The craziness continues! What an LDS we just witnessed. The Tigers stunned the Yankees in a fantastic five-game series, while the Rangers shock the team of destiny and beat the Rays convincingly. In the NL, we saw a walkoff by Nyjer Morgan to send the D’Backs packing, while a battle between two former Blue Jays, Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay saw two gems thrown, one which saw Carpenter the victor with a three-hit shutout, and Doc taking the tough-luck loss pitching eight-strong. I’ll be honest, I was pulling for Philly to win it–the only thing missing in Halladay’s Hall of Fame career is a World Series ring, and with the Phillies’ window of opportunity closing, they need to win ASAP. As for my predictions, I went 3-1 in round one. Let’s keep the it rolling with the LCS predictions:
Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers
Game 1: Oct. 8, 8:05 PM ET: J. Verlander vs. C. Wilson
Game 2: Oct. 9, 7:45 PM ET: M. Scherzer vs. D. Holland
Game 3: Oct. 11, 8:05 PM ET: C. Lewis vs. D. Fister
Game 4: Oct. 12, 4:19 PM ET: M. Harrison vs. R. Porcello
Game 5: Oct. 13, 4:19 PM ET: C. Wilson vs. J. Verlander
Game 6: Oct. 15, 8:05 PM ET: M. Scherzer vs. D. Holland
Game 7: Oct. 16, 8:05 PM ET: D. Fister vs. C. Lewis
The Rangers are trying to defend their AL championship as the Tigers attempt to return to the World Series for the first time since 2006.
Given how good LHP C.J. Wilson has been this season, especially in keeping the ball in the park, it’s unreal how bad he’s been in the postseason–he was hammered in Game 1 of ALDS by Tampa, surrendering three home runs. In his past four postseason starts, Wilson has gone 0-3 with a 6.26 ERA and seven homers allowed. Not to mention, Wilson is a free agent at season’s end, and while it’s not expected that he’ll re-sign in Texas (in order to maximize his payday), he’s not helping his case with his poor postseason outings.
If Wilson fails, though, the Rangers’ starting staff is plenty deep to back him up. RHP Colby Lewis is 4-0 lifetime in the postseason–in five starts, he’s allowed two or fewer runs in all of them, which is second to just Sandy Koufax (six starts). LHP Derek Holland was solid against Tampa, and LHP Matt Harrison became the second pitcher in postseason history to strike out nine in a start of only five innings.
On the flip side, by not using RHP Justin Verlander as a reliever in Game 5 of the ALDS, he’ll be good to go on Game 1, 5 and likely 7, but will be pitching for the first time on three days rest. This essentially means that the Tigers will only go as far as Verlander takes them. If he struggles, they’ll struggle, but if he’s as good as he was during the regular season, Texas will be in trouble.
Texas got some clutch hitting from their two new offensive acquisitions, 3B Adrian Beltre and C Mike Napoli. Beltre hit three home runs in the clinching game of the ALDS; he is the sixth player ever to hit three home runs in a postseason game, but the only one to do so in a one-run game. Napoli basically won Game 3 with a two-run homer off LHP David Price. Napoli has the highest batting average (.378) in the major leagues since July 4, has slugged over .700, and he has an OPS over 1.000. He’s also caught nine shutouts this season. In Detroit, 1B Miguel Cabrera and C Victor Martinez are the main two bats, so in order for them to win, the rest of their lineup needs to come through just as they did against the Yankees. OF Austin Jackson remains a wild card, as he’s very streaky, but when he’s on, his speed makes him one of the most dangerous threats on the field.
In an update, OF Delmon Young (oblique) has been left off the roster. INF Danny Worth will replace him on the roster while OF Ryan Raburn should get most of the playing time in left field. It’s a blow for the Tigers, as Young went 6-for-19 with three homers during the ALDS, but Raburn has a chance to fare well against the lefty-heavy Rangers’ rotation.
