Drew Friedman ‘16 and Mike Morgan ‘16
September marks the beginning of the MLB postseason. Rivalries are formed, aces go up against batting champions and silver sluggers, and what took five months to get to is determined in a matter of four weeks. The postseason is intense, entertaining, and gut-wrenching.
What makes baseball different from all other sports is there is the lack of a maximum time limit. A game can go on for eight hours and 25 minutes, an MLB record, or can end in less than the length of a football game. This spectrum gives baseball its unique characteristics that every avid fan enjoys. You never really know what is going to happen. A team who was in last place in their division halfway through the season could turn it around and win the World Series. That unknown is what makes baseball, baseball.
Drew Friedman: Now that the first round of the playoffs is over, I want to say that I did not see the Los Angeles Angels being swept by the Kansas City Royals, nor did I see the Detroit Tigers being swept by the Baltimore Orioles. Both the Angels and the Tigers have the best pitching staffs in the American League, along with the Oakland A’s who lost in the play-in game against the Royals in 12 innings. My predictions going forward include a championship round of the Giants defeating the Cardinals in six games, and the Royals beating the Orioles in seven games. The Royals are the most clutch team in baseball at the moment. It seems like they have caught the postseason luck that led the Giants to victory in 2012, and have one of the youngest teams in baseball. While this might be an Achilles’ heel, I believe that the youth will help carry them through the playoffs. I am taking the Royals in six games. In the other series, the Giants have too much success in the playoffs in the last decade not to root for them. In both cases I’m rooting for the underdog, because who doesn’t like the underdog story?
Mike Morgan: When I make predictions, I mostly just go with my gut. Can I really picture the Royals sweeping the Tigers? Can I envision the Red Sox coming back from three games to none against the Yanks? I did not see either of these coming. That ALCS in 2004 was a dark time for me as a Yankee fan, but I think I’ve moved past it.
So, quite honestly, I did not see the Royals completing the sweep. Here’s a team that is making its first postseason appearance since 1985. They are a team that has been notoriously bad since that time and a team that barely crept past the A’s in the Wild Card game. And now they’re into the ALCS in just three games. Are you serious?
That being said, I don’t see the Royals winning this series. The Royals really stole a win against the A’s in that Wild Card game, and I mean that literally and figuratively. The Royals stole seven bases that game. They undoubtedly have the best base-running in baseball, which is crucial for a team that does not hit for power. This season the Royals finished first in the American League in stolen bases, but dead last in home runs.
Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman will most likely start two games in the series. This season he has only conceded one stolen base on four attempts. The Royals will have trouble running their way through these games the way they have all season. I don’t see the Royals winning either of these games barring an off day from Tillman. I think it’s going to be a good series, but I’ll take the Orioles in seven.
As for the National League, there’s no lack of postseason experience on either side. The last four NL champions have been the Giants in 2010, Cardinals in 2011, Giants in 2012, and the Cardinals in 2013. Even though the Giants won the regular season series 4-3 and outscored the Cardinals 30-20, the Cardinals have been hot down the stretch and have looked impressive thus far in the postseason. Not to mention how clutch they have been facing one of the game’s best pitchers, Clayton Kershaw. The Cardinals became the first team to come back from four or more runs against Kershaw. He was previously 67-0 when receiving such run support. I’m taking the Cardinals in six.