With all 12 spots secured and the games set to begin on Friday, it's time to get up to speed on Major League Baseball's 2022 postseason.
Got questions? Well, we've got answers.
That is, we have answers to what we think are the biggest looming questions hanging over each of the dozen teams slated to take part in this year's playoffs. These concern what, if any, concerns or weaknesses they have and how they might overcome them.
We'll go one team at a time, beginning in the American League and ending in the National League.
Houston Astros: Where Are Their Weaknesses?
Short Answer: Squint and you'll see them.
The Houston Astros would seem to be as juggernaut-y as juggernauts get.
They're 104-56 with a plus-208 run differential. Their offensive foursome of Yordan Álvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker is downright intimidating, and the same is likewise true of co-aces Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez. The whole team has playoff experience in abundance.
But while this amounts to a short list of things for Houston to worry about, it's not altogether empty.
One concern is that this year's offense isn't as strong as the elite iterations of 2017, 2019 and 2021. That's no thanks to relative shortcomings at catcher, first base and center field, plus sweet-swinging Michael Brantley's absence with shoulder surgery.
Although Houston's bullpen has MLB's lowest ERA at 2.81, Ryan Pressly isn't the scariest closer out there, either. He's generally good but also occasionally hittable, and he's been scored on in four of his last 11 appearances.
New York Yankees: What Can They Do to Keep Teams from Pitching Around Aaron Judge?
Short Answer: There might be at least one thing they can do.
The New York Yankees are only 37-38 since they got off to a historic 61-23 start, but their AL-best plus-242 run differential remains a good excuse to be high on their chances to return to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
In theory, it also helps to have the scariest hitter in baseball. That's Aaron Judge, who's gone off for a stellar .311/.426/.686 slash line and an AL-record-tying 61 home runs.
But what if beating the Yankees in the playoffs is as simple as pitching around Judge?