It'll be an all American League matchup in the World Series of the inaugural MLB The Show Players League as Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox prepare to take on Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon.
The pitchers fought their way through Saturday's semifinals to reach the best-of-five title round. The best-of-three semifinals consisted of three-inning games, as has been the case since the league started last month.
Giolito defeated crosstown rival Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series, but not without a bit of drama.
In the decisive Game 3, with the Cubs trailing 3-1, Kyle Schwarber came to the plate with the bases loaded. Giolito worked a full count before striking him out. That left the game and series up to Willson Contreras, Happ's best hitter all tournament. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Happ grounded out on a slow roller back to the pitcher as Giolito celebrated the semifinal win.
There was no denying the Chicago rivalry played into the series.
"Playing for the White Sox, we haven't won in a bit," Giolito said. "We haven't been to the postseason in a bit. We're trying to change that. But [playing the Cubs is] like the closest thing we have to postseason season baseball and having that kind of energy in the stadium."
The second semifinal was no pushover, either.
New York Mets star Jeff McNeil seemed like he was cruising to a quick series win after stealing Game 1 on the road against Snell in the semifinal thanks to a complete game from Jacob deGrom.
That's when Snell pulled out every gamer's most reliable move.
“I just stopped talking," Snell said. "That was my key. Don't talk just focus on the game."
When the team returned to Citi Field for Game 2, disaster struck as starter Noah Syndergaard took a comebacker to the head and was knocked out of the game in the first inning. That led to an 8-0 win for Snell, which carried over to Game 3 as he took a 7-0 lead after two innings.
Sunday's World Series will be broadcast on ESPN.