As the calendar turns from September to October, everything we thought we knew about the baseball season goes out the window. Players focus and play harder, fans cheer louder, and coaches use more strategy — all while the weather gets testier. As you get ready for the month of heart-pounding action ahead, check out our selection of your team’s fan gear and our evaluation of this year’s six division winners and their playoff expectations.

The National League

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and many believe this could be the year the curse is broken. This year’s team has two potential MVP candidates in first baseman Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant, who both put up big numbers all season long. The Cubs also boast a strong supporting cast of young talent, such as infielders Javier Baez and Addison Russell. But when you look at the Cubs, you simply can’t look past the team’s pitching depth.

With top-end starters like Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, and with a closer like Aroldis Chapman whose fastball can touch 105, the Cubs are clearly the favorite this October. Although they are expected to win it all, the team is also one of the most inexperienced and carries a large target on its back, as they have been the team to beat all season long. Could this be the year?

Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

Everyone is sleeping on the Nationals this postseason, as they have crutched their way into October with a host of big injuries. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Stephen Strasburg, and Wilson Ramos (four of the Nationals’ five all-stars) have spent the final stretch of the regular season on the bench due to injury. Although Murphy and Harper are expected to return for the playoffs, it’s unknown if they are completely healthy. The outlook currently doesn’t look the brightest for the Nationals as the postseason awaits, but fans have to remember it’s all about what team can get hot at the right time in October.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have the perfect mix of veteran leadership and young talent on their roster this season. Although the season has been rocky at times for the Dodgers, filled with injuries, slumps, and growing pains, the team has been able to put it all together at the right time in 2016. In some instances, teams have been able to ride one or two starting pitchers to a World Series if they can pitch on little rest. Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ ace, could be that guy. Kershaw, a two-time Cy Young award winner, returned in September from an injury that kept him out over two months, and he’s now fresh.

The Dodgers’ recipe for success is simple: follow Kershaw and the rest of the strong pitching staff through the postseason and hope for a strong few weeks at the plate from Yasiel Puig and Corey Seager. The Dodgers are an underdog, and if they embrace that stereotype, they could use it to fuel the fire.

The American League

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

I can’t think of a better ending to David Ortiz’s farewell season than a World Series run, and the Red Sox have put themselves in position to do just that. Boston may have been the last team to clinch their respective division, but the East was the toughest division in all of baseball this year and may end up having three playoff teams. The Red Sox have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, with aces Rick Porcello and David Price leading the way.

Supplementing the great starting rotation, players such as Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, and — of course — Ortiz have shined at the plate. The Red Sox are a scary team this season, and with a number of players that have been in the playoffs before, they are a poised group that could do damage to opponents.

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland Indians

It goes without saying that the Indians have been the biggest surprise of 2016. With a number of little-known players making strides during the season, and a few veteran hitters like Mike Napoli and Coco Crisp making big contributions, the Indians have become a force to be reckoned with.

Although many have doubted Cleveland throughout the season — it’s understandable, since two of the team’s best hitters, Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes, have been on the disabled list — the team’s by-committee attitude and use of depth is what has allowed them to be a title contender. If the Indians can continue to fight and claw their way with what they have, and ace pitcher Corey Kluber can continue his dominance on the mound, you cannot count them out.

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

Hitting. That is what the Texas Rangers have been the best at this year, and it’s what they live and die by. No doubt the Rangers have one of the best playoff lineups. With players like Adrian Beltre, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Elvis Andrus, they can flat out hit. However, Texas has the worst pitching staff in the playoffs (No. 23 ), and pitching has historically won championships. If the Rangers want to compete this year, no matter how good their hitting is, they will need their pitchers to step up. Starting pitchers like Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, and Colby Lewis have all been in situations like this before — so if they have their best stuff on the mound in the coming weeks, Texas becomes a huge threat.

Although each one of these teams has a great shot to win it all, you can never rule out the wild card teams. If anything, the postseason has shown us over the years that whatever team is the hottest come October is the team that will win it all. No matter who you are following on the diamond this fall, make sure to cheer them on in style with our large selection of MLB fan gear at eastbay.com.