Almanac Baseball: Divisional Wrap

Today the Red Sox beat the Astros to level the American League Championship Series at 1-all. The National League is in the same boat, so now both the ALCS and the NLCS are essentially best of five series. Each of the four teams slugging it out had to prevail in races of the same length in the four Divisional series.

In the NLDS, the Brewers jumped out of the blocks and clobbered the Rockies 3-0. The boys from Colorado hardly had time to draw breath as their opponents looked very assured with plenty of October experience including two Royals from the 2015 World Series victory – Lorenzo Cain and the Moose (Mike Moustakas). Throw in the cheeky game stealer Curtis Granderson and great pitching stocks and one can see the Milwaukeans going deep. They certainly look a better outfit than their NLCS opponents, The Dodgers. While the Dodgers only dropped one game to the Braves in the NLDS, they look brittle to me with some hitters (notably Yasiel Puig) not bringing it in the clutch situations.

The results in the ALDS mimicked those in the NLDS with the Astros sweeping the Indians and the Red Sox only dropping one game against the Yankees. Last year’s champions, the Astros, are a class outfit. They have aces in Verlander, Cole and Morton and an impressive bullpen. Their hitting is solid from the leadoff MVP of Springer down through Bregman, Altuve and Correa. Like the Brewers, they got on top of their opponents early in the series and ground them down mercilessly.

Then there is The Rivalry! The ALDS showdown across Fenway (first 2 games) and Yankee Stadium (last 2 games) was the fourth postseason meeting of the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry. In accordance with the curse of the Bambino, those show ponies in pin stripes won the 1999 and 2003 ALCS series. But when it was time to put the memory of Babe Ruth to bed the mighty Sox put on a performance for the ages by coming back from 3-0 down to win the 2004 ALCS and then the World Series. That heroic effort, the first time a team had come back from 3-0 down, set up the modern story of Boston and the Red Sox Nation that seems destined for more glory. With two more WS trophies in the cabinet since then, the Sox showed no fear when confronted with the challenge of the Yankees levelling the series at Fenway and them returning home cock-a-hoop. In the 2 wins at Yankee Stadium, the Sox played relentless ball. They were hungry and always seemed to have the answers to any threat. In Game 3, they blew them off the field with 16 big ones – the best postseason performance by a Sox team on the road -and in Game 4 it when down to the last play of the game.

Which team has momentum going into the Pennant races (ALCS and NLCS) will be revealed over the next few days. Can the Astros reach consecutive World Series after a history of faltering in the postseason? Are the Sox destined to build on an historic series win over the Yankees and their best ever regular season? With it being hard to gauge the form guide in the NLCS, will one of those two throw down the gauntlet? Stay tuned, Almanackers, as there is sure to be drama and intrigue aplenty.

 

 

 

About

Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

Comments

  1. Dodgers – Red Sox for mine. Brewers relief pitching looked vulnerable in Game 2. Dodgers will sweep the Chavez Ravine games for a 3-1 win. (Cue some Ry Cooder tex mex tunes).
    Thanks BtR – the morning time zone of the play off games is great for us retirees.

  2. Astros to go back-to-back

  3. Judge? I predicted this (even if I did think it was a 5 game Divisional playoff series). They still payout on 4-3.
    LA Dodgers – Boston Red Sox should be a great bi-coastal World Series.
    Go Dodgers.

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