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October 13, 2012

Playoff Prospectus

ALCS Preview: Tigers and Yankees

by Sam Miller

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After all that funny business, the American League ultimately settled into a scenario quite easily predicted all along: the Tigers against the Yankees in the ALCS. Not that there aren’t still surprises, even with the A’s and Orioles eliminated. The Tigers, for instance, aren’t the 1,000-run Tigers, but a club built on starting pitching good enough to win even when the offense is scoring only three runs per game. And the Yankees are, by choice, fielding an A-Rod-less team in the most crucial moments. There will be plenty of narratives in this series: The inevitability of Justin Verlander; the Triple Crown winner trying to punctuate the end of his season; the Yankees’ first postseason without Mariano Rivera; slumping veteran stars on the Yankees; the many overachieving adjectives about Derek Jeter; and, as always, Alex Rodriguez. They’re fine narratives, even if they’re not the ones we underdog-lovers were rooting for.

Lineups (AVG/OBP/SLG/TAv)

Tigers
CF-R Austin Jackson (.300/.377/.479/.307)
LF-L Quintin Berry (.258/.330/.354/.253)
3B-R Miguel Cabrera (.330/.393/.606/.332)
1B-L Prince Fielder (.313/.412/.528/.326)
DH-R Delmon Young (.267/.296/.411/.252)
RF-L Andy Dirks (.322/.370/.487/.302)
SS-R Jhonny Peralta (.239/.305/.384/.244)
C-L Alex Avila (.243/.352/.384/.260)
2B-R Omar Infante (.274/.300/.419/.255)

Yankees
SS-R Derek Jeter (.316/.362/.429/.274)
LF-L Ichiro Suzuki (.283/.307/.390/.250)
3B-R Alex Rodriguez (.272/.353/.430/.280)
2B-L Robinson Cano (.313/.379/.550/.318)
1B-S Mark Teixeira (.251/.332/.475/.298)
CF-L Curtis Granderson (.232/.319/.492/.285)
RF-S Nick Swisher (.272/.364/.473/.290)
C-R Russell Martin (.211/.311/.403/.255)
DH-L Raul Ibanez (.240/.308/.453/.263)

Detroit’s offense was mostly tamed by Oakland’s pitching staff, which struck out 39 Tigers, walked seven, and allowed two home runs in 44 innings. The lineup’s perfectly balanced lefty-righty march had sliiiightly more success against Oakland’s bullpen, but this is a collection that thins out quickly after the fourth hitter. Detroit needs to get an outlandish contribution from their two big bats, a model that worked well during the season before Cabrera and Fielder hit just .220/.273/.341 against Oakland. Typically, we talk about Yankee Stadium as a haven for left-handed power, but Cabrera’s opposite-field punch might play just as well there, where he has hit seven home runs (and slugged .872) in 56 career plate appearances. Four of those home runs have gone the other way. Late-blooming Andy Dirks has emerged as the announcer’s favorite underdog in this lineup, but he’s not all fluff: his .302 TAv would be the second-best in the Yankees’ lineup, and he has played himself into an everyday role thanks to a minimal platoon split. You’ll hear good things about late-blooming Quintin Berry, too, but the June surprise hit .220/.284/.305 in his last 200 plate appearances of the regular season. Austin Jackson helped the Tigers post the AL’s second-best OBP out of the leadoff spot, though he, like the big-boned benefactors batting behind him, posted a sub-.300 figure in the ALDS.

The Yankees’ offense is so good that Joe Girardi can even consider benching Alex Rodriguez; is there another team in baseball that could boast this luxury, 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts or not? Martin is the only member of the lineup with a line below the league average, and even he was above that standard in the second half. Neither Ichiro nor Jeter is still a jackrabbit at the top of the lineup, but Jeter’s OBP this season nearly matches Jackson’s if you include their ALDS performances. Teixeira’s balky calf was strong enough to steal a base against Matt Wieters in Game Five. When a right-hander starts, the Yankees can put Eric Chavez (.908 OPS against them) and Raul Ibanez (.812) in the lineup for a seven-lefty lineup. Pair that with the Yankees’ ballpark and you can understand how the team slugged .461 against righties this year, which, for comparison’s sake, is about what Nelson Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez slugged this year. The Tigers will throw four right-handed starters, and only one lefty-specialist reliever. Prepare for ironic “Too many homers!” tweets.

