The Division Series are finally behind us, leaving four teams with a shot at the World Series trophy. Two teams left in each league make four possible World Series matchups, and while none of them are the matchup that everyone (including myself) expected to see -- the 2017 rematch between the Dodgers and Astros -- there is still plenty of drama left in October. To be honest, all of these have something worth exciting in them, and we hate to rank one above the other, but not all World Series matchups are created equal.
Some factors that go into our rankings include historical significance (i.e., past postseason meetings), geographical proximity, and current potential of storylines for broadcasters to salivate over.
4. Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals and Astros played some thrilling postseason series in the mid-2000s back when they both played in the NL Central, but that was long ago. Though the two teams are in different leagues now, the Cardinals and Astros still have some beef dating back to 2017, when Cardinals scout Chris Correa used a buddy's password to hack into the Astros' player database dozens of times. 2017 was also the year the Astros won the World Series, and may have kicked off a new dynasty that could continue this year if Houston wins it all. Though the Cardinals gave the Astros draft picks and money in compensation for the hacking incident, some saw the punishment as a slap on the wrist, and a World Series encounter might give Houston a chance to get their revenge once and for all.
3. Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals
I hate to put one team on the bottom two spots on the list, let alone consensus favorites the Houston Astros, but things just sort of happened that way.
While the two teams have never met in postseason competition before, the idea of baseball's strongest squad against baseball's October Cinderella is intriguing. If the Nationals end up in this matchup, they certainly have a pitching staff that can go toe-to-toe with Houston's, with Strasburg, Corbin, Scherzer, and Sanchez all healthy. Only one thing about this matchup is certain: we can expect some low-scoring affairs.
2. New York Yankees vs St. Louis Cardinals
Baseball's winningest ballclubs could renew a World Series rivalry that hasn't been waged since 1964. The Cardinals and Yankees have met in three World Series, with the Cardinals winning two of them. In spirit and in strategy, the two teams couldn't be any farther apart. While the Yankees, led by home run hitters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, are the ultimate "three true outcomes" team, the Cardinals stress defense and fundamentals, and they've gone from the league's worst-fielding team in 2018 (by fielding percentage) to its best this year.
1. New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals
What's not to love about this matchup? The nation's capital takes on the nation's largest city. A team with 27 world championships takes on a team that hasn't even had a glimpse of the World Series, and will make their first NLCS appearance in franchise history on Friday night. A team defined by power hitting and the long ball takes on a team stacked with Cy Young-caliber pitchers. And the teams are merely a high-speed train ride apart. This has "gem" written all over it. For some historical background, Washington's only World Series victory, all the way back in 1924, came against a team from...you guessed it...New York. Specifically, John McGraw's Giants. David vs. Goliath in its truest form, and a matchup everyone can enjoy.