By Sida Lu
On Oct. 6, 2010, the Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason began with eight teams jostling for the title. Since then, only four teams remain. Let’s take a look at how things are shaking as of right now.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
The story in the division series of the AL playoffs was all about home field. The Yankees swept the Twins in three straight games, defending their home-turf in a hard fought Game 1 with a 6-5 victory and then overwhelming the Twins with their superior star power.
The Rangers and Rays played in an intriguing matchup between two teams who both have what it takes to defeat the Yankees. An umpiring controversy ultimately decided the series in favor the Rangers as they won the deciding Game 5, 5-1.
Moving on: Texas Rangers & New York Yankees.
Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees
The Rangers came into this matchup as the underdogs—and they just might leave as the winners. The Yankees have consistently underperformed in this series, batting just .198 to the Rangers’ .307, been outscored 30-11, and now find themselves on the brink of elimination. In desperate need of success,the New York Yankees, with a payroll of 206 million, have turned to their stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher. Unfortunately, their highly paid stars have all gone cold at the same time, posting dismal statistics and not producing for a flagging Yankees team.
National League (NL)
San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds
Reminiscent of the fluky Warriors playoff run of 2006-2007, the Giants have outperformed expectations with a team-first mentality. Lacking significant star power, the Giants made the playoffs with stellar all-around pitching, solid offense, and clutch end-of-season plays to hold off the Padres for first in the NL West division. From there, they pushed past the Atlanta Braves three games to one and awaited the winner of the Phillies-Reds matchup.
The Phillies quickly bounced the Reds out of the playoffs in a drubbing reminiscent of the Yankees and Twins series amid umpire controversy. With strong pitching and enough offensive production, they easily swept a seemingly unprepared Cincinnati team in three games.
Moving on: San Francisco Giants & Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies
In the first match of the NLCS, Tim “The Freak” Lincecum and the Giants won the marquee battle of the pitchers against Roy “Doc” Halladay and the Phillies, taking a game in Philly and snatching away home-field advantage in the process. The Giants defended their home turf with a 3-0 drubbing of the Phillies behind Cody Ross’s hot slugging and Matt Cain’s commendable pitching.
With a possible revival of power slugger Pablo “Panda” Sandoval in the cards and continued production from catcher Buster Posey and Ross, the Giants will have more than enough offense to put the Phillies away for good and move on to their first World Series since 2002—the Barry Bonds years. However, the Phillies are no pushovers, possessing both star power and valuable playoff experience that will make the road to victory for the Giants a long and arduous one. One thing’s for sure though; Bay Area sports fans are behind their team 100 percent and are waiting with bated breath for the next Giants victory. Game four is tonight.
Image from www.si.com