A giant has reawakened. The Major League Baseball’s self-imposed label of being America’s pastime may very well be regaining legitimacy as the television ratings for the MLB Playoffs have increased.
Improved television ratings are always important in order to produce money for the league. More important though is the games and teams themselves.
There are only four teams left, the St. Louis Cardinals, the San
Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. This list of remaining teams includes the past three champions: The Cardinals are the defending champions, the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000 and the Giants won the 2010 championship. The New York Yankees not only won in 2009, but are also the all time most winning franchise in MLB history with a staggering 27 championships.
The League Championship Series matchups are the Yankees vs. the Tigers and the Cardinals vs. the Giants.
The LCS began with a matchup between the Tigers and the Yankees. The Yankees started veteran Andy Pettitte to face off against Tigers’ pitcher Doug Fister. Both pitchers cruised through five innings of relatively well-pitched baseball. The Tigers were finally able to break the scoreless game open by scoring two runs off of Pettitte. In the eighth inning, the Tigers added two more runs to pad the score. In the ninth inning, Tiger closer Jose Valverde came to the mound.
Valverde had blown a save earlier in the playoffs and at times has looked rocky while trying to close games. With Tiger fans holding their collective breath, Valverde gave up four runs, which sent the game into extra innings. Luckily for the Tigers, they were able to win the game in extra innings and take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series. The final through twelve innings was 6-4.
Worse than losing the game for the Yankees was losing captain Derek Jeter, who was injured on a play in the twelfth inning when he fractured his ankle. The injury will keep Jeter out for the remainder of the postseason.
Over in the National League, the Cardinals travelled to San
Francisco to play the Giants. The Cardinals raced to a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning. Then San Francisco came charging back and scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and knocked the Cardinals starting pitcher out of the game. The Giants then held the Cardinals hitless for the rest of the game.
Yet, with all of that going for the Giants, the Cardinals still pieced together a 6-4 win with several different relief pitchers.
Sunday, Oct. 14 began the second game of the Yankees and Tigers series. Yankee pitcher Hiroki Kuroda stepped up and pitched a perfect game into the sixth inning. Luckily for the Tigers, their pitcher Anibal Sanchez pitched scoreless baseball through seven innings.
In a controversial eighth inning call, Tigers’ player Omar Infante was called safe at second base, although the replay showed he was in fact out. This faux pas by the umpire allowed the inning to continue and the Tigers to score two more runs. The Yankees did not score, but they insist the game would have turned out differently had the call been made correctly.
In either case, the score went on record with a Tigers’ 3-0 win. This final gives the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the series with the Yankees.
The Cardinals and Giants met again Oct. 16. The Giants were able to take the lead with an early home run in the first inning. In the second inning, pitcher Chris Carpenter doubled to center field, which allowed Pete Kozma to score. From there, the Giants took over, scoring four runs in the fourth inning and two more in the eighth inning.
Combined with their ability to score, the Giants also pitched well enough to hold the Cardinals scoreless for the rest of the game. The final was Giants seven and the Cardinals one. This puts the series at an even 1-1.
Baseball has been resurrected. Ratings are up, the play on the field is intense and it seems all bodes well for a sport looking to stay cemented as America’s pastime.