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Falcon Quill

The student news site of Fort Worth Country Day

Falcon Quill

The student news site of Fort Worth Country Day

Falcon Quill

MLB Crowns a New Champion

The+Chicago+Cubs+playing+the+Braves+at+Truist+Park+in+September.+Photo+by+Caroline+Carmichael+24.+
The Chicago Cubs playing the Braves at Truist Park in September. Photo by Caroline Carmichael ’24.

Last year, I called the 2022 MLB postseason the one I didn’t enjoy. This year, I call the 2023 postseason another 0ne I didn’t enjoy. (You might be reading this and saying oh but, the Rangers won. While I am happy for the Rangers, I am not particularly a fan. That’s right, this won’t be a Rangers love fest). I’m not gonna lie, I had extremely high hopes. And I mean extremely high. The Braves were the best team in baseball all year and then we pulled off what I would argue is one of the biggest chokes of all time. My absolute least favorite team and our biggest rivals, the Phillies, eliminated us for the second straight year in the exact same way. It was painful, very painful. I’m still trying to move on, but enough with my personal stories, time to go into the details of the season. First thing that I will say is that the regular season was crazy, so the playoffs were obviously even crazier, therefore without further ado, here is a recap of each team’s season.

American League 

East

The New York Yankees finished next to last in the American League East with an overall record of 82-80. If I know anything about this team, it’s that this season was unpredictable for them. Their performance throughout the whole entire season was lacking. And I mean lacking. When they needed to perform, they just did not show up. Let’s just say a team that has this much money should not be watching the playoffs from their couch. 

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The Tampa Bay Rays finished their season 99-63. They did qualify for the playoffs, but the Rays very quickly got eliminated by the Rangers in two games in the American League Wild Card Series. Wander Franco was meant to lead their team, but being in a relationship with a 14-year-old while you’re 22 doesn’t really allow for that to happen, therefore, he had to step down from the team in August. The Rays were having a good season until they lost Shane McClanahan to a forearm injury requiring surgery and Wander Franco to being a child predator, and then they ultimately fell apart. 

The Boston Red Sox struggled this season. They went 78-84 and led the American League in errors with 102. Rafael Devers was probably their best player offensively while Chris Sale was their best pitcher, but they both had an inconsistent up and down season. Going forward they need to develop and improve their roster as whole if they want to compete. 

It seems every year that the Toronto Blue Jays have a good regular season and then they fall apart in the playoffs. The Blue Jays went 89-73, and they got swept by the Twins in two games. In order to win more games next year the Blue Jays need to perform better offensively and hit more homeruns especially since they ranked 16th in the MLB in total home runs. 

I didn’t hold confidence that the Baltimore Orioles would be a strong contender for the playoffs, but they came away with the best record in the American League at 101-61.  The Rangers ended up sweeping the Orioles in the ALDS, crushing their World Series hopes, so this is where the Orioles lack of playoff experience ended up hurting them. The Orioles were a strong yet young team this year, therefore, they will continue to get better. 

 Central 

The Cleveland Guardians struggled this season, as they went 76-86. Their starting pitching faced many issues with injuries which held the team back significantly. The Guardians’ manager Terry Francona retired once the season ended, and they have already hired former Mariners bullpen and quality control coach, Stephen Vogt, as their new manager. I’m curious to see where Vogt can take them next season. 

The Detroit Tigers offense is not fun to watch. They finished third to last in American League hits, batting average, runs, and homeruns. This is the primary reason why they only went 78-84 this season. Going 6 under .500 isn’t the complete worst though. 

This season was a down season for the Chicago White Sox who were one of the worst teams in the MLB. Their only two notable players, Tim Anderson and Dylan Cease, were not consistent and didn’t perform up to expectations all year. The White Sox finished the year 61-101

The Minnesota Twins won the AL Central by 9 games this season; the division had 5 out of 6 teams finish the year with a losing record. I wouldn’t say being the best team in the worst division is particularly special. The Twins finished their regular season 87-75, and they swept the Blue Jays in 2 games in the Wild Card series and went on to lose to the Astros in 4 games of the ALDS. 

