San Francisco is the epitome of depth, with a number of true stars and good gamers 1-26 on the roster. Boston is a little more high heavy with a number of bona fide star-caliber producers, although the underside of the roster generally is a weak point. The Giants and Crimson Sox have mixed to win seven of the final 17 World Collection, so fatigue is a chance right here. 

9. Giants vs. Yankees

That is the second-most widespread matchup in World Collection historical past, with the Yankees profitable 5 occasions (1923, 1936, 1937, 1951, 1962) and the Giants profitable twice (1921, 1922). I admire the 2009 Yankees vibes the 2021 Giants give off. The 2009 Yankees had an getting older championship core (Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and so forth.) and had been attempting to get them another title. The 2021 Giants have an getting older championship core (Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and so forth.) and are attempting to get them another title. You possibly can do so much worse than Crawford, Posey, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, et al on the identical area within the World Collection. Free storyline for the tv networks: Crawford and Gerrit Cole are brothers in legislation (Cole is married to Crawford’s sister).

8. Giants vs. Rays

The Rays vs. the West Coast Rays. I would say the Giants are nearer to the West Coast Rays than the Dodgers at this level as a result of the Dodgers have achieved some severe famous person searching the previous couple of years (Mookie Betts, Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and so forth.), and that is simply not a factor the Rays do or the Giants have achieved, no less than not till buying and selling for Kris Bryant. Do not ask me why, however LaMonte Wade Jr. seems like somebody who must be on the Rays and Drew Rasmussen seems like somebody who must be on the Giants. The most effective workforce in every league all the time makes for a superb World Collection matchup, proper?

7. Dodgers vs. White Sox

These two groups have met within the World Collection as soon as earlier than (1959), so there’s not a lot historical past, however have a look at the 2 rosters. With all due respect to the fellows the Brewers are going to run on the market, that is nearly actually the perfect potential pitching sequence. Contemplate the chances:

Clayton Kershaw’s damage takes a chew out of Sport 4, and Rodón’s late-season damage makes him one thing of a query mark, in any other case these are some actually nice pitching matchups. Signal me up for Mookie Betts and Trea Turner sharing a area with Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, and the 2 groups combining for 4 All-Star closers (Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen).

6. Cardinals vs. White Sox

The Tony La Russa bowl. La Russa left the Cardinals on good phrases (actually on the heels of a World Collection title), so there isn’t any unhealthy blood or animosity, but it surely positive is a juicy matchup. The Cardinals have a roster of grizzled veterans and a supervisor who continues to be comparatively new (Mike Shildt). The White Sox are the other. The roster is younger and a bit inexperienced, particularly within the postseason, but their supervisor has seen all of it. Enjoyable groups, although I am unable to put this matchup any increased as a result of you recognize we’ll get beat over the top with the La Russa storyline, and it will get previous quick.

5. Brewers vs. Rays

The final word baseball nerd matchup. Two excellent, very thrilling groups that attached for a big commerce earlier this yr (Willy Adames for JP Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen), creating added intrigue. There’s additionally been a ton of front-office overlap right here (a number of executives have labored for each Milwaukee and Tampa), although most followers do not care about that. On the sector, this may be a riveting sequence between younger golf equipment loaded with pitching. MLB would nearly actually hate it as a result of let’s be actual, the Brewers and Rays aren’t massive scores drivers, however the followers who do watch might be completely satisfied they did. 

It have to be famous that is the one doable 2021 World Collection matchup between two franchises which have by no means received a World Collection. Certainly one of these two groups would stroll away with their first ever championship.

Revenge sequence

There’s a probability, possibly even a superb one, we’ll get a World Collection matchup this yr that may be a rematch of a latest World Collection. Each pennant winner of the final 4 years reached the postseason besides one (sorry, Nationals), creating loads of rematch alternatives. And in these circumstances, the rematches include added intrigue.

