The unimaginable has happened. As if this baseball season could get any worse for Phillies fans, three out of four teams that Phillies fans should have been rooting against in the divisional round are advancing to the League Championship Series. So what of it now? Who can Phillies fans invest their rooting interests in? Today we will take a look in depth at both of the League Championship Series.
American League Championship Series
Today starts the ALCS at Yankee Stadium, which will pit the Detroit Tigers against the New York Yankees. This season, the Yankees won the season series 6-4. The good news for the Tigers is that CC Sabathia will most likely be unable to start until at least Game 4 and then not until Game 7 (which would be on 3 days rest). Of course, Yankees manager Joe Girardi could send Sabathia to the hill in Game 3 on short rest to oppose the Tigers ace, Justin Verlander. Verlander will pitch Game three and then Game 7 on normal rest.
As we described last week, it’s too hard to root for the Yankees being from Philadelphia. While they may be favored to win the series (their season record 7 games better than the Tigers), the way the pitching looks to be lining up, to root for the Tigers may not be all for naught. Plus the thought of another World Series victory by the Yankees would inevitably send most fans of baseball questioning why?
This year, the Yankees, with their $200 Million payroll, are starting to get help from younger, cheaper players. In addition to that, they were able to grab players that most teams thought to be “over the hill” for a reduced rate. Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson were all acquired in the amateur draft, while Eduardo Nunez was signed as an amateur free agent. All collectively cost the Yankees less than $10M and are on the postseason roster. Want the Yankee hero this postseason? Raul Ibanez cost the Yankees $1.1 Million this year and is displacing $29Million in Alex Rodriguez. The fact that the Yankees might win this series and look like the players making the biggest contributions actually SAVED them money should be enough for you to root for THE DETROIT TIGERS.
National League Championship Series
In the NLCS, a matchup of the previous two World Series champions will commence on Sunday. Since both teams ousted the Phillies in the playoffs in previous years, you shouldn’t want to root for anything except a stadium fire. Both teams were actually pretty evenly matched throughout the year, and it is sad to say, but if either of these two teams matchup against the Yankees, you may find yourself rooting for the National League.
The Cardinals failed to resign their best player, and they are still THAT good. Their postseason record in elimination games the past two years is nothing short of impressive. They live for the postseason, but think about the fact that if the Wild Card Game didn’t exist, they wouldn’t even be in the position they are in. They certainly have gotten lucky and come up huge in games when they need it, which I can respect.
However, the Giants quietly ran away with the NL west when the Dodgers couldn’t do anything after trying to be the Yankees west. The Giants are an intriguing team. Their best player was banned from the team for 50 games, and it just seemed like they got better. Plus it doesn’t feel as dirty to root for the Giants because the only hitters they have now out of the 14 they had in the 2010 NLCS are Buster Posey, Aubrey Huff and Pablo Sandoval. We also all know that Brian Wilson is not going to be playing for the Giants. As for the Cardinals, most of that team is the same outside of losing Pujols, so it still feels like the Cardinals winning again would be like rubbing more salt in the wound. Plus it would be nice to actually feel like the Hunter Pence trade actually meant something. So, Phillies fans out there should probably put their rooting interests in the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS.
I wanted to take a final moment to thank the baseball gods for not allowing the Nationals to advance. I, at first, didn’t even know the Nationals had that many fans to pack the stadium, but then I realized that the Cardinals fans also wear red, so they still couldn’t even do that. Rest In Peace Nationals fans, 2012-2012.
You can follow me on twitter throughout the LCS and World Series @jcarullo19