Irrelevant fun fact: LHP Phil Coke’s dad was once a prison guard, and 2B Ian Kinsler’s dad was once a prison warden. Do I sense some resentment? Probably not. Anyways, we should be in for a great series, especially for people watching who aren’t in tune with baseball’s non-headliners. A postseason without the Red Sox or Yankees may spell disaster for some, but a great matchup between two under-the-radar teams like these will be just as exciting. I think this comes down to Game 7, and the ball goes to Verlander. Does he pitch well? No, but they win anyways.
Pick: Rangers in 7
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Game 1: Oct. 9, 4:05 PM ET: J. Garcia vs. Z. Greinke
Game 2: Oct. 10, 8:05 PM ET: E. Jackson vs. S. Marcum
Game 3: Oct. 12, 8:05 PM ET: Y. Gallardo vs. C. Carpenter
Game 4: Oct. 13, 8:05 PM ET: R. Wolf vs. K. Lohse
Game 5: Oct. 14, 8:05 PM ET: Z. Greinke vs. J. Garcia
Game 6: Oct. 16, 4:05 PM ET: E. Jackson vs. S. Marcum
Game 7: Oct. 17, 8:05 PM ET: C. Carpenter vs. Y. Gallardo
These two teams are playing against each other in the postseason for the first time since the 1982 World Series. Each team is coming off an exciting one-run win from Friday night, so they’re each coming in confident and with momentum.
St. Louis comes in red-hot, having won 23 of their last 32 games to come from 10½ games back to make the postseason. They beat arguably the best team in the postseason in the Phillies, all with a season full of doubts and question marks regarding 1B Albert Pujols’ future with the club. The Cards’ offence is strong from top to bottom, with guys like Holliday, Berkman, Freese and Molina all providing pop.
Where the Cards may get a leg up is in the first two games of the series. RHP Yovani Gallardo won’t be available to pitch until Game 3, as he was forced to pitch Game 5 of the NLDS. That leaves RHP Zack Greinke and RHP Shaun Marcum for Games 1 and 2. Greinke was unbeaten at home this season, while Marcum started off well, then struggled down the stretch and into the postseason. In addition, his 1-1 record with a 4.50 ERA against the Cardinals makes him very beatable. LHP Randy Wolf was also lit up in his LDS start, so St. Louis has a great opportunity to win some games against the rest of the Brewers’ rotation.
That said, RHP Chris Carpenter will also be unavailable until Game 3, because he too pitched in Game 5 of the LDS. LHP Jaime Garcia in Game 1, RHP Edwin Jackson in Game 2 and RHP Kyle Lohse in Game 4 will round out the rotation, and each pitcher faired well in the LDS. St. Louis’ defence, which has been awful all season long, saw great plays by SS Rafael Furcal, 2B Nick Punto and C Yadier Molina in the LDS.
The Brewers went 57-24 at home, and with the possibility of having four more games at home, St. Louis will be in tough. The home team could win each game, leaving the fourth and final win for Milwaukee.
Pick: Brewers in 7
Here’s the schedule for the World Series:
|Game 1||Wednesday, Oct. 19||NL city|
|Game 2||Thursday, Oct. 20||NL city|
|Game 3||Saturday, Oct. 22||AL city|
|Game 4||Sunday, Oct. 23||AL city|
|*Game 5||Monday, Oct. 24||AL city|
|*Game 6||Wednesday, Oct. 26||NL city|
|*Game 7||Thursday, Oct. 27||NL city|
2007-08: 12-3 (80%)
2008-09: 10-5 (67%)
2009-10: 9-6 (60%)
2010-11: 8-7 (53%)
Total: 39/60 = 65%
2007-08: 11-4 (73%)
2008-09: 9-6 (60%)
2009-10: 11-4 (73%)
2010-11: 11-4 (73%)
Total: 42/60 = 70%
2008: 5-2 (71%)
2009: 4-3 (57%)
2010: 3-4 (43%)
Total: 12/21 = 57%
2008-09: 9-2 (82%)
2009-10: 7-4 (64%)
2010-11: 8-3 (73%)
Total: 24/33 = 73%