For what started out with absolute blowouts all around, every one of the Division Series provided us with a solid finish with two of the four series going 5 games.
The Cards forced a Game 5 with their backs against the wall bringing the series back to St. Louis and sent Adam Wainwright out against Pittsburgh’s ultra talented rookie Gerrit Cole. Cole put up an outstanding effort, putting his team in a good position to win but they were no match for Adam Wainwright’s complete game domination show. I will not be cheering for another World Series appearance for the team representing “The Best Fans in Baseball.” Get ’em next year Pirates… please.
The Tigers also forced a Game 5 in Oakland after dominating Game 4 in Detroit. In an almost identical story line, the Tigers sent out veteran stud Justin Verlander and Oakland sent out their upper lip peach fuzz sporting rookie Sonny Gray. Gray pitched well enough to keep his team in it, but Verlander went 8 dominant innings even taking a no-hitter into the 7th. This is now the second straight year Justin Verlander dominated the A’s in a Game 5 ALDS.
The Braves / Dodgers series went a semi-entertaining four games. The Dodgers completely dismantled the Braves in Games 1 and 3. Game 2 was low scoring and close all night. But we saw the Braves put the game out of reach in the bottom of the 7th with a Jason Heyward 2 run single never to look back. In Game 4 Atlanta looked very much like they were going to force a fifth game. Clayton Kershaw was pitching on 3 days rest. He pitched brilliantly, with the Braves scoring two of their runs off of an A-Gon error. In the bottom of the 8th Juan Uribe smacked a 2 run homer to put the Dodgers up 4-3 and punch their ticket to the NLCS.
The Rays / Red Sox series was basically a national showcase for Boston’s potent top to bottom lineup. The Rays tried their darndest! They even won Game 3 on an unlikely walk off home run! But Boston was just playing. They won game 4 pretty handily. Jake Peavy pitched well for Boston and they got just the offense they needed in a 3-1 victory.
Now that all of the “underdogs” have been eliminated, and only the conventional big boys remain, we can only hope for two series that go the full 7 games and leave us simply yearning for more baseball.