This year’s MLB playoffs have already been pretty darn good. Granted, the Texas vs. Tampa series was a little anticlimactic–considering the crazy ride that Tampa took to get that Wild-Card spot. However, Texas was the better team and showed it in four quick games. Considering how the other series have been going though, Texas vs. Tampa was arguably the least exciting.
On the flipside, the other teams that are playing in the postseason are certainly making things exciting for baseball fans. In the NLDS, the Cardinals–who, because Atlanta choked themselves out, barely squeaked into the postseason–were going up against the juggernaut Phillies (who have the best record in the MLB this year). Needless to say, nobody predicted the red birds would last long. Game one certainly seemed to prove everyone right (the final score was Phi: 11, St. Louis: 6). However, the games have flip-flopped (with St. Louis winning games two and four), forcing a decisive game 5. The Cardinals beat all odds against, arguably, the best team in baseball to get to where they are now. Hopefully Game five is just is as exciting as the others have been.
The ALDS was just as exciting. Whenever the Yankees are in a playoff series, people will watch just to see if they lose (because you either love, or hate, the Yankees). Even though the Yankees haven’t won for a few years, they are always built to be a major threat in the playoffs. So, they are never a team to be taken lightly. In Game one of the ALDS, they certainly proved that point. The Yankees beat the Tigers 9-3. Detroit rallyed to take Games two (which prompted Tiger’s closer Jose Valverde to predict a series win vs. the Yankees for the Tigers) and three. The Yankees roared back in Game four to beat the Tigers 10-1. This forced yet another Game 5.
The Tigers held the Yankees to two runs (while scoring three quick runs in the first five innings themselves). The Tigers spent the next four nail-biting innings trying to protect that lead. In the bottom of the ninth, it was up to Valverde to back up his prediction. Valverde was vindicated, and the Yankees were sent packing.
Lastly, and in my opinion, the most exciting series thus far: Arizona vs. Milwaukee. The Brewers jumped all over both Diamondback aces in the first two games in Milwaukee to embarrass the snakes. The Brewers went in to Arizona to deliver the knockout punch and start resting up for their series against the winner of Cardinals-Phillies. However, what no one realized was that Arizona was the best come-from-behind team this season. The Diamondbacks rallied around two unlikely heroes, pitchers Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders. Collmenter held Milwaukee hitters to one run in Game 3, while Diamondback hitters went crazy; Paul Goldschmidt had a grand slam in Game 3 to propel the snakes to an 8-1 victory. In Game 4, Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam to give the Dbacks a 10-6 victory over the Brewers. So, like they’ve been doing all year, the Diamondbacks came from behind to force a Game 5 in Milwaukee.
If the playoffs continue as they started, we are set for quite an October. Unlikely teams that were down-and-out of the playoffs have come back to punch their October ticket, while others that had seemingly unbeatable rosters have faded away (i.e. Atlanta, New York and Boston). Baseball is America’s past time, and it’s because of series like these that make it that way.