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The Quill

The Quill

2023 MLB Summary


The time is now roughly halfway between the conclusion of last year’s World Series in November and this year’s Opening Day in late March, which makes it a great time to look back on one of the weirder seasons baseball has seen.

Let’s first turn our attention to one of the most competitive divisions in all the MLB: the American League (AL) East. This is the division that includes big-name teams, namely the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. And for many years, it was usually one of the two teams that easily took the top spot in the division.

Recently, that has started to change with teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays putting up remarkable seasons. 2023, however, took things even further. The only AL East team not mentioned yet would be the Baltimore Orioles, and this is because they have consistently been the laughingstock of the division (and to a lesser extent the MLB in general). That has completely turned around in the past few years. In 2023, Baltimore finished in first place in their division with a 101-61 win record, and on top of that, the Yankees spent much of the season competing with the rival Red Sox for last place with New York eventually taking the bottom spot.

Elsewhere in baseball, the deviation from past trends became visible mainly towards the end of the season with the playoff games on the horizon. Several teams made it into the postseason for the first time in several seasons, such as the Minnesota Twins, Miami Marlins, and Arizona Diamondbacks. This was complemented by the absence of some playoff regulars, including not only the Yankees but also the St. Louis Cardinals.

Then the postseason began and it was immediately even more stunning than the regular season. In the Division Series, which comes before the Championship Series and finally the World Series, two teams pulled off upsets against heavily favored opponents. The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 (in a best-out-of-five series), even though the Braves were the best team all season with 14 wins more than the Phillies. On the West Coast, the Arizona Diamondbacks completed a sweep against the Los Angeles Dodgers despite having 16 less wins in the regular season than L.A.

This led to the two teams of 2022’s World Series, the Phillies and Houston Astros, both appearing again in the Championship Series. The Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, however, evidently didn’t want the possibility of a rematch with both winning their respective series to result in the World Series involving neither the Phillies nor the Astros.

Both the D-Backs and the Rangers had gotten to this point with notable trades before the start of the season. Arizona had acquired star pitcher Zac Gallen, while the Rangers went even further and traded for three power hitters. The matchup that followed in the World Series was expectedly intense, although in the end, Texas prevailed with 4-1 against Arizona in a best-of-seven.

The 2023 MLB season was nothing like you might expect based on previous seasons. What’s in store for 2024? We’ll have to see over the next 10 months.

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