The Kansas City Royals performed as one would typically expect them to. They finished the year 56-106; therefore, the Royals had another struggling year. Their shortstop, Bobby Whitt, Jr., is a key piece that they will continue to build their other talent around. 

West

The Houston Astros were the typical Astros. They finished the year 90-72 making it to the ALCS, but falling short of a championship by losing to the Rangers. Yordan Alvarez had another incredible season and was the leader of the offense. At the trade deadline, the Astros brought back Justin Verlander to help boost their pitching staff who was suffering from some injuries. They had a really strong year, but lost their spark at the wrong time. Additionally, Dusty Baker, the Astro’s manager, retired after the season after four years with the organization. 

The Los Angeles Angels had a rough year. It was going well for them for a while, and it seemed as though they had a chance of having a semi-successful and rewarding season. But, surprise surprise, they fell apart and Mike Trout got hurt, again. They finished the year 73-89. I think they may have been more focused on Shohei Ohtani’s free agency than what was happening during the season. Ron Washington is taking over as the next manager of the Angels. 

The Oakland Athletics. All right that’s about all I’ve got. 50-112. They suck, and I don’t know what else to say. Take your pick: sell the team or move to Vegas. The right answer is that they are moving to Vegas. 

The Seattle Mariners were in the playoff race up until the last weekend of the season where they ultimately fell two games short of making the postseason. They were pretty good this year especially with the help of 2022 Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodriguez. The Mariners placed third in what was probably the most competitive division in baseball with a record of 88-74

The Texas Rangers won the 2023 World Series, a very long awaited win since they brought home their first championship trophy in history. I’ll give it to them. They had a very impressive year with lots of good moments and bad ones, too. Their pitching wasn’t always very consistent, but they were good when it truly mattered. Their offense led the charge at times with strong outings when it was really needed. The Rangers finished the year 90-72 plus some extra post season wins and a really cool trophy. 

National League 

East 

Another year, another New York Mets choking season. The highest payroll in baseball turned into a dumpster fire. After the Mets choked last year, they were hoping for a better season this year, but they ended with a 75-87 record. The Mets being bad means a peaceful year for Braves fans. They traded away Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer when it became clear that their 2023 team would burn to the ground. 

The Philadelphia Phillies had a strong year.  I will give that to them no matter how much it pained me to write that sentence. The Phillies knocked off the Braves in 4 games in the NLDS, but went on to lose to the Diamondbacks in the NLCS. (Yes, I was cheering for the Diamondbacks in that series).  They finished the year with a 90-72 record. Going into next season, the Phillies have some openings in the lineup and pitching staff due to free agency, so I’m curious to see what moves they will make during the offseason. 

I am proud of the Miami Marlins and all the obstacles they have overcome over the last few years. They used to suck, and this year they finished with a winning record of 84-78 AND they made the playoffs (yes, it was a short run, but progress is progress). And to add to all of that Sandy Alcántara was not good this year, yet they managed without him. Jorge Soler was probably one of their best players offensively, but he is likely to not return; therefore, they are gonna have to fill some holes. 

The Washington Nationals had a stronger year than previous years, but they still aren’t great. They finished with a 71-91 record in what was a pretty tough division to play in. They lacked consistency in just about every category, and the Nationals are very obviously still in rebuild mode. 

The Atlanta Braves shattered all kinds of records during this season. They were the top team in baseball all regular season, and I still think they are the best team. The injuries hit the Braves, and they hit them hard. Whether it was Max Fried, Michael Harris II, Charlie Morton, or a random bullpen arm, it seemed as though someone was always hurt at an unfortunate moment. The main goal going into the offseason will be signing a new left fielder (as always) and new starting pitching. The Braves went 104-58, and they will definitely be back and better than ever next year. Chop On. 

