Every sports league wants to have parody between its teams, especially in the playoffs. This year, that’s just what Major League Baseball has. All of the Division Series will end up playing all five games.
The Detroit Tigers were the first team to clinch a spot in the League Championship Series. Detroit built a 2-0 series lead on the Oakland Athletics before the A’s came back and tied the series a 2-2. On Oct. 11, the Tigers sent star pitcher