League Championship Series Picks

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

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ImageWhat a foursome of Division Series we had this past week. It all culminated in one of the most spectacular comebacks in recent memory, as the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals wiped the “Natitude” right off the faces of Washington and their fans. That puts to an end the cinderella seasons of the Nationals, Athletics, and Orioles. Even the Reds, who took a 2-0 series lead over San Francisco home to cozy Great American Ballpark, failed to advance and have yet to win a postseason game at GAB (0-4). 

That leaves us with four playoff seasoned units with their eyes set on the championship, including the last three champions (2011 – St. Louis, 2010 – San Francisco, 2009 – New York). Detroit, meanwhile, returns to the ALCS for the second straight year and third time in seven seasons. They’ll aim to advance to their first World Series since 2006 where they will attempt to win their first World Series championship since 1984 and fifth overall. 

In the ALCS, both the Yankees and Tigers have lineups strewn with stars who have yet to come alive in the playoffs. Much publicity was made with Alex Rodriguez’s woes at the dish that ultimately led to his benching in game five against Baltimore. The Yankees will need him to rebound if they have any hope of overcoming a Detroit team headlined by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and 2011 MVP Justin Verlander. Cabrera has dominated the Yankees in his career to the tune of a .356 average with 15 home runs and 37 RBI in 40 games. Meanwhile, Verlander has struck out nearly a batter an inning and is 5-4, 3.74 in his career vs. New York. The Tigers defeated the Yankees in five games in last year’s ALDS. It is for all of these reasons, including the lack of depth in the Yankees’ rotation, that I must choose Detroit in 6 games. If New York’s offense revives itself, perhaps they could take it seven. However, there is just too much age and not enough production at this point to suggest that New York will be heading to their first World Series since 2009.

In the NLCS, the Giants and Cardinals meet in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, when San Francisco defeated St. Louis in 5 games to advance to the World Series. The Cardinals’ are headlined by playoff hero David Freese and OF Matt Holliday. Meanwhile, Matt Cain, Buster Posey, and Madison Bumgarner give Giants fans hopes for their second pennant in three years. St. Louis’ likely game one starter, Lance Lynn, is 0-1 against San Francisco this year. He went 6 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 ER. Meanwhile, Giants’ ace Matt Cain has looked rather pedestrian in his career against the Cardinals. In 8 starts, Cain has gone 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA. The 28-year-old has been spectacular in the playoffs over his career, however, going 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA (he had not allowed an earned run in three playoff starts prior to this year’s NLDS). It’s going to be a great series. But, I have to go with the Cardinals in 7. St. Louis has not lost an elimination game since 2009 when they were swept by Los Angeles. I don’t think that San Francisco will have enough offense to support a strong pitching staff. 

A Cardinals-Tigers World Series is the SkoodSports prediction. It would be the third time in history that these two franchises have met in the Fall Classic. In 1968, the Tigers triumphed in seven games after falling behind 3-1 in the series. Then, in 2006, St. Louis got redemption in five games to win the title two years after being swept by Boston. 

If the World Series matchup is Giants-Tigers; it will be the first time in history that these two teams have met for a championship. 

Should San Francisco and New York both advance, it would be yet another in a long line of Fall Classic match-ups between these two historic teams. Since moving to San Francisco, the Giants and Yankees have met in the World Series just once (1962, 4-3 Yankees). But, including their time in New York, the Giants have dueled with the Bronx Bombers in the Series a total of seven times (1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, 1937, 1951, 1962). The Yankees lead that series, 5-2. 

Finally, should the Cardinals and Yankees both advance to their second Fall Classic in four years, it would be their fifth matchup in league history. The two had previously met in the World Series in 1928, 1942, 1943,  and 1964 with each team taking two of the previous series. 

 

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