This season marked the first time that the MLB playoffs would have a one-game playoff between two wild card teams. Also, the first time that the home-field advantage team would begin the series away from home. The first two games would begin away, and the remaining three would be at home. MLB was under heavy scrutiny because many thought that it wasn’t fair for the home-field advantage team to begin on the road. What would happen if they lost those two games? Would they have won those two games at home? I was one of those people. But this year’s playoffs have been one of the most exciting ones we’ve ever seen, and I believe it’s because of the new format.
All four first round series’ were decided in the series deciding game 5. That’s the first time that has happened since 1995, when the wild card teams were introduced. The San Francisco Giants became the first team to comeback from being down 0-2 and win their series. The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles series had two of the final three games go into extra innings. The Detroit Tigers were able to stop the Oakland Athletics magical season with Justin Verlander going the distance in game 5. And the Washington Nationals had their hearts broken by the St. Louis Cardinals, who never seem give up.
And then it was down to four.
St. Louis Cardinals vs San Francisco Giants
The battle of the past two World Series winner’s. The Cardinals had yet another amazing comeback to win a playoff game despite being down two runs and down to their final strike. Is it a coincidence that in both games, they were down 5-7? Or how about that they beat Washington, and the Texas Rangers came from Washington? Of course those facts have nothing to do with it, but I find facts like that interesting. But the Giants are no easy foe and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Giants came back from down 0-2 to win their series to a tough Cincinnati Reds team that I had going to the World Series. Great pitching and timely hits are the way both of these teams get their win’s and when it comes down to it, defense wins championships. This series could take all seven games before a winner can advance to the World Series, but no matter how many games it takes, give me the Cardinals. The Cardinals are the best team I’ve ever seen that find ways to win when they have their back’s against the wall. I have the Cardinals in six games and the defending champs will find themselves back in the World Series looking to repeat, without Albert Pujols.
Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees
In the National League you have the past two World Series champions. While in the American League, you have the past two ALCS losers. In my opinion, the Yankees have been the most interesting team in this year’s playoffs. Alex Rodriguez has struggled in the postseason (though you shouldn’t be surprised) and Raul Ibanez has been the Yankees post-season hero. Rodriguez has been struggling so much, that Joe Girardi benched him in the win or go home game 5. How much playing time will A-Rod see in the ALCS? That remains to be seen, but Rodriguez is back in the Yankees lineup for today’s game 1, batting sixth. The Tigers were able to finally beat the Athletics when it seemed like nobody would be able to and the Tigers have the best pitching rotation left in the playoffs. They have the best pitcher in baseball with Verlander. With the Yankees struggling and Tigers playing well, I have the Tigers winning in five games. The Yankees will be the team most affected by having to play a game 5. They would’ve really liked having C.C. Sabathia going out there for game 1.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the playoffs have in store for us. Even if your favorite team is out, like mine, continue to watch because this could be one of the post-season’s everybody will be talking about for years.