|Tigers, Rangers to advance in AL||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 30, 2011
Wednesday was a night of baseball to remember.¬† In the span of minutes, two teams that had been prohibitive favorites coming into the month of September had been eliminated.¬† Instead, the Rays and Cardinals were playoff bound, the Braves were packing their bags for the winter, and the Red Sox had displaced the Mets as the poster boys for all-time epic September collapses.
While it was a night the Sox and Braves and their fans would like to forget, it was perhaps one of the greatest nights of televised baseball ever.¬† And the only relevant game that was a snoozer was the Cards-Astros match up which not surprisingly was a bit of a laugher.
But for those watching, or flipping between, Atlanta-Philly, Yankees-Rays or Orioles-Sox the games couldn't have been any better with each of them ending, one after the other in dramatic walk-off fashion, with just enough time between each finish that you didn't have to miss the end of a single one.
All that drama adds up to a playoff picture that even a week ago no one could have foreseen.¬† With that in mind let's take a quick look at the ALDS matchups.
The highlights will be the pitching duel in game one and potentially game four, where Tigers ace and heavy Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander will battle Cy Young contender CC Sabathia in what everyone expect to be a low scoring game.
If the Tigers' No. 2 or 3 pitchers can stand up and deliver against the Yankees offense, the Tigers can win this series.¬† If they can't, the Yankees will win this series.
Prediction: Tigers in 5
Rays v. Rangers -- The other American League matchup will be the Rays and Rangers.¬† This series has the potential to be the best of the first round although it's easy to imagine that the Rays might be at a disadvantage due to a Rangers offense that scored 148 more runs during the regular season.¬† Some of that might be explained by the differences in home ball parks, but the Rays were definitely middle of the road when it came to offense.
But the Rays didn't get here by just winning the wild card, but by having wild card skill sets.¬† Their pitching was the second best in the American League, and their starters aren't just consistent but can seemingly become aces sometime at the drop of a hat.
And while the Rangers pitchers aren't all that shabby, it does take a bit of a stretch of the imagination to really believe that C.J. Wilson is an ace pitcher.
Prediction: Rangers in 5