Play-offs American League Style

The National League Championship Series is set with the Arizona Diamondbacks hosting the Colorado Rockies beginning on Thursday. The American League Championship Series had one team identified when the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in California. The remaining entry into the ALCS was still yet to be decided. The Cleveland Indians who were the American League Central Division champion played host to the New York Yankees. In the first two games of that series the Indians pretty much had their way with the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez continued to struggle in the post season during the first two games hitting a paltry .200 through the first 3 games. Sadly, that batting average was in the middle of the pack of Yankee hitters which is why going into Game 4 the Yankees were in a must win situation or their season was over. As if that were not enough pressure on this star-studded team Yankees owner George Steinbrenner decided to up the ante a little.

In a newspaper interview Steinbrenner suggested that Yankees manager Joe Torre would not be brought back to manage the New York Yankees next season unless the team was victorious in this series with the Cleveland Indians. Now depending on how well players liked Joe Torre this was either a move to give the Yankees players more incentive to play hard or if a player didn’t care much for the manager this was a golden opportunity to influence a key position in the dugout. And while I am definitely a National League proponent, when this is the only game on, I am definitely tuning in to watch. I’ve been following each play-off series and I have to admit I did not give the Yankees much hope against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians pitching is vastly superior to that of New York. In fact I think the pitching of Cleveland is much better than any of the American League play-off teams. The pitchers simply overpowered the Yankees offense which once again proves that good pitching and good defense wins play-off series over good offense. (I’m hoping that the Arizona Diamondbacks can continue to prove this theory when they meet up with the powerhouse Colorado Rockies hitters.) Almost immediately the Indians showed that they did not want to head back to Cleveland for a fifth and deciding game. Instead they preferred to finish the series now despite playing in front of a hostile New York crowd. They chased Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang from the game after just one inning in route to a 6-4 win. The win earned them a flight to Boston to open a seven game series with the Red Sox starting Friday. The League Championship Series is now set in both leagues and they should be good. Both series feature teams with identical win records during the regular season. The next week or so of baseball should be a lot of fun to watch. I’m hoping for a World Series featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians although I am guessing that people in Denver and Boston may be thinking of other match-ups.

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