Benches (AVG/OBP/SLG/TAv)

Tigers
C-R Gerald Laird (.282/.337/.374/.251)
IF-S Ramon Santiago (.206/.283/.272/.199)
IF-R Danny Worth (.216/.330/.257/..232 in 90 plate appearances)
OF-R Avisail Garcia (.319/.373/.319/.245 in 51 plate appearances)
UT-L Don Kelly (.186/.276/.248/.201)

Yankees
DH-R Eduardo Nunez (.292/.330/.393/.275 in 100 PA)
3B-L Eric Chavez (.281/.348/.496/.293)
UTIL-R Jayson Nix (.243/.306/.384/.236)
C-R Chris Stewart (.241/.292/.319/.236)
OF/PR-L Brett Gardner (.323/.417/.387/.295 in 37 PA)

Jim Leyland left Brennan Boesch off the division series roster in order to fill his bench with “versatility and pinch-runnability and things of that nature.” Presumably that means he wanted Danny Worth (who plays middle infield, like Santiago, but who doesn’t run notably well) or Don Kelly (who played at least an inning at six positions and can catch in a pinch, but who doesn’t run notably well). Each did pinch-run once, and when you look at the Tigers’ starting lineup​—lotta heft after the top two spots—you can appreciate the value of even an adequate runner. Santiago didn’t play in the Oakland series, but he's the best defensive replacement for an infielder. Garcia can hit the ball forever, and managed to get into all five ALDS games: twice starting, twice pinch-hitting, once entering as a defensive replacement. He and Berry are almost totally handcuffed to each other, and if the game is close you can bet that one will eventually replace the other for a better matchup. 

The Yankees played five very close games and seven extra innings against Baltimore and used Brett Gardner just twice, which shows how hard it can be to find the perfect spot for a pinch-runner. Eric Chavez will likely start a game or more, which puts either Ibanez or Rodriguez on the bench; whichever of the three sits instantly becomes the best pinch-hitter in the series and the sort of late-innings power option managers long for. The Yankees’ lefty tilt, and the Detroit staff’s righty lean, could mean Chavez batting for Martin in close games, and Stewart is a perfectly adequate replacement behind the dish in such cases. As for Nix and Nunez, the former is better with the glove and the latter will hit more; together, they form a sort of reserve platoon. [Updated: Nunez was replaced on the roster by reliever Cody Eppley for the ALCS.]

Starting Pitchers (IP, ERA, FIP)

Tigers
RHP Justin Verlander (238.1, 2.64, 2.90)
RHP Doug Fister (161.2, 3.45, 3.37)
RHP Anibal Sanchez (74.2, 3.74, 3.64)
RHP Max Scherzer (187.2, 3.74, 3.22)

Yankees
LHP CC Sabathia (200, 3.38, 3.29)
LHP Andy Pettitte (75.3, 2.87, 3.43)
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (219.7, 3.32, 3.81)
RHP Phil Hughes (191.3, 4.23, 4.52)

The Tigers won 63.6 percent of the games that Justin Verlander started this year, but you’d swear going into each of his starts that they are 90 percent or better to win. Here’s the most simplistic way to phrase the stakes of these games: The team that wins Verlander’s starts will probably win the series. Hmm. The team that wins any individual game is about 66 percent likely to win a series, so maybe that’s not such a bold statement. Perhaps a better way to frame the Tigers’ rotation is like this: Justin Verlander gives them a clear advantage in any game he starts. A deep rotation keeps them from being decisive underdogs in any of the other games, though.

