Sunday, October 14, 2012

Division Series Wrapup, LCS Preview

                Daniel Descalso had a big night on Friday's deciding game

This year might of been the most exciting round of Division Series ever. All four series went a full five games, the first time thats ever happened since the Division Series was introduced in 1995. Obviously, Friday nights deciding Game 5 between the Nats and Cards was a classic. The Cardinals overcame the biggest comeback in a elimination game in postseason history, at one time being down by 6 runs. The previous record was 4, which two teams overcame(Yankees against the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS, and the Pirates over the Senators in the 1925 World Series). Ironically, the 1925 Washington Senators lost to the Pirates by a 9-7 score. The Cardinals can never be counted out even when the circumstances look dire.

The Nationals have got to be second guessing the decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg for the season. Would they have won with Strasburg pitching? Maybe not, but there chances would of been better. While this was the best season this franchise has ever had, this lost could haunt them for quite some time. They have a young talented team though, and should be contenders again next year.

The Giants made some postseason history themselves on Thursday. They became the first National League team to overcome a 0-2 deficit. Even more impressive, they won all three games on the road in Cincinnati. They are the first team to do that. Buster Posey's grand slam clinched the series win on Thursday, and Matt Cain won the game. Tim Lincecum also pitched out of the bullpen in this series, but could start vs. the Cardinals in the NLCS. The Reds were pretty cocky going into the playoffs, but they choked this series away.

The NLCS will be a match between the last two World Champions. The Cardinals are the defending champions, and the Giants won it all in 2010. This is the first time in NLCS history this has happened, and it is an intriguing matchup. Both teams had to deal with injuries this season The Cardinals lost Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman for the season, and Chris Carpenter missed most of the year. Carpenter is healthy now, but Jaime Garcia injured his rotator cuff during Game 2 of the NLDS and will miss the rest of the playoffs. This is also the first season of the post Albert Pujols/Tony LaRussa era, but the Redbirds haven't missed a beat. The Giants had to had to deal with Brian Wilson's season ending injury, Melky Cabrera's 50 games suspension(will not play in the playoffs), and a down year from former ace Lincecum. Posey had a big year this year, coming back from his leg injury last year.

The Giants will need their starting pitching to come through for them if they are going to win this series. The Cardinals scored the second most runs in the National League this year, and had 5 players reach th 20 home run plateau this year in David Freese, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Allen Craig. The Redbirds also have a lot of young strong arms in the bullpen in Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller. The Giants do have some threats on offense in Posey, Pablo Sandoval, and Hunter Pence. Marco Scutaro was third in the NL in hits this year.

In the American League, the Athletics gave the Tigers all they could handle in the Division Series. Detroit got off to a 2-0 lead, but the A's roared back to tie it with a come from behind win in Game 4. Justin Verlander pitched a complete game shutout to win Game 5, and set a Division Series record with 22 strikeouts. With a rotation of Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez, and a offense led by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the Tigers might be the team to beat this year.

The Yankees and the Orioles played in a tough grind it out five game series. Only in Game 1, did a team score more than 3 runs. Every game was close, and went down to the wire. Jim Johnson saved 51 games in the regular season, but blew two games in this series. Alex Rodriguez was benched for the deciding game in favor of Eric Chavez. This series could also be the end of Jim Thome's career, he has hinted at retirement after this season.

The Tigers have already took Game 1 of the ALCS in New York, and the Yankees got some more bad news. Derek Jeter fractured his ankle making a defensive play Saturday night, and will miss the rest of the postseason. Game 3 of this series will feature a great pitching matchup between CC Sabathia and Verlander. The Cardinals and Giants will kick off the NLCS tonight with Lance Lynn taking on Madison Bumgarner.

 The Giants came back to beat the Reds and now will face the defending champion Cardinals

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