Central 

The Chicago Cubs fell short of the playoffs arguably because of Seiya Suzuki’s dropped fly ball in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves. If he had caught that ball, they most likely would have edged the Diamondbacks out of the postseason race. So Dansby Swanson said he wanted to sign with the Cubs to win, only to fall short of the playoffs in his first year in a new uniform. They ended up finishing with an 83-79 record which is better than one would have expected. 

Perennially, one of the most respected organizations in baseball is the St. Louis Cardinals. So, seeing them with a record of 71-91, the second worst record in the National League is an unusual sight. This year is the first time the Cardinals have finished last in their division in 33 years. The organization has some issues to try to solve going into next season. 

The Cincinnati Reds weren’t eliminated from the playoff race until the last week of the season, and they finished the year 82-80. The Reds are a rebuilding team, so the fact that they were even able to win 82 games means that they have a bright future ahead of them. 

The Milwaukee Brewers won the NL Central holding off an improved Cubs and Reds teams. Their biggest strength was their pitching staff in starters Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff as well as reliever Devin Williams. The Brewers finished the year with a 92-70 record, and they were upset in the Wild Card round by the Diamondbacks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been a team near the bottom of the standings through the past decade, but the fact that they were five wins under being a .500 team with a record of 76-86.  Their young talent is starting to develop to the point where they will be a factor in the NL Central. 

West 

 The Los Angeles Dodgers won yet another NL West pennant this season. Their offense was their key strength this year with Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts leading the way. Their pitching staff, however, was their biggest struggle, as they had a hard time keeping their starting pitchers healthy. Ultimately, the Dodgers finished their regular season with a 100-62 record, but in the playoffs, the Diamondbacks swept them in 3 games to send them home. This is now two consecutive years that the Dodgers lost to a NL West rival in the division round of the playoffs. 

There were some high expectations for the 2023 San Diego Padres, and they did not deliver. A team with one of the largest payrolls in baseball could never get their team chemistry and lineup going. They need some definite leadership, and I won’t be shocked if they make significant roster changes over the offseason. A late run in September allowed the Padres to finish their year 82-80, but they still fell short of the playoffs. 

The San Francisco Giants were a team that didn’t have the star power to compete with the Dodgers or Diamondbacks. Despite having one of the top pitchers in baseball, Logan Webb, the Giants were never able to mount a serious challenge to the rest of the teams in the NL West. They finished the year with a 79-83 record. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks were able to put together a good season this year, but they just barely snuck into the playoffs and got hot at the right time. A combination of veteran leadership with solid young talent paved the way for this National League Championship team to take on the Rangers in the World Series. They finished the year 84-78, and right fielder, Corbin Carroll, took home NL Rookie of the Year honors. 

The Colorado Rockies had a rough year. Their overall record was 59-103. The Rockies need to make roster changes, but they don’t seem to have a clear plan on how to shape their roster whether with veteran free agents or younger talents. 

***all records are regular season and do NOT include playoffs 

 

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About the Contributor
Caroline Carmichael, Managing Online and Sports Editor
Hey guys, it’s me, Caroline Leigh Carmichael, and I am the Managing Online and Sports Editor.  I’m a super-duper senior and it’s my fourth year on the Quill staff. Currently, I’m majorly crushing on Dansby Swanson; that’s my whole reason for liking the Atlanta Braves, but he’s not even on the team anymore so I’m not sure why I still like them but “Chop on.” Some say that my best trait is my gnome-like height, but I say it’s my aptitude for hitting absolute dingers in softball. If you can’t find me, I’m probably somewhere on TCU’s campus hanging out with my big bro and favorite Quill veteran, Jack Carmichael '22. But will I go to TCU? Absolutely not. I’m a baby-never kinda gal. Sorry Darie Berrie and TC. My favorite Quill memory is trying ice cream with my fellow Quillies during freshman year. The thought of us awkwardly sitting around a picnic table, seeing each other without masks for the first time in over a year, and chowing down on some homemade ice cream always warms my heart, even though I’m pretty sure the producer is no longer in operation. Bummer :(
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