LDS Preview Part 1 of 2: Who Ya Got?
ALDS: Athletics v. Tigers 6:07 PM TBS
On December 9, 2011, the Oakland A’s traded Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow to Arizona. In return they received, Ryan Cook, Collin Cowgill and their Game 1 LDS starter, Jarrod Parker.
If you are one of those baseball fans that hate Billy Beane, enjoy rooting against the best story in baseball through October. Oakland represents everything that is great about the sport – it’s not about how you look on paper, but how you play on the field.
Oakland finished an improbable finish, coming back from 13 games back on June 30th and 5 games under .500 to win the AL West and doing so by beating the two time AL champions.
If that doesn’t impress you with their roster, then there’s nothing anybody can say to open your eyes to an amazing story and team.
Not to be outdone is the Detroit Tigers. On June 30th, they too were under .500 (2 games), and 4 games back of the Chicago White Sox for the division.
They were lead by Triple Crown winner league MVP Miguel Cabrera and here they are in the playoffs with probably the best pitcher in the game.
This is a tricky series, because everybody is bought in to Oakland right now. They are the Gonzaga of this tournament, but I feel as though they are the Gonzaga you now expect to win – not the one you are surprised when they win.
This series is going to come down to whether or not the Tigers’ other starters can shut down the A’s lineup which has lead all of baseball in HR since the All-Star break. The best news for Detroit, is that in a 5 game series, you have Verlander throwing twice if you can get just 1 win from before Game 4.
Of all the playoff teams, Detroit hits with the greatest success when there are 2 outs and runners in scoring position. In 2011, the team that bragged that same stat was the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. 2010 it was Texas, who obviously didn’t win it all – but they got to the Series.
I’m pretty conflicted in this series because I truly feel Miguel Cabrera deserves so much more attention than he got for his Triple Crown achievement, but I also love the Oakland story. I think it’s fascinating to see what they did this year, and I think it’s a story every baseball fan should appreciate.
At the end of the day though, I believe Detroit just has too much of an advantage here. They have the best starting pitcher that could give them 2 wins, and they have 2 amazing sluggers that Oakland would be lucky to have (even as good as Oakland was).
I think Porcello or Fister could get Detroit through to a win, and the youth of Oakland’s pitching is a big wildcard and can cost them in the long run.
I think it goes 5, and I think it’s a great series, but I’m taking Detroit.
AL LDS Staff Picks
Oakland: Jim Mancari, Clare Lafferty, Jessica DeMattia
Detroit: Jessep, Greg Hopps, Michael Barrett, Tie Dyed, Joe D, Ed Leyro, Clayton Collier, Mitch Petanick, Xtreemicon
NLDS: Reds v. Giants 9:37 PM TBS
I think this will be the series that almost nobody watches. There always seems to be that one series that captures a drastic difference in ratings. This is it.
People may forget, the Giants are only 2 regular seasons removed from winning it all. This is a team with sneaky experience. They know how to win the big game, and they are ridiculously hot right now going 19-8 in September.
The Giants have a Cy Young candidate in Matt Cain, followed by two guys who would be #1 starters for a lot of teams in Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum.
The Giants are a team that was written off by many people because of the acquisitions by the Dodgers. Yet, they persevered and won the division pretty quietly.
The Reds are an interesting team because last year was a huge bust for them after a 91 win season in 2010. 2010 playoffs began with Roy Halladay tossing a no hitter. They probably didn’t even need to play the final 2 games after that.
Unlike San Francisco, the Reds can beat you big time with the bats. Votto, Phillips, Ludwick, and Bruce give the Giants a lot to worry about.
You have to also give the bullpen edge to the Reds. The Giants are no slouches in the pen, but they simply cannot match up against a bullpen with a 2.65 ERA in Cincinnati.
Still, the starting pitching overall tips heavily in favor of the Giants. While Johnny Cueto had a Cy Young campaign (though he shouldn’t win), Bronson Arroyo and Mat Latos do not match up well against Bumgarner and Lincecum.
The Giants are going to live and die by their experienced starting pitching. They won’t be able to outslug the Reds and when things get close and late, the Reds have a huge advantage on the mound.
I’m taking the Giants because I just cannot see Cueto-Arroyo-Latos out pitching Cain-Bumgarner-Lincecum.
NL LDS Staff Picks
Cincinnati: Jim Mancari, Greg Hopps, Jessica DeMattia, Michael Barrett, Joe D, Clayton Collier, Xtreemicon
San Francisco: Jessep, Clare Lafferty, Tie Dyed, Ed Leyro, Mitch Petanick
Back tomorrow with the other 2 LDS series’ as well as the staff championship predictions!
In these two series, we’re wondering – who ya got?
About the Author: Michael J. Branda
My time with MMO began in July of 2009 when I wrote a Fan Post defending Omar Minaya (before it was cool to do that.) I grew up a Mets fan with the mid 1980's teams. My favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, I like to think I meet in the middle. I believe thinking of new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the same way has not produced results. However, I think over-thinking certain situations can get you into trouble. I'm excited for the new regime, because I believe they have pieces in place to focus on several aspects of the Mets organization. I've waited this long for a World Series, waiting a few more years for another chance isn't going to kill me.
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