…and then there were four
After a week and a half of post-season play, we are already down to four teams, but that’s not to say the division series will soon be forgotten. Only days before they were set to begin, the AL West champion Oakland Athletics were in mourning for the newborn son of one of their pitchers, Pat Neshek. Gehrig John Neshek died suddenly only 23 hours after he was born. Yet three days later, Neshek bravely took the mound in during the 7th inning of game one of the American League Division Series against Detroit on October 6th. With the last season surge providing the opportunity for the A’s to snatch the AL West division title from the Rangers and the death of the newborn, many were rooting for this underdog club. However, the Tigers took the series just this past Thursday and are now facing the New York Yankees, who defeated their AL East rival Baltimore Orioles in that division series, in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) just as they did back in 2006.
While the National League division series didn’t suffer any tragedies, it was marred by controversy. The decision to shut Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the season in September came back to haunt the Washington Nationals as they became unable to make up for his absence in the NLDS, losing to the St Louis Cardinals last Friday. Now the Cardinals will be facing the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS beginning tonight in the city by the bay. This will be an interesting series to watch as the Cardinals were crowned World Champions last year and the Giants in 2010. Both have fire in their bellies and incredibly talented rosters which makes it hard to call a winner in this one.
Back over in the American League we’ve already seen some drama between the
Tigers and the Yankees. Last night in the Bronx, the Yankees lost Derek Jeter during a play that fractured his left ankle, causing him to be out for the rest of the post-season. The Yankees went on to lose the game in 12 innings, and lost once again tonight in New York. The best of seven series now heads to the Motor City with the Tigers up two games to none. Once the CLS are wrapped up, the National League winner will play host to the American League winner starting on October 24th. This too will be a best of seven series with the National League having the home field advantage in four of the seven games.