MLB

25 Hyped MLB Teams That Fizzled Out In The Playoffs

Darren - October 8, 2021
MLB

25 Hyped MLB Teams That Fizzled Out In The Playoffs

Darren - October 8, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

18. St. Louis Cardinals (2005)

St. Louis was out for revenge in 2005 after a heartbreaking World Series appearance. The Boston Red Sox put them in their place but they were determined to bounce back. It looked like the experience hadn’t left any scars because they tore up the regular season. An excellent 100-62 record made the Cardinals one of the most hyped teams in MLB. In particular, Albert Pujols was magnificent as he won the NL MVP award (via ESPN).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. Well, that’s not entirely true because the Astros broke the heart of St. Louis. After the Cardinals crushed the Padres in the NDLS, they met Houston. The Astros came into the postseason as wildcards and posed no threat to St. Louis earlier in the year. But the playoff mentality changed their tune and they beat the Cardinals in six games.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

17. New York Yankees (2001)

The Yankees had another hyped team in 2001 but met their end at the hands of the Diamondbacks. After sailing past the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, the New York franchise faced Arizona in the World Series. But their journey ended after Mariano Rivera threw their hopes away. The D-Backs won the first two games of the series before the Yankees came screaming back into contention.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In the end, the Yankees didn’t have enough left in the tank. Their team had great players like Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens but couldn’t get the job done when it counted. Depending on the strengths of the two leagues, the two best teams don’t always make the World Series. But the Yankees found themselves fighting against a dangerous Arizona with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (via Daily Advocate).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

16. Texas Rangers (1995)

The Rangers were the most fun team in MLB in 1995 as they ran rampant through their AL rivals. They achieved their 95-67 record by going out guns blazing. It was all about the offense in Arlington because it was a lot of fun to watch them. Ivan Rodriguez won the AL MVP award for his contribution. Meanwhile, Rafael Palmeiro had a 47 home run season as they reached the playoffs.

Mandatory Credit: CBS Sports

But their approach didn’t translate to long-term success. They came up against the savvy Yankees in the ALDS (via Sports Illustrated). Fans hyped up the Rangers’ chances of blowing New York away but that wasn’t what happened. Instead, the Yankees used their pitching prowess to overwhelm their Texan adversaries. They were a much more balanced team than the top-heavy Rangers, who crashed and burned.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

15. Chicago Cubs (1984)

The 1984 season was a great one in a lot of ways for the Cubs. However, the hyped franchise fell short when it counted against the San Diego Padres. The two teams played each other in the NLCS and the Cubs took an early lead (via ESPN). They won the first two games of the series but failed to see it through. San Diego bounced back to take over and win the final three games.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

This could have been a World Series year for the Cubs but they failed to meet their full potential. After a 96-65 season, they were the dominant force in the National League. Ryne Sandberg won the NL MVP award while Rick Sutcliffe also claimed a Cy Young award. As wasted opportunities go, this was up there with the biggest. The Cubs still look badly sadly at this missed chance.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

14. Atlanta Braves (1996)

The Braves had a tremendous roster in ’96 with the likes of Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones at their disposal. But they failed to take full advantage of their weapons. On paper, this was one of their greatest rosters during the most dominant era in their history. However, there’s still a sense that this hyped unit underachieved. They had the talent to win a World Series but fell short.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

John Smoltz came into the postseason as a Cy Young winner while Jones and Ryan Klesko had more than 30 homers each. Despite this, they stumbled through the postseason and narrowly made it out of the NCLS (via Fansided). But they blew the Yankees away in the first two games of the World Series with 16 home runs to New York’s one. Unfortunately, they fizzled out and scored just 10 more in total.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

13. Boston Red Sox (1978)

This technically wasn’t a true postseason game but it is close enough. The Red Sox were dominant throughout the ’78 season and took a 14-game lead into July over their AL East rivals. But their old rivals, the Yankees remained dogged and consistent. They had an unbelievable August while the Red Sox faltered. It came down to their games toward the end of the season and New York destroyed the Red Sox.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