Verlander threw 16 innings and allowed one run against Oakland, mercifully nipping any developing narrative about his inability to be an ace in the postseason. He had previously allowed an ERA of at least 5.00 in each of his five postseason series, and after a leadoff home run to Coco Crisp his career postseason stats were: 5.57 ERA, 48 Ks, 20 BBs, eight homers, 42 innings. The next 58 batters he faced, of course, were overmatched: 22 strikeouts, six hits, 36 swinging strikes and no runs. The best hope for an opponent this week might be praying that Verlander's home/road splits are more than statistical noise, as he has a 2.11 ERA at home over the past three years, but 3.42 on the road. Game Seven, Verlander’s second scheduled start, will be on the road.

Doug Fister’s pitch selection is like a European parliamentary election: something has to get the most votes, but there’s no true majority. Rather, he’ll use five pitches frequently, and the ratio can vary significantly from game to game. His two-seamer is his most useful pitch, but against Oakland he threw more curveballs and changeups than usual and, perhaps consequently, turned in the fourth-lowest GB/FB ratio of his season. That’s safe in Oakland, against Oakland; against his ALCS opponents, he’s likely to stay as far away from anything that can land over the wall as he can.

Anibal Sanchez is an effective, low-beta innings eater. Of his 31 starts this year, more than half produced a game score higher than 50 (average) but lower than 65, with nearly a third producing a 56, 57 or 58. For a low-walk, medium-strikeouts pitcher, he’ll still manage to throw a lot of pitches, which matters less with rested October bullpens on call.

To pick the best possible starting point, Max Scherzer had a 2.53 ERA, 11 strikeouts per nine inning, and nearly five strikeouts per walk in his final 19 starts. Right-handers are completely useless against him, which is great news for people who like to see Alex Rodriguez benched.

The Yankees are, quite frankly, getting screwed by MLB’s playoff schedule. While the Tigers ended their series by winning Game 5 on Thursday, the Yankees had to wait until Friday to get their final victory. The result: while Verlander can start games Three and Seven on regular rest, CC Sabathia will have to pitch on short rest once if he wants to pitch in the series twice. Sabathia is hot at the right time, at least. In two ALDS starts, he pitched 17 2/3 innings, striking out 16 and walking three. Miguel Cabrera, for what it’s worth or not worth, is a career .357/.474/.643 hitter against him, in 38 plate appearances. Miguel Cabrera has a lot of splits like that. Just, whenever you need a factoid, flip on Miguel Cabrera’s player page and start picking at the splits.

It’s plausible to conclude that a year off did Andy Pettitte’s arm some good. He had the third-best ERA+ of his career, and between the time off and the injury-shortened season, there’s little worry about fatigue. Well, maybe some worry. His three September starts saw him induce just four, three, and three swinging strikes, the lowest numbers of the year for him. (He got just six in a fine ALDS effort.) Since Pettitte turned 32, he has made 13 postseason starts; he has completed six innings in 12 of them and threw 5 2/3 in the exception.

I was going to make the case that Hiroki Kuroda is vastly underrated, with an ERA+ just a shade below Matt Cain’s over the past three years. But just a shade below Kuroda is Doug Fister, so maybe this string of thoughts should rightfully be a few paragraphs up. Phil Hughes seems like a pretty good pitcher who is unjustly maligned by his demanding home fans, until you reach the Home Runs column of his stat page and you realize the flawed pitcher he really is. His velocity tapered off a bit in the second half, but he mixed in plenty of great starts (including his ALDS outing), so it’s not like the Yankees are counting on a lost cause.

Everybody knows that the Yankees' weakness in October is their starting pitching. Everybody just knows this. It’s a known thing. The Yankees' starters in the ALDS averaged eight innings per start, with a 2.04 ERA. So.

