Alive for Five
What an amazing week-and-a-half of baseball we’ve had, courtesy of the wild card format. The playoff picture wasn't decided until the season's final day, when four different games decided the postseason fate of four different teams. The Braves and Red Sox went home, while the Cardinals and Rays, who were both left for dead a month ago, advanced to the postseason.
Thanks to the wild card the first round consists of four, five-game division series. For the third time in MLB history, the division series offer three different Game 5 scenarios.
In the American League, the Texas Rangers hit four solo home runs, three of them by Adrian Beltre, to beat the Tampa Bay Rays three games to one. Rays manager Joe Maddon Tweeted this following the game: “Had a postgame toast in the clubhouse. Told them I couldn’t be more proud. Back in April I toasted the best 0-6 team ever. I was right.”
The Rangers await the winner of the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers match-up. The Yankees and Tigers have gone back and forth all series and are tied at two games apiece. Game 5 takes place at 7 p.m. today. Detroit is starting Doug Fister, whom they acquired in a mid-season trade from the Seattle Mariners. Fister is 0-1 in the playoffs with a 11.57 ERA. The Yankees are starting Ivan Nova, who beat Fister in the rain-suspended Game 1. Gazettextra.com user "Badgerlvr" added the "Anyone But the Yankees" fan to the Fan List in my previous post and I would classify myself as that type of fan. Go Detroit!
In the National League the Cardinals and Phillies have also alternated victories to put their series at 2-2. Game 5 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night in Philadelphia; Chris Carpenter (0-0) will face Roy Halladay (1-0). I have no preference who wins this game. I would welcome and enjoy a seven-game series against either team.
The third and final Game 5 is the one most of us await. The Milwaukee Brewers were the only team to take a 2-0 lead but, after dropping two out in Arizona, find themselves in a win-or-go-home game to be played tomorrow afternoon (4:07 p.m.). This will be the same match-up we had in the Brewers' Game 1 victory as Yovani Gallardo (1-0) takes on Ian Kennedy (0-1). So far this series has proven the value of home-field advantage for the Crew.
Home-field advantage would be the only reason I would have a preference in who wins the Cardinals/Phillies series. We finished six games ahead of the Cardinals in the regular season, which means if they beat the Phils, Game 1 of the National League Championship Series will be played Sunday in Miller Park . If the Phillies win the NLDS, the Crew's first home game will be Wednesday. I know, we need to win this series first -- but I’m just stating the facts, ma’am.
Not quite the level of drama as a World Series Game 7, but we have three Game 5s in the next two days. Will you tune into any or all? Which teams will advance to the next round?
Tim Thompson is a carsalesman, farmer, and huge fan of the Milwaukee Brewers. He lives in Milton area with his wife and two kids. Tim is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.