This tied the two teams as AL East champions with 99-63 records (via SBNation). As a result, they played a tiebreaker to see who would progress to the playoffs. However, the Yankees had Boston’s number and ran through them again. Bucky Dent inspired his team to victory in the one-game playoff. In the end, the Yankees won the World Series while the hyped Red Sox watched sadly from home.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

12. St. Louis Cardinals (2009)

The Cardinals suffered major highs and lows throughout the 2009 season. After an alarming dip during the regular season, they bounced back to win the NL Central. Their pitchers were sublime throughout the year with players like Chris Carpenter delivering for the franchise. Needless to say, their chances were hyped up, but they just couldn’t live up to them (via SBNation).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

They moved on to face the Dodgers in the NLDS. Unfortunately, this was a bridge too far for the Cardinals. They hoped for an exciting postseason run but they failed to deliver. The Dodgers swept them in three games as St. Louis offered little resistance. It was disappointing after Albert Pujols won the Silver Slugger award and an MVP award. He deserved better but the franchise couldn’t achieve it.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

11. New York Yankees (1955)

The Yankees have always been one of baseball’s biggest franchises but the ’50s were something else. They won five straight titles from 1949-1954. After missing out the next year, they returned with a vengeance in ’55. Furthermore, they had a who’s who of iconic Hall of Famers on their roster. We’re talking about legends like Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

All of these players had unbelievable years with Berra winning the AL MVP award. They faced the Dodgers in the World Series but it looked like the hyped Yankees had too much firepower. Also, the Dodgers lost four World Series against their rivals. They were out for blood and finally achieved it as they took the victory (via L.A. Times). The Yankees won the first two games but fizzled out as the Dodgers took over.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Cleveland Indians (1995)

The Indians were one of the most hyped teams ever. This was mainly because of their awesome offense with five players posting more than 20 homers. Meanwhile, six stars batted over .600 as they cruised through their division with 100 wins. Expectations were high because of outstanding performers like Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle. But of course, they fizzled out.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

They looked like an unstoppable force but then they ran into one of the teams of the decade. The Atlanta Braves stood between the Indians and World Series glory. However, there could only be one winner and for all of their firepower, Cleveland didn’t have enough. Finally, Atlanta won the six-game series 4-2 as they overwhelmed their opponents. It was a tough break for Cleveland and their fans (via AJC).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

9. New York Mets (1988)

The Mets have always been in the Yankees’ shadow but it looked like this was their time. Darryl Strawberry finished second in the NL MVP voting after an excellent season. They entered the postseason with a dominant record of 100-60 as they took over the NL East. Suddenly, they became one of the most hyped franchises in the nation. But they couldn’t sustain it.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Strawberry and co. took on the L.A. Dodgers in the NLCS but couldn’t beat their West Coast foes. Ron Darling had one of the worst displays of his life in the final game of the series. Meanwhile, Orel Hershiser unloaded against the Mets with a complete game shutout. Then, he went onto the World Series and won the MVP award. In the end, the Mets let their fans down again (via NY Daily News).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Oakland Athletics (1990)

Oakland was phenomenal in 1990 with 103 regular-season wins. They blazed through the postseason and made it all the way to the World Series. Even more impressive was the fact that this was their third World Series appearance in a row. The hyped Athletics carried the favorites tag into the series but that’s as good as it got. Their hopes of glory faded after four tepid showings against the Reds.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati shouldn’t have won this series because Oakland had an unbelievable roster. They had the likes of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco as well as Rickey Henderson (via SF Gate). But it just goes to show that the biggest names don’t always guarantee success. Oakland stumbled at the final hurdle and the Reds brought home the glory. But everyone loves an underdog story.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

7. Seattle Mariners (2001)

It’s rare that a record-breaking season ends with a bitter taste. But that was exactly Seattle’s experience after a heartbreaking end to 2001. They broke the AL record for most wins in a season with a remarkable 116. It appeared as though they were invincible and fans had high hopes for the hyped franchise. They won the ALDS before facing the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

In reality, the Mariners were an overrated team. The majority of their players overperformed throughout the season and failed to reproduce the same numbers in other years. We’re talking about the likes of Freddy Garcia and Aaron Sele who played important roles (via CBS Sports). But they did have genuine star power in Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Boone. In the end, the Indians brought their postseason to a close.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Baltimore Orioles (1979)

The Orioles stormed through the American League with a glorious 102-57 record. Ken Singleton had the year of his life with 35 home runs while Earl Weaver was his usual brilliant self. Their power hitting was a sight to behold as they became one of the most electrifying teams in the Major Leagues. Soon fans hyped their chances of winning a World Series and it looked like they’d deliver.

Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports

After smashing their way through the playoffs, Baltimore faced Pittsburgh on the biggest stage of them all. They had smashed the Angels in the previous round and expected to blitz the Pirates (via Sporting News). The early signs were good as they took a 3-1 series lead. But then they capitulated and melted down as Pittsburgh took control. Disappointingly, this attacking force only scored two home runs in their final three games.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

5. Atlanta Braves (1993)

There’s no doubt that Atlanta underachieved in 1993. After going 104-58, there were high hopes that this was their year. The hyped Braves were heavy favorites to win the World Series. When they brought in Greg Maddux it felt like they had brought an army tank to a pistol shooting range. Nobody gave the Phillies a chance of beating the Braves because they had such a great roster.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

But the Phillies refused to allow the Braves to intimidate them in the NLDS. They went toe-to-toe with Atlanta and stunned them in Game One. This seemed like a blip because Atlanta bounced back to win the next two matches (via Sporting News). However, Philadelphia regained their focus and blazed their way through the next three games to clinch the series. But they lost the World Series against the Blue Jays.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

4. New York Yankees (2020)

The Yankees came into 2020 as joint-favorites to win the World Series. However, unlike the Los Angeles Dodgers, they were unable to live up to preseason hopes. After adding Gerrit Cole, there were genuine hopes that they could be a contender. But the New York franchise suffered a lot of injuries throughout the year. The likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge missed a lot of game time.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Analysts hyped them before the season but it soon became apparent that all was not well. They finished second in the AL after finishing with a 33-27 record and limped into the postseason. Then, they crashed out after defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS (via Sports Illustrated). Fans were very disappointed to see their team drop out of the playoffs at such an early stage.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

3. Detroit Tigers (2012)

An 88-74 record isn’t the most impressive on this list, but the Tigers carried a lot of momentum in the 2012 postseason. Their run was dramatic for both good and bad reasons. After making it into the ALDS, they overcame Oakland in a hard-fought series. Immediately, MLB fans praised the Tigers for their fortitude and hyped up their chances of going all the way.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Then, they swept the Yankees in the Championship Series (via The Guardian). It appeared as though they had exploded into life at the perfect moment but this wasn’t the case. The San Francisco Giants destroyed the Tigers in the World Series as their hope of glory fizzled out. They had a great chance of winning and carried a lot of media attention into the finals but they couldn’t live up to it.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

2. Houston Astros (2018)

The 2017 World Series winners came into the new season as the team to beat. Now that everybody knows that they cheated, it’s a wonder they didn’t secure back-to-back titles. However, the heavy favorites still had an impressive regular season. They went 103-59 as they secured successive hundred-win seasons for the first time in franchise history (via SBNation). No wonder fans hyped them up so much.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

After winning the AL West they cruised past the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. Next up was a meeting with the Boston Red Sox. However, this series didn’t go to plan for the Astros. Somehow, they managed to fall short and lost across five games. It was a miserable ending to their year because they should have made it to the World Series again. Looking back, it’s a wonder they failed.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

1. Chicago Cubs (2008)

The Cubs love to say ‘This is the season.’ But it usually isn’t the season. This was the case again in 2008 because they definitely didn’t win the World Series. The trouble with this franchise is that they court expectations. Their hyped teams find themselves in tricky situations because they drive their fans into a frenzy. Then, when they inevitably flop, their fans’ passion reflects back onto them.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

After a 97-64 season, the Cubs faced the Dodgers in the NLDS. They had the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, and Derek Lee on their roster. Meanwhile, they had the best record in the entire National League (via Fansided). They believed that this was finally their season but it wasn’t. They capitulated against the Dodgers as the West Coasters swept them across the series.

Advertisement