The LDS’ are finally over, which means the ALCS and NLCS are ready to begin. I must say, all four first round series’ were fantastic and off the charts. Many baseball people, including myself, believe that this was the greatest first round of the playoffs in MLB history. What didn’t we see in the first round? Well lets take a look back.

In the San Francisco Giants vs Cincinnati Reds series, the Reds took a 2-0 lead on the road with three chances to win one more game at home to advance to the NLCS. Well, it didn’t quite work out well for the Reds as they would lose three straight at home and be eliminated by the Giants after being up 2-0. It was one of the worst postseason collapses we’ve seen.

In the other NLDS, the Washington Nationals made their first playoff appearance since moving to Washington D.C. in 2005. They were matched up with the defending world series champions, the St.Louis Cardinals. The Nats would steal game one late in St.Louis with a late two run hit by Tyler Moore. After that, the Cardinals would take the next two games, but lose Game 4 on a walk off home run by Nationals outfielder, Jayson Werth. The deciding game five was one of the best games you could ever see, with the hype, the sound of the crowd noise, and the actually game itself. The Nationals would jump out to a quick 6-0 lead after three innings, but that didn’t stop the Cardinals from storming back as they would get the game to 6-5 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. The Nats would add a big insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 7-5 Nats lead. The Cardinals would then rally in the top of the ninth and get a two run single by Daniel Descalso, who homered earlier in the game, to tie it 7-7. The next batter, Pete Kozma, would lace a two run single down the right field line to give the Cards a 9-7 lead. The Cardinals would then have Jason Motte pitch a perfect bottom of the ninth to win the game and earn a return trip to the NLCS against the Giants,

In the Detroit Tigers vs Oakland A’s series, we almost saw another epic collapse, this time by the Tigers. The Tigers would take the first two games at home to go up 2-0 in the series, with three to play in Oakland. The A’s would take game three to force a game four. In game four, the Tigers lead 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, but the A’s would score three runs off Tigers closer, Jose Valverde, to force a game five the next night. It wasn’t a great ending for the A’s though, as Tigers ace, Justin Verlander, would throw a complete game shutout against the A’s in game five, to book a trip to the ALCS for the Tigers. A great season for the A’s nonetheless though.

And finally, in the final LDS, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles would go to battle. The Yankees would rally in game one in the ninth inning and score five runs as the game was tied 2-2. So the Yankees would steal game one on the road, 7-2. The next night the Orioles would even the series 11-, with a 3-2 win. On to Yankee Stadium for games three, four, and five. The Orioles would enter the bottom of the ninth inning in game three, up 2-1, but Yankees manager would pull the struggling Alex Rodriguez for pinch hitter Raul Ibanez, who would smack a game tying solo home run to force extra inning. In the bottom of the 12th inning, still tied 2-2, Ibanez would come up again and blast a walk off home run to win the game for the Yankees, 3-2. The Orioles would not die and would win game 4 in the 13th inning thanks to a J.J. Hardy rbi double, to win it 2-1. The cinderella story would end in game five, as CC Sabathia would throw a complete game and pitch the Yankees into the ALCS, with a 3-1 game five win over the O’s. Nonetheless, just like the A’s, this was a tremendous season for Baltimore.

Now onto my LCS’ picks.

ALCS: New York Yankees vs Detroit Tigers – This series is going to be great. I expect a lot of hitting in this series, granted the Yankees hitters wake up. Yeah, I’m talking to you A-Rod, Swisher, and Granderson. The Yankees have homefield, but the Tigers have a way better rotation. The Yankees will throw out Andy Pettitte in game one, then it looks like David Phelps in game two, and then either Hiroki Kuroda in game three, or CC Sabathia on three days rest for game three. The Yankees have big decisions to make. The Tigers trot out Doug Fister in game one, followed by Anibal Sanchez in game two, Justin Verlander in game three, and Max Scherzer in game four. The Tigers have their rotation set and are ready. The Yankees pitching, outside of CC, is not as good as the A’s rotation, and the A’s pitchers did a solid job against this Tigers offense, but I think with a softer rotation, the Tigers offense will be better. The Yankees offense is ice cold and needs to wake up fast or else this could be a short series. I think they’ll wake up, but not enough to beat this team. The Tigers are strong wherever you look, they got a solid rotation, lead by the reigning AL MVP, Justin Verlander, a powerful offense lead by possibly this years AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera, and a very good bullpen. How can you not like this Tigers team? Oh, and before I forget, the Tigers eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS last year, and that was without Prince Fielder. Boy, I can’t wait to see Prince Fielder hit bombs into the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium in this series.

My Pick: Detroit Tigers defeat New York Yankees in six games, 4-2.

NLCS: San Francisco Giants vs St.Louis Cardinals – This is going to be another great series. This series features the past two World Series winners. The Giants are built around great pitching, whereas the Cardinals are built around great hitting, as we saw in the NLDS. This is a very tough pick, because you just can’t count the Cardinals out. EVER. The Giants do have a very good pitching staff though, and have home field advantage, so it is in their favor for sure. The game one starters are Madison Bumgarner for the Giants and Lance Lynn for the Cardinals. The Cardinals have not listed the starters for games two, three, and four, whereas the Giants are throwing out Ryan Vogelsong in game two and Matt Cain in game three. So the Giants know what they’re doing and are very prepared for the Cardinals’ offensive attack. My World Series pick before the year began back in March was the Los Angeles Angels over the San Francisco Giants, obviously that didn’t work out because the Angels didn’t even make the playoffs. When the playoffs began, I stuck with one of my picks, so my new pick was the Giants over A’s, but again, that can’t happen. I still like the Giants though, they play in a big ballpark, play good defense, and have good pitching. Their hitting is on and off though, and the Cardinals’ pitching staff is not bad whatsoever, so the Giants can easily be shutdown sometimes. I’m very inclined to go for the Cardinals, but I think the Giants are just a tick better, and with the home field advantage, will head back to the Fall Classic. Mark my words, this series is going to be a classic as well.

My Pick: San Francisco Giants defeat St.Louis Cardinals in seven games, 4-3.

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