Bullpen (IP, ERA, FIP)

Tigers
RHP Jose Valverde (69, 3.78, 3.57)
RHP Joaquin Benoit (71, 3.68, 4.22)
RHP Octavio Dotel (58, 3.26, 2.25)
RHP Al Alburquerque (13.1, 0.68, 2.15)
LHP Phil Coke (54, 4.00, 3.42)
RHP Rick Porcello (176.1, 4.59, 3.86)
LHP Drew Smyly (99.1, 3.81, 3.78)

Yankees
RHP Rafael Soriano (67.7, 2.26, 3.27)
RHP David Robertson (60.7, 2.67, 2.44)
LHP Boone Logan (55.3, 3.74, 3.62)
RHP Joba Chamberlain (20.7, 4.35, 3.97)
LHP Clay Rapada (38.3, 2.82, 3.15)
RHP David Phelps (99.7, 3.34, 4.27)
RHP Derek Lowe (142.7, 5.11, 4.32)
RHP Cody Eppley (46, 3.33, 3.61)

Detroit had the 10th-best bullpen ERA in the AL, and the 13th-best OPS+ against them, and more than any team remaining in the postseason will try like heck to avoid “shortening the game” with early relief appearances. Every pitcher listed above except for Smyly pitched against Oakland (Porcello retired one batter), but overall the Tigers’ bullpen threw just nine innings, compared to 14 for Oakland’s relievers. Valverde has now allowed 10 runs in just under 14 postseason innings; as a Tiger, it’s nine in nine innings. That’s not predictive, but it might have some psychological impact on Jim Leyland; Detroit’s starters might be the only ones going through a lineup a fourth time this week.  Righties hit Phil Coke for a .396/.446/.604 line this year, so the team that splits up its lefties will either be absolutely delighted by the results or baffled by the fleeting nature of small-sample splits.

The difference between Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano is a lot smaller than the gap between Soriano and Valverde, so the Yankees won’t have any deficit in handling the ninth inning.  Robertson had a huge ALDS, and his pitching-to-relative-contact this year makes him a bit less scary, from the Yankees’ perspective. Those two guys made as many appearances, and pitched twice as many innings, as the rest of the bullpen put together in the past week.

Defense

Defense is not the Tigers’ strong suit; they were the league’s fourth-worst team in defensive efficiency, both raw and park-adjusted. Fortunately, or perhaps consequently, Tigers pitchers strike out more batters than anybody. Fifty Athletics struck out in 155 official at-bats. Not that it means much, but to satisfy your curiosity, Tigers defenders held Oakland to a .265 BABIP in the ALDS.

The Yankees have the edge here, but faint praise indeed. The best that can be said about the Yankees is they are strong up half of the middle, with Martin doing good stuff with pitches on the corners, and Cano very strong at second. The worst that can be said is that they’re very weak up the other half of the middle.

Managers

Leyland too is known first and foremost as a leader, but BP2012 says that he rests “comfortably in the upper tier of major league managers,” noting his willingness to adapt his tactics to match the personnel he’s given. Some of his lineup decisions in last year’s playoffs were head-scratching (batting Don Kelly second?), but the order he’s been running with lately is solid enough. As long as he doesn’t try to get too clever, Detroit will be in good shape.

As Ben wrote following Game Three, Girardi went with his gut for the defining move of his managerial career; it paid off, and how. What follows might be uncharitable toward Mr. Girardi, but there’s certainly some danger in having such a move pay off. It could start convincing a guy his gut has more power than it truly does. On the other hand, Girardi knows the game, seems to have the respect of those around him, and had the stomach to stir up the inevitable A-Rod controversy that surrounded that decision. Managing fearlessly might be the best skill for October, when the instinct to avoid second-guessers (so many more media!) can otherwise lead to the worst small-ball impulses and uncreative roster usage.

Prediction

The Yankees have the home-field advantage, but the Tigers have the scheduling advantage. Maybe it comes down to whether you think Alex Rodriguez is a problem to be managed or a valuable major-league baseball player. Yankees over the Tigers.

