The Stanley Cup playoffs start to heat up while the MLB reaches it’s halfway mark
Sports are back, and that means baseball and hockey are back. Since the NHL restart took place on Aug. 1and the MLB start on July 2, we’ve had a few weeks to see how the two leagues are settling in. Here’s a quick look at where each league is at:
The NHL, unfortunately, had to stop mid-season for COVID and had to come up with a creative way to finish up the regular season and give teams a fair chance at the playoffs. Their solution was a bit confusing at face value but seemed to work well.
Right off the bat, seven teams did not get to come back since they were so far from playoff contention. The top four teams from each conference before the COVID break automatically qualified for the playoffs and played each other in a round-robin to determine rankings. The other 16 teams were paired off to play in a 5-game series with the winner joining the run for the Stanley Cup.
There were only a couple of upsets in the first round. In the Eastern conference, the no. 6 New York Islanders beat the no. 3 Washington Capitols. In the West the no. 5 Vancouver Canucks beat the no. 4 St. Louis Blues.
The second round started this past weekend. As of Tuesday morning, the top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers beat the no. 6 New York Islanders 4-0 in the first game of the series.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lighting lost 2-3 in their first game against the Boston Bruins. In the West, the no. 1 Las Vegas Golden Knights crushed the no. 6 Vancouver Canucks 5-0. Lastly, the no. 3 Dallas Stars and the no. 2 Colorado Avalanche have played two games with the Stars winning both.
The MLB didn’t get cut-off mid-season, so there was no need to take into account pre-COVID records. Instead, the MLB had to opt for a much shorter 60 game season.
The MLB is right about the halfway point, so we’re starting to get an idea of who will and won’t have a shot at the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are cruising with a 22-8 record. The same cannot be said by the team they share a city with. The Angels continue to waste Mike Trout’s career, and currently sit at 9-2.
However, moving up or down the coast of California will bring you to other teams making a name for themselves. The San Diego Padres are 2nd in the NL West behind the Dodgers with breakout star Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis is currently leading the home run race with 12 (as well as defying some of baseball’s unwritten rules).
Up the coast in Oakland, the Athletics are leading the AL West over the Houston Astros, last year’s World Series runner-ups.
Moving out of California, the local favorite Minnesota Twins are leading the AL Central 2.5 games over both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees have a razor-thin lead for the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The young Braves squad lead the Marlins (are they actually good?) but by just a game and a half in the NL East.
Several teams have experienced COVID delays, some minor some major. However, the season has continued to chug along and is expected to continue until September 27. After that, fans will get to see another unique postseason with an expanded 16-playoff.