Well let me say, “The ALDS turned out EXACTLY like I predicted”…said NO baseball fan, or writer anywhere! And if you claim you predicted this outcome with a double sweep of the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels by the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals respectively, you my friend, are lying.
Beginning in about June, many smart baseball people were talking about an American League Championship match up between supposedly the best pitching rotation in baseball and the best offense in baseball with this two teams being the Tigers and Angels. This will not be the case in 2014.
Starting in the Tigers and Orioles series, the Tigers’ pitching staff gave up 12, 7 and 1 runs respectively. Granted, in game one, 8 of those 12 runs were given up in an epic 8th inning collapse, but at the end of the day, starting rotation or bull pen, these Tigers pitchers were not good enough to win this series. Over in the Angels and Royals series, the Halos put up 2, 1, and 3 runs per game respectively. This is a team that bolsters 3 time NL MVP Albert Pujols, 2 time AL MVP runner up Mike Trout and AL Comeback Player of the Year and AL MVP Josh Hamilton. Inept is not a strong enough word to describe the Angels hitters.
I don’t want to focus on the major ‘disappointments’ though, as I’d rather talk about the positive stories that have come out of the ALDS. Let’s talk about the teams that actually WON and are now one step closer to a World Series title. The Royals put on a clinic in all facets of the game from starting pitching, bull pen depth, base stealing, hitting for power and defense. Basically the only aspect there that jumps out is the hitting for power aspect, as the Royals became the first team in baseball history to finish last in the majors in home runs and make the playoffs. 24 year old Eric Hosmer had 2 himself this series. The victor in the other series, the Orioles were led by star Nelson Cruz who continued his road to redemption by going 6 for 12 with 2 home runs and helped beat the Angels at their own game. The Os bull pen was far superior than the Tigers and in another way that surprised no one their defense was superior.
I’m actually pretty pumped about these results as a fan of baseball because it’s nice to see some old franchises who have been in a long drought of mediocrity (which is being nice) have some success. The Royals have been out of the playoffs for 29 years (yeah…there are multiple generations of Royals fans that don’t understand what the playoffs are) and the Orioles have been basically irrelevant in the playoffs since the mid ‘90s under Davey Johnson competing (but losing) in the ALCS in back to back years in ’96 and ’97. These are teams with young cores that have worked hard for these results. They don’t have many big flashy stars on the mound or batters box. These teams do it with smart managing, great defense, timely hitting and strong pitching. Basically they’re built and perform the way traditional baseball teams have been.
Baseball purist should expect a classic in the ALCS.
Photo Credit: latinpost.com