Derek Carty contributed to this preview.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

31 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

drawbb
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Sorry, but these are not fine narratives. There isn't ANYTHING good for the game about having all the underdogs eliminated in the 1st round, while the 3 most recent champions and/or the 88-win teams who don't even belong in playoffs in the first place get to advance.

Don't even talk about TV ratings, because fans don't care about that in the first place--nor should they. Could someone list one legitimate reason I would possibly be interested in the remainder of these playoffs? The two teams that have won the most World Series have a chance to win another? Wheeeee! The 7th-best team in the AL is still alive to win a ring? Wow!

Give me a freaking break. Selig has his wet dream: Mediocrity is rewarded and, meanwhile, the playoffs get worse and worse and worse each year with the teams no neutral observer should be rooting for winning virtually every series.

This sport has such a tremendous regular season in spite of all Selig's efforts to water it down, but it also has just an abysmal postseason. Nearly every October is the same thing: My viewership is only sporadic at best after the first round because all the rooting interests are already out of it.

This year is somehow worse than any other because it had so much promise when the playoffs started, but all those great Cinderella storylines immediately went by the boards and we're left with the same old same old. I, for one, am absolutely sick and tired of the homogeneity and this format that engenders it. I'll still be reading BP every day, but I'm out of watching MLB until 2013...I've had it.

For the record, I hope San Francisco wins because they're the least bad of the remaining options.

Oct 13, 2012 05:19 AM
rating: -7
 
juiced

The underdogs only lost in the AL, and all 4 series went a spectacular 5 games. If you didn't enjoy watching them, you're rooting for the wrong sport. The Tigers haven't won it all in nearly 30 years and the Giants only have one Flag in longer than that. There is a lot to be excited about going forward

Oct 13, 2012 07:38 AM
rating: 5
 
drawbb
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Cincinnati and Washington also were underdogs in any type of realistic context. The series were "good" from a competitive standpoint, but when the "have" won each of them that neuters any excitement.

I can't possibly be interested in an 88-win Detroit team breaking its World Series drought when they're an underachieving mediocre team from the year's worst division and several far more accomplished Tiger teams never even got that chance or did but couldn't get it done. This stumbling bunch certainly doesn't deserve my support.

Oct 13, 2012 10:10 AM
rating: -5
 
delatopia

The Reds were a slight betting favorite, on the order of 54% or so.

Oct 13, 2012 11:33 AM
rating: 2
 
drawbb

That's essentially even, which makes my other cited points much more pertinent to determining who the underdog is. Recently off 10 consecutive losing seasons and with a 22-year drought v. the champions from 2 years ago? That's a lot more relevant than 4%.

Oct 13, 2012 15:12 PM
rating: -3
 
delatopia

Underdog ... you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Oct 15, 2012 00:43 AM
rating: 3
 
drawbb

Underdog, Cinderella...whatever you want to call it, it's the same thing.

Oct 15, 2012 22:38 PM
rating: -3
 
juiced

In what "realistic context" were they the underdogs? It certainly wasn't in terms of inherent talent or massive payroll and revenue advantages on the part of the Cards and Giants.

Oct 13, 2012 13:36 PM
rating: 2
 
drawbb
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Practical market size, payroll, recent success, undesirably to the networks...all things that made the Nationals and Reds decided underdogs in any type of comparison with St Louis and San Francisco.

I don't see how anyone could even contest this with a straight face. The networks and the league don't want them to win. They don't have any kind of recent success to build on. One of them is among the very worst franchises in sports, not just MLB.

If anyone could honestly sit here and try to say the Washington Nationals (nee Montreal Expos) are not the very definition of an underdog--especially when compared to an 11-time world championship organization--then you are simply living in a dream world.

Oct 13, 2012 15:20 PM
rating: -6
 
juiced

I love the unfounded conspiracy theories that MLB "wants" SF and St Louis to win. YOu can't reason with something so brilliant.

Oct 13, 2012 15:44 PM
rating: 0
 
drawbb

By and large, MLB wants what the networks want. Anyone in denial of that isn't facing up to reality. The very idea that MLB (or any other league) doesn't want the biggest markets and most glamorous franchises to advance is ludicrous.

