The American League Championship Series will feature the Kansas City Royals (first time since 1985) and Baltimore Orioles (first time since 1997) as both teams swept their opponents in the "second" round of the playoffs. Future Cub James Shields pitched strong ball, while the Orioles scored just enough to squeak by.
As many have noted, the two teams that went balls to the wall (the A's and Tigers) to get their aces couldn't even win one postseason game. The teams that, relatively speaking, stood pat, and are moving on. It's really too bad because David Price didn't pitch poorly, and neither did Jon Lester, but that's baseball for ya. Oakland may retool this offseason depending on what Billy Beane thinks about his window of opportunity, but Detroit has some issues:
Not only did Detroit bomb out in embarrassing fashion, Scherzer, V-Mart, Hunter free agents, bullpen still a mess, Price one year from FA.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 5, 2014
That doesn't include HUGE contract extensions to Justin Verlander (slumpy) and Miguel Cabrera (still good, but getting old) that have yet to kick in. The Tigers may have deep pockets, but their financial flexibility is about as close to nonexistent as I think one can get. Meanwhile, the Angels have their own problems to deal with, including one Josh Hamilton:
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 6, 2014
Oh my. That sounds very bad.
Let's check out one of the more fun things though, as Billy Butler (yes, that one) stole a base:
— MLB Fan Cave (@MLBFanCave) October 6, 2014
Also, if it is true that the Cubs are looking for a veteran lefty reliever, Andrew Miller did pretty well in the series against the Tigers...
Andrew Miller is an impending free agent #thinking
— Rice Cube (@CubicSnarkonia) October 5, 2014
There are other things to think about, like hoping that fans will be able to tune in for some of these exciting games, that young fans will be drawn in for the next generation of baseball, and that offense will pick up (lots of low-scoring games so far) and so will the pace of the game (MLB is setting up a committee and testing new regulations to speed up game action). For now, we will enjoy the series that just ended and hope that the National Leaguers will follow this up with a good show of their own.
I've been sick all week, but it's nice to have baseball to pass the time with. These first games of the postseason have certainly been wonderful. Long live baseball.