We watched in glee as the Tigers rolled over the mighty Yankees, sweeping their ALDS, and marching towards a date in the World Series. We held our breath, however, as the Giants got off to a 1-3 start against the Cardinals, but, no worry, Bruce Bochy’s crew exhibited the fortitude and talent we saw in them, and came back to win the last three, to face Detroit in the Series.
As far as the Yankees are concerned, a couple of guys deserve a fair share of the blame for their embarrassing defeat, besides Joe Girardi that is. First, kudos to Girardi’s choice as the Yankee third baseman over Rodriguez, trojan brain surgeon Eric Chavez, whose game three error led to Detroit’s winning run, and who hit a glorious .000 on an oh-for-16 during the playoffs. That sort of makes Rodriguez’ .120 look pretty good, huh?
Also deserving a grand slice of the credit is CC Sabathia, who has to go down in baseball lore as one of the relatively few pitchers considered in the top echelon of starters of his generation, but who have been total busts in big-time playoff games. In 2007 while toiling for the Indians, Carsten Charles was 0-2 with an ERA of 10.45 in the ALCS. In 2008 while with Milwaukee, his team got no further than the Division series, thanks in large part to CC’s 12.27 ERA. He did win a couple of games in the ALCS for the Yankees in 2009, but in case you forgot, even in New York’s winning 2009 World Series, “Ace” CC failed to win a game in his two starts. Then of course was his epic game four start against Detroit just last week, where the Yankee faithful knew he would not only keep the team from being swept, but would turn the tide, ignite the team, and lead them to a comeback, just like the 2004 Red Sox. Not exactly. Ole CC went out for that last-chance start and held Detroit to six runs (But only five earned!) in almost four full innings, losing the game, the series, and the season, 8-1.
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|The Giants dominated St. Louis over those last three games, outscoring the Cards, 20-1, thanks to outstanding starting pitching, timely hitting, and the gutsy play, hitting, defense, and leadership of series MVP Marco Scutaro. But we were wrong about one key element, that thankfully the Giants were able to overcome. All that great pitching did not include the performance of the former Giants’ ace that we thought would be a key to their winning the series. We were wrong, at least so far, about TIm Lincecum. He failed in the start we thought would be the beginning of the road to victory, and our thought that he should be the game one starter in the World Series|
does need reconsideration, especially since he had done so well out of the bullpen. It would be a surprise if Bochy did anything other than keep as his top three starters Cain, Vogelsong, and Zito. When it comes to number four, though, unless there is more rain in the offing, Bochy will have to choose between Lincecum and the tired arm of Madison Bumgarner. We suspect his choice will be Bumgarner.
This leads in part, to the question of the evening – who will win the World Series? For the same reasons we felt that Detroit would run through other AL playoff teams, the fact that they have both the hottest and top-producing hitter and hottest and top-producing starter now playing in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, they should win the series. A secondary reason is that Detroit can also put out there four hot starters in Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez, while the Giants can only currently hit it with three. Conversely though, and a real area for concern in making this pick, is the Detroit bullpen. Never a fan of Jose Valverde, and despite his fine season, his performance so far this post season has been abysmal, losing his job temporarily to Phil Coke, who has six regular season saves (and 10 blown saves) in 257 lifetime relief appearances.
The bullpen gives us pause, especially with the depth of the Giants’ pen, even without veteran bullpen star Brain Wilson, but we will stick with the Tigers.