Oct 14, 2012 12:46 PM
rating: -3
 
lmarighi

I don't think it's entirely fair to say that all the underdogs were eliminated, at least by one measure. If you look at the seeding of each of the four division series', the only higher-seeded team to advance was the Yankees.
However, in spirit, I must agree that given that 3 of the 4 teams to advance are the winners of the previous 3 World Series', it seems like an awful shame to have the great stories all leave early. (Note: I am an A's fan, and after they were eliminated I desperately hoped for a Nationals/Orioles World Series. *sigh*)

Oct 13, 2012 07:41 AM
rating: 2
 
drawbb

Yeah, seeding is a total red herring when talking about who was an underdog, I think we're both talking about the real world. Oakland, Baltimore, and Washington are all glaringly obvious financial and competitive underdogs. Cincinnati certainly was as well in any type of comparison with San Francisco.

Oct 13, 2012 10:13 AM
rating: -3
 
juiced

No way the Reds were "glaringly obvious" competitive underdogs vis a vis the Giants in terms of finances. SF is anything but a big market. The Giants have built the best ballpark in baseball and constructed outstanding teams year after year which is why they draw. Cinci's broadcasting deals enabled them to sign Votto to a megadeal, something that blows away any contract on the Giants' end. The Giants were so cheap they couldnt/wouldnt sign Carlos Beltran for 2/25 million, a relative bargain price, because they had already re-upped the likes of Lopez and Affeldt.

Oct 13, 2012 13:40 PM
rating: 1
 
drawbb
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Cincinnati is one of the very smallest markets in the game. San Francisco is the #1 team in a huge market. The fact that SF hasn't offered a Votto-type deal may be because they had to finance the stadium privately (something Cincy didn't) or simple fiscal prudence. The private-financing issue aside, the Giants certainly have more financial means than a tiny city like Cincinnati.

There's also the inescapable fact that the Giants have been a fairly consistent contender for the vast majority of the last 15 years or so, with several division titles, 2 pennants and 1 World Series victory--which was just 2 years ago. Meanwhile, the Reds were bad for most of that time.

That's still a sure underdog, even if Oakland, Baltimore, and Washington were more obviously so.

Oct 13, 2012 15:32 PM
rating: -5
 
brendan03us

The thing is -- for you, regular season records don't matter. Teams are "overdogs" or "underdogs" based on historical performance. Why bother having seeds then?

Oct 13, 2012 15:35 PM
rating: 0
 
drawbb

One regular-season record doesn't matter. Are you seriously going to argue that if KC puts together a 98-64 season out of nowhere in 2013, but face NYY in the first round that KC is NOT an underdog?

Seeds are a formality, an ephemeral designation that bears no relationship to reality.

Oct 14, 2012 12:44 PM
rating: -3
 
juiced

SF is not in a huge market, and it shares it's market with another successful team. Stop crying.

Oct 13, 2012 15:42 PM
rating: 1
 
drawbb

The Bay Area isn't a huge market? Oakland, one of the very poorest and least-supported clubs is another "successful team"? OK, whatever.

Oct 14, 2012 12:42 PM
rating: -1
 
brendan03us

I somewhat agree on the format issue -- the wildcard play-in and the travel schedules for the ALDS have made an already watered-down playoff system (compared to what it was before the advent of the wildcard) even worse, and even more trivializing to the longest regular season in sports -- which really seems wrong in every way other than financial.

I do think, though, that teams like the Reds and Nationals weren't exactly underdogs, at least not seen in the perspective of the regular season. And the Os were certainly an underdog that was given life by this format. So I think that the format issue, while watering down the significance of the regular season (why bother winning more than in the mid-80s if you're in a weaker division and you believe you can turn it on in the playoffs and win anyway), also does give rise to more spots for underdogs. The Cardinals are hard to see as an underdog given how well they have performed in the post-season in the last ten years in particular, but certainly this year they weren't a favorite or an overdog to win -- they just weren't a new face.

