Now that we know – finally – the four teams that made it to the League Championship Series, we know something even more important: who will be in the World Series? There are now only four possible matchups for the Classic case:
Sure, Astros-Dodgers would have had a lot of spice, and all the fancy media people wanted Dodgers-Yankees or Mets-Yankees, and Mariners-Padres would have been amazing. But these four also have all sorts of excitements in them.
So you know what we have to do here, right? We have to classify them!
1. Padres Astros
Indeed, this would not be the first time these clubs have met in the playoffs. The last time San Diego made it to the World Series it had to go through Houston in the 1998 National League Division Series. The Padres won that series in four games and did what they thought was impossible: they beat Randy Johnson twice. Not that they shook him around or anything: He gave up just three runs in 14 innings. But that was enough for San Diego, led, of all people, by Jim Leyritz, who had four home runs in the series. (The Padres also had 1996 NL MVP Ken Caminiti, whom they acquired from the Astros four years earlier).
This would be a consistently fun series that would surely have most of the country cheering for the Padres. The Astros probably won’t be keen on seeing Juan Soto back in the World Series: He had three homers against them (in the week he turned 20, no less) for the Nationals in the Fall Classic 2019.
2. Phillies Yankees
Here’s your East Coast Bias series: Many people with notebooks in their pockets will enjoy an entire series to travel on the Northeast Corridor Amtrak train. This, of course, is a rehash of the 2009 World Series, the last the Yanks won and, for what it’s worth, the last time a team (the Phils) has had a chance of a repeat in the World Series started. (It would also be a rematch of the 1950 World Series, but it’s okay if you don’t remember it).
3. Phillies Astros
Anyone remember where Philadelphia snagged their first postseason spot since 2011 in October? That’s right, in Houston, at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros even put a congratulatory message on the jumbotron. One suspects they won’t be as inviting in a World Series matchup. Like the Padres, the Phillies have played the Astros in a postseason series before when Houston was in the National League: they met in the 1980 NLCS, which Philly won in five games en route to a World Series win .
This was a notoriously fantastic series that not only went the distance but included four extra innings games. That included Game 5, one that the Astros led 5-2 before the Phillies scored five in the eighth inning, only for Houston to score two more in the bottom half to even it out. A Garry Maddox double at the top of 10th finally sent the Phils into the series. The least these teams could do is wear their ’80s jerseys at least once in this World Series.
4. Padres Yankees
San Diego has reached the World Series twice, both against historically great sides: the 1984 Tigers and the 1998 Yankees. Padres fans probably won’t have great memories when they see pinstripes considering 1998 was swept. This would be the most travel-weary series of all, with only a day’s travel time from the Bronx to Southern California. There aren’t many players on either roster who played for both teams, but there is one stealth player: Anthony Rizzo, who hit .141 in 49 games in 2011 before being traded to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner. (He would make a name for himself in Chicago).