4. Dodgers vs. Rays

The Rays vs. the Rays with cash. The Rays with cash received final season, and each groups are even higher this season. This yr Max Scherzer and Trea Turner have joined Mookie Betts and Walker Buehler, whereas Wander Franco and Nelson Cruz have joined Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe. It is too unhealthy Clayton Kershaw is damage and Blake Snell has been traded although. They might have added one other enjoyable storyline. Anytime you get a repeat World Collection matchup, fan apathy is a chance, although I feel the Dodgers and Rays will curiosity sufficient people. Who does not love a David vs. Goliath story?

3. Dodgers vs. Crimson Sox
2. Dodgers vs. Astros

The final word revenge sequence. The Dodgers misplaced the 2017 World Collection to the Astros and the 2018 World Collection to the Crimson Sox, and some years later the 2017 Astros and 2018 Crimson Sox had been confirmed to be cheaters by MLB. The 2 golf equipment had been discovered to have used electronics illegally to steal indicators throughout their championship seasons, and though MLB’s investigation discovered no proof they cheated in the course of the postseason, good luck convincing the Dodgers that was the case. Mookie Betts vs. the Crimson Sox can be a enjoyable story too, although the sign-stealing scandals are going to dominate the headlines. These are our greatest possibilities at a World Collection the place one workforce legitimately hates the opposite (notably Astros vs. Dodgers), and so long as it does not spill over into beanballs or benches-clearing brawls, unhealthy blood just isn’t a foul factor.

MLB’s dream matchup

Give the oldsters within the commissioner’s workplace and on the tv networks a reality serum, and I am sure they might let you know that is the matchup they need to see. There can solely be one alternative for the No. 1 slot.

1. Dodgers vs. Yankees

What, did you anticipate one thing else? With all due respect to the Astros and Giants and each different 2021 postseason workforce, the Yankees and Dodgers are baseball’s two glamour franchises. They’re within the sport’s largest markets and the Dodgers have a deep and devoted fan base in New York due to their Brooklyn days. The Yankees? Their followers are in every single place.

Eleven occasions the Yankees and Dodgers have met within the World Collection, far and away essentially the most World Collection matchups between any two groups in baseball historical past. A rivalry recap:

  • 1941 World Collection: Yankees win 4-1
  • 1947 World Collection: Yankees win 4-3
  • 1949 World Collection: Yankees win 4-1
  • 1952 World Collection: Yankees win 4-3
  • 1953 World Collection: Yankees win 4-1 (at 25, Vin Scully turns into youngest World Collection broadcaster ever)
  • 1955 World Collection: Dodgers in 4-3 (Jackie Robinson steals dwelling in Sport 1)
  • 1956 World Collection: Yankees win 4-3 (Don Larsen throws an ideal sport in Sport 5)
  • 1963 World Collection: Dodgers win 4-0
  • 1977 World Collection: Yankees win 4-2 (Reggie Jackson hits three homers in Sport 6)
  • 1978 World Collection: Yankees win 4-2
  • 1981 World Collection: Dodgers in 4-2

Think about Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer in a matchup of aces of their prime (onerous to argue Scherzer is not nonetheless in his prime, no?). Aaron Decide and Mookie Betts doing wonderful issues regardless of very completely different statures. Giancarlo Stanton’s exit velocity vs. Trea Turner’s dash velocity. On and on it goes. One other Yankees vs. Dodgers matchup within the World Collection would have all of it. Nice groups, nice gamers, historic significance, rabid fan bases, and brilliant lights.

I do know many — many — baseball followers on the market are sick of listening to in regards to the big-market goliaths every year. Consider me, I do know, however we had a preview of this sequence again in August 2019 (the Yankees received two of three in Los Angeles), and the ambiance was electrical. The Yankees and Dodgers are the perfect World Collection matchup baseball has to supply this yr. | MLB postseason: Rating all 25 doable 2021 World Collection matchups, from Yankees-Dodgers to Cardinals-Rays


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