Oct 13, 2012 07:57 AM
rating: 1
 
drawbb
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Cincinnati is an underdog when it's just 3 years removed from 10 straight losing seasons, plays in one of the smallest markets and consequently is rooted against by the networks, and has a World Series drought 11 times longer than the team it faced.

Washington is about the biggest underdog there is when the franchise had just one playoff appearance in 43 previous seasons, was threatened with a bogus extinction notice, had to move after operating as wards of the state, overcame a 5-time defending division champion, and faced off against an 11-time World Champion. There could basically never be a circumstance under which the Cardinals are an underdog.

It should also be noted that Baltimore did not need the new format to qualify as you implied; they would've done so even under last year's arrangement.

Oct 13, 2012 10:28 AM
rating: -4
 
brendan03us

You're basically conflating "new" or "not recently won" with "underdog". Not the same thing. Teams with better records have bested other teams over the season, and are not underdogs. They may be new (relatively in some cases and absolutely in others), but they are not underdogs if they are the top seed in their league.

You obviously have some very narrow and specific rooting parameters.

Oct 13, 2012 11:27 AM
rating: 6
 
drawbb
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Be realistic. There isn't any universe in which Washington ceases being an underdog to 11-time World Champion St Louis based on one regular season.

And, yes, "not recently won" is a highly-relevant criterion for determining an underdog in any type of real-world scenario. Oakland, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Washington all were underdogs--some for that reason, but others for that and financial reasons. That much shouldn't even be in dispute.

Oct 13, 2012 15:10 PM
rating: -7
 
juiced

Tigers in 7

Oct 13, 2012 07:54 AM
rating: 0
 
whanson

It's the postseason. The great moments are made by the teams that play. If it ended up being The Cards and Yankees (the two teams with the most series wins) intriguing story lines will evolve. I think the A's and Nats making the playoff were great. As someone with no rooting stake, I think what occurred with the Cards and Nats was great and sad. That's the postseason. That is what makes it exciting. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with seeing the teams that prove on the field that they belong in the next round playing one another.

Oct 13, 2012 08:14 AM
rating: 2
 
drawbb
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No, there's something most definitely wrong with seeing the teams that "prove" on the field that they belong in the next round playing one another: The fact that so many of them shouldn't have gotten that chance in the first place. Washington spent 162 games proving it, St Louis spent 5. That isn't right in this sport--never has been and never will be.

Oct 13, 2012 10:01 AM
rating: -6
 
BillJohnson

Oh, get a life. It has been "right" ever since MLB decided to adopt the wild-card format. Teams went into that format with their eyes wide open, knowing what they had to do to get to the post season, and they all played (at least within their leagues) by the same rules. It is no longer productive to wax nostalgic for a long-gone era that wasn't as great as people remember it to be anyway.

Oct 13, 2012 11:29 AM
rating: 3
 
brendan03us

I agree with him that the wildcard is terrible for the sport -- it is better for marketing, dollars and the financial situation of MLB. The sport was better when the 162 games were less of a mere prelude. Not in the sense that the sport has never had playoffs. But rather in the sense that the current format very much trivializes winning over 162 games.

I agree with you that this is water under the bridge, and won't change, and isn't a reason to be annoyed about certain results, but it's still an integrity decreaser for the sport overall, in terms of a sport that has a 162 game season.

Oct 13, 2012 11:36 AM
rating: 2
 
drawbb
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So according to your philosophy, once Selig started whoring out the season why stop? No, thanks, buddy.

Oct 13, 2012 15:05 PM
rating: -7
 
redspid

After all 4 opening series went 5 games you're complaining? Get a freakin' life man!

Oct 13, 2012 20:30 PM
rating: 2
 
drawbb
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That they went 5 games is great, I'm not complaining about that. It's the fact that the good storyline teams all lost--and how frequently this happens.

Oct 14, 2012 12:48 PM
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