Column: October baseball has seen roller coaster battles
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 00:10
As the World Series quickly approaches, one may wonder who will win it all. The four teams left are statistically very similar, so it is hard to tell which group will step it up to become the champions. At the end of the regular season, each team had over 90 wins. The Red Sox and Cardinals both racked up 97 wins, while the Tigers had 93 wins and the Dodgers had 92.
Both the American League and National League Championship Series have been exciting battles thus far. Most fans, including myself, would have liked to watch a battle between the East Coast and West Coast with the Red Sox against the Dodgers; but realistically from what I’ve seen in the past several games, I think it will be a battle between the Red Sox and Cardinals.
In the National League Championship series the Cardinals were able to defeat the Dodgers in the first two games to have a 2-0 advantage over Los Angeles. The Cardinals set the tone and started off strong with a win in game one where in the 13th inning Carlos Beltran broke the tie when he hit an RBI single allowing Daniel Descalso to score the winning run.
However in Game 3, the Dodgers were able to get back into the series with the help of pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu held the Cardinals scoreless for seven innings and only gave up three hits. During the bottom of the fourth the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double, plating Mark Ellis to score the team’s first run. Next at bat, Yasiel Puig hammered the ball into deep right field. It looked like it was a home run but it didn’t quite make it, however, Puig still managed to get to third base while Gonzalez on second base scored giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Hanley Ramirez sealed the deal hitting a single in the bottom of the eighth inning allowing Carl Crawford to score the last run of the game. With this win, the Dodgers were able to come back into the seven game series at 2-1.
The Dodgers showed real potential in small doses throughout the series, especially in game three, but the team was too inconsistent thus allowing the Cardinals to capitalize. The Cardinals remained a strong force throughout each of their games and were able to use this to their advantage.
In the Red Sox-Tigers Game 1, the Tigers were two outs shy of having a no hitter. Five pitchers struck out 17 batters and would have had the first ever combined no hitter in post-season play. The Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta singled the ball to center field allowing Miguel Cabrera to score the only run in the game. The Red Sox did not look like the consistent and dominant team we saw in regular season. If they kept playing like they did in Game 1, they would surely be out of the playoffs in no time.
In the early stages of game two, it seemed to be a reoccurring pattern for the Red Sox as the Tigers were up 5-0 at the top of the fifth. At the bottom of the fifth the Sox managed to squeak out one run, but that wasn’t enough to make the game close and exciting. It wasn’t until the bottom of the eighth when the real Red Sox seemed to shine through in the series. David Ortiz hit a grand slam erasing the Tigers lead to tie up the game at five all. The Tigers could not perform under pressure in the top of the ninth, thereby allowing Boston to sweep away their lead when Johny Gomes scored the last run of the game to win 6-5. The Sox continued their winning streak into Game 3 to win 1-0 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. Ortiz’s grand slam was the turning point for the Red Sox. From this key at bat, the team was able to gain momentum. It will be a challenge to stop this team now that they are on a roll.
As expected, both series have had a roller coaster of events with numerous high and low points throughout the games. Based off of what we have seen so far, the World Series will be a close battle. Stay tuned for an intense seven games for the World Series title.