Anthony Beers, Staff Writer
American League Championship Series:
New York Yankees: The Baltimore Orioles were the underdog of the American League East this year and surprised the baseball world when they earned a wild card spot in the postseason. Defeating the New York Yankees in the postseason after many years of agony for Orioles fans would have been the ultimate revenge. Time and time again they have been towards the bottom of the division while the Yankees have been on top. But the Yankees proved once again they are still top dog behind excellent pitching from C.C. Sabathia. There was great pitching from both teams in this series, but Sabathia’s four hit complete game shutout in Game 5 showed the world that the Yankees were still the best. They are in the ALCS yet again in search of their 28th World Series title.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers overcame the magical Oakland Athletics and put out the flame that was the A’s postseason run. The A’s had recently shocked baseball fans everywhere by stealing the American League West from the Texas Rangers. When they matched up against the Detroit Tigers, who won the weakest division in baseball, a lot of experts thought that the A’s would ride their momentum to a victory. When the Tigers jumped to a quick 2-0 start in the series, it seemed like the A’s luck might finally be gone. But then they came back and won two straight games to push it to a Game 5, until finally Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander ended the A’s postseason run. The Tigers earned a trip to the ALCS and Verlander looked like he was on a completely different level.
Prediction: The Yankees and Tigers survived the exciting underdogs in the Orioles and A’s during the divisional series and proved that experience in the postseason goes a long way. Both teams were able to succeed on the backs of their aces, the Yankees with Sabathia and the Tigers with Verlander. Both pitched Game 5’s, so expect their starts to have an even great importance this series. Triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera will look to continue his record season and get the Tigers to the World Series, while the Yankees have to deal with the season ending injury to captain Derek Jeter. This series will come down to which team has the better ace. The answer to that question is tough but with Verlander, the Tigers will win in 7.
National League Championship Series:
St. Louis Cardinals: Despite losing superstar Albert Pujols to free agency and manager Tony La Russa to retirement, the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals haven’t lost a beat. It came as a shock to the baseball world when the Cardinals defeated the mighty Washington Nationals, who had the best regular season record in baseball. The Cardinals were up 2-1 in the series but Jayson Werth’s walkoff home run in Game 4 forced there to be a Game 5. The Nationals were up 7-5 in the top of the ninth but the Cardinals unbelievably put together a 4 run rally off Nationals reliever Drew Storen to eventually win the game, 9-7. It was a thrilling victory that propelled the Cardinals to the NLCS yet again.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants were finished. They were down 2-0 to the National League Central champion Cincinnati Reds and appeared to be doomed. But somehow, the Giants saw the light. In an unbelievable comeback, the Giants ripped off three straight wins, stealing the series from Cincinnati and earning a trip to the NLCS. Catcher Buster Posey hit a grand slam in Game 5 that was pivotal to the Giants getting a lead on the Reds with a 6 run rally. The Reds desperately tried to come back but their resistance was futile as the Giants had put together the unthinkable and won three straight to take the series.
Prediction: Both teams have put together unbelievable runs to get to this point, and have been to the World Series very recently. The Cardinals are the defending champions, and the Giants won two years prior behind dominant pitcher Tim Lincecum. During that time span however, Lincecum is no longer a member of the Giants playoff pitching rotation, and has been demoted to bullpen duty after a tough season that surprised baseball fans everywhere. Both teams have aces in Matt Cain and Adam Wainwright, but due to the fact that the Cardinals have been able to overcome so much this season already, they are the favorites to win this series. The Giants have shown they have heart, but the Cardinals will win this series in the end in 6 or 7.