The Tigers pulled it off and are now on their way to face the Red Sox in the ALCS. And while the Yankee fan in me hates the whole idea of those two teams playing in the Championship Series, the general baseball fan is relieved that the best 2 teams in baseball in the AL are competing for the chance at the World Series. I cannot say the same for the NLCS, but being as I am first an AL girl, born-and-raised, I guess I know where my loyalties lie.
Anyway, the Tigers were really the best team tonight, pulling off a shutout win (3-0), thanks mostly to their starter and ace Verlander who is still one of the best pitchers in the league and went a full 8 innings and 111 pitches, keeping the Athletics to just 2 hits and a walk. That’s right, just 3 base runners and none of them scored. Detroit only capitalized on two opportunities — a 2-run home run in the 4th and a run scored on a force out in the 6th. In the 9th, Detroit went to their closer, who after 2 quick outs, got into a jam, allowing a double and a hit-by-pitch. But he pulled out of it with a fly out for that elusive 3rd and final out.
So here’s the update on my predictions: (*I was right // ^I was wrong)
NL Wild Card — Pirates over Reds(Pirates win over Reds 6-2 to advance as Wild Card)* AL Wild Card — Indians over Rays(Rays win over the Indians 4-0 to advance as Wild Card)^ NLDS 1 — Pirates over Cardinals in 5(Cardinals win over the Pirates in 5)^ NLDS 2 — Braves over Dodgers in 3(Dodgers win over the Braves in 4)^ ALDS 1 — Red Sox over Rays in 3(Red Sox win over the Rays in 4)* ALDS 2 — Tigers over Athletics in 4(Tigers win over the Athletics in 5)*
- NLCS — Cardinals over Dodgers in 5
- ALCS — Tigers over Red Sox in 7
- World Series — Tigers over Cardinals in 6
Officially batting for average in my predictions, which as all baseball fans know is great in the overall. And these results prove I know my AL much better than my NL. And well, I was a game off in all but one series, but I threw in that guess just for good measure.
With the NLCS starting tomorrow and the ALCS on Saturday, we’ve now made it to the heart of postseason baseball. This is really just getting started, at least in four cities and fan bases in the US. For the rest of America, they’ve moved onto football or even pre-season basketball. And that’s a shame. Just because you’re team’s not playing doesn’t mean there’s no baseball. It’s kind of fun to watch a game and watch it for the pure pleasure of the sport — without any (or much) loyalty to a team or set of players, seeing how good (or not) the teamwork is, and observing the finer details and grace of the game.
And there’s no news in Yankee-land. Most people are now having fun with Girardi’s extended stay story that they seem to be distracted from all the other off-season possibilities. I suppose landing the big fish like Cano and filling out the major parts of the roster are the next priority, but I think they had it right in pushing for a man at the helm before a final roster. You have to know what kind of team you are building before you can start building, and the man who will set the tone for development and competitive passion is the manager. Now that he’s in place (and I’m assuming based on recent interviews with Cashman and Steinbrenner that the rest of the coaching staff will also return), they know what kind of team and leadership they can expect from the coaches and manager and thus can build effectively.
I suppose also they are waiting to some extent for the results of Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration and appeal. If they uphold or shorten his suspension (even to 50 games), they will need to secure an everyday corner infielder, and they will have some of the suspended pay from Rodriguez’s salary to play with to keep under that $189 million salary “goal” (they have stated recently that it’s more of a goal than a mandate, which is more reasonable if they want some leeway to produce a winning team next year). However, if his appeal is completely successful, the Yankees will then have a regular 3rd baseman and can instead focus on filling other things — like pitching. And I’m guessing they are more focused on finding consistent pitching, especially in the starting rotation, than anything else on their list.
As a girl, it is my absolute right to love shopping, but the idea of shopping for players like Cashman is about to jump into beginning this next month is rather intimidating and like piecing together a moving puzzle that’s out of focus. I don’t think most generic baseball fans truly know all that goes into being a GM, and until really diving into baseball research, I didn’t either. But I have a new appreciation for it now, and I can see where a misunderstanding of its unpredictability can lead to some really bad assumptions. Not that I agree with every one of the decisions — you’ll just never know which ones on this blog. We stay positive here!
And on that note, here’s to a positive off-season and hope for some really amazing signings, trades, and random diamond-in-the-rough grabs and call-ups…