This year’s MLB postseason has been packed with excitement as all four Division Series went five games to decide who would move on to the League Championship Series. This is the first time in the 18-year history of Division Series action that this has happened.
The San Francisco Giants defeated the Cincinnati Reds to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the next round. The Cardinals, with the help of Carlos Beltran, defeated the team with the best record in baseball in the regular season, the Washington Nationals.
The Triple Crown winning Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics, while the ALCS bound New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles.
The Giants advanced to the NLCS on a historic comeback. They rallied back after being down two games to none to win three in a row. With the help of a Scott Rolen error in the 10th inning of game three, Joaquin Arias reached first base allowing Buster Posey to avoid being swept in the series.
“We got a break there at the end,” Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said, per ESPN.com.
In game five, Giants catcher Buster Olney hit a mammoth grand slam to cap off a six-run fifth inning. Matt Cain got the win, in the series clinching victory, throwing 5.2 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out five. The Giants are the first team to overcome a two game deficit to win since the creation of the Division Series in 1995.
The Cardinals also pulled off a momentous comeback to win their series against the Nationals. In the deciding game five, the reigning World Series champs scored four runs in the ninth inning off of Nats pitcher, Dan Storen, to cap off a 9-7 win. Jason Motte, the Cardinals closer, got Ryan Zimmerman to pop out to second base to secure the Division Series victory.
Cardinals’ outfielder Carlos Beltran hit two home runs in their game two victory. He has been on a torrent pace this postseason, batting .444 in the NLDS.
The Cardinals were the last team to clinch a spot in this year’s playoffs. They beat the Atlanta Braves in the National League Wild Card game with the help of a controversial infield fly call.
The Detroit Tigers are back in the ALCS for the second straight year, on the wing of their ace, Justin Verlander. The Cy Young winner and MVP threw a complete game shut-out in game five to fend off the Athletics. This was Verlander’s second win in the ALDS and he has been almost unhittable. In the series, he threw 16 innings and posted a 0.56 ERA with 22 strike-outs.
Similarly, the New York Yankees won their series and advanced to the ALCS for the 15th time in team history, riding the arm of their best pitcher on the staff. C.C. Sabathia threw a complete game four hitter, in game five, to clinch their series against the Orioles. This was Sabathia’s second win this series, posting a 1.53 ERA with 16 strike-outs.
Raul Ibanez saved the Yankees in game three when he pinch hit for Alex Rodriquez and hit a solo game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth against Orioles closer Jim Johnson. This was the first home run that Johnson has given up to a Yankee all season.
The script could not have been written any better for the Yankees and Ibanez when the pinch-hitter stepped to the plate in the 12th inning. He connected on the first pitch from Brian Matusz and sent it flying over the fence to walk the Yankees off in their game three victory. Ibanez, uncharacteristically pinch hitting for the great Alex Rodriguez, is the first player in postseason history to hit two home runs in a game that he did not start. “He said great job. A-Rod is a great teammate and a great team player,” Ibanez said about Rodriquez, per ESPN.com.
If the remainder of the postseason is anything like the Division Series, baseball fans are sure to have a great month of October.
By Billy Felo