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MLB Playoffs: ALCS/NLCS

October 13, 2012

Baseball, Features

Well that was an interesting Divisional Series round of the MLB Playoffs. I remember saying on my post about the sudden death wildcard round that this postseason would be an interesting one. The playoffs started off with history with that sudden death wildcard game and they continue to set records. Since 1995 the Divisional Series Round of the MLB Playoffs have pitted two teams against each other in a 5 game series. Now if you look at all the games from the DS round this year they all went to 5 games. This is the first time it has happened since 1995 when this format started. All that being said the Divisional Series Round was quite exciting. Which leads me to believe that the Championship Series Round will not disappoint either.

ALCS: Detroit Tigers v. New York Yankees

(Game 1 Sat, 8:00 pm TBS)

We will start with the ALCS which provides an interesting match-up. The Detroit Tigers came into the postseason with the worst record of any of the teams in the American League. This however does not mean that they are by any means a weak team. They showed in the ALDS against the A’s that they have their problems, but that in the end they can come out on top. The Tigers have proved throughout the season and in the ALDS that they have the ability to make it and possibly win the World Series. The team can contribute their winning the ALDS to non-other than the reliable arm of Justin Verlander who has been lights out for opposing teams all season. When Verlander is on the mound, you might as well expect a win from the Tigers. The Tigers also have very hot bats from some players that haven’t been showing up consistently (ie: Johnny Peralta) and while the Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, only had one RBI in the ALDS series, you can expect him to heat up at any moment. The Tigers have shown that they have the talent and can hang with the big dogs by beating Oakland.

On the other side of the field we have the New York Yankees, who have stamped their names on the postseason and especially the world series in the past decade. The Yankees who boasted the best record in the AL have been on somewhat of a roll all season. With what seemed like a bit of a stumble getting through the Orioles to the ALCS the Yankees have been fairly consistent. However, that consistency has been running a bit short as of late. Although hitters like Jeter, Teixeira, and Ibanez hit really well in the ALDS, big names like A-Rod, Cano, Swisher, and Granderson posted averages that do not adequately reflect how they normally play. Much like Verlander the Yankees have C.C. Sabathia who has been their star pitcher for the year and has continued that effort into the postseason. The Yankees play strong ball and look to be a good team heading into the ALCS.

The Verdict

Both of these teams are very strong as has been pointed out. However, I feel as though both of these teams while looking strong from the onset they both have numerous problems that looking deeper can be seen. This series will come down who makes less mistakes…and when Sabathia and Verlander are pitching. I think this is hard fought series for both teams. I think New York continues with benching A-Rod and looks towards trying to revamp the roster they have left by possibly benching other stars and shifting their rosters. Meanwhile the Tigers stay strong and have some lucky performances by their other pitchers. I predict the Tigers in 6. The Yankees win 2 of the first three, but continued problems contribute to their fall and they lose their last three games.

NLCS: San Francisco Giants v. St. Louis Cardinals

(Game 1 Sun, 8:00 pm FOX)

In the National League we start of with the NL West Champion San Francisco Giants who made it here by beating the Cincinnati Reds in 5 games. The Giants seemed to be on the verge of a sweep after losing their first 2 to the Reds at home. However, the Giants are never ones to lay down and lose. They came back and did the nearly impossible, win three straight games on the road. The Giants bats were not as hot as they had been during the season but the players still brought it. WHile the averages might look low for the playoffs when looking at their roster. One must keep in mind those first two home loses were not to pretty and that all Giants players worked hard to bring in the three road wins to make it to the NLCS. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and would love to make a trip back and win it all again.

They will however need to make it through last years World Series Champion the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have been surprising many people lately much like they did last year on the way to a World Series Championship. The Cardinals look strong and it has definitely been obvious, in looking at their series against the Nationals, that they can score runs. Their pitchers have also shown that they can hold off an attack of runs from the other team. Players like Beltran, Craig, Freese, and Descasio all having active bats in the Nats Series. Wainwright may have had a slip up in Game 5, but the real thing we learned from that is that the Cardinals bullpen has the ability to shutdown along with the starters having the same ability. While the Cardinals were not the best team entering the playoffs they are running on the motivation they have built up in the playoffs now.

The Verdict

This match-up of the past two World Series Championship looks like a juicy one. Both of these teams have been playing well as of late. The fact that both of these teams played game 5’s work in their favor. While both of these teams are good teams the fact they pulled the teams they played to 5 games and beat them gives them both a good bit of motivation coming into the NLCS. Wins in this series will depend highly on how effective the pitching is. Both teams have top-notch pitchers, but as we saw in the Nats/Cards series if the starting pitcher lets runs the other team will have trouble get going because they are facing a really good pitcher as well. I am calling the Cardinals in 7 games. Home field plays a role with each team winning on their respective field, until game 7 when the Cardinals get their bats going against San Francisco pitching.

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About Andrew Ware

Seminary student at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. and graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA. But most of all a follower of Jesus Christ.

View all posts by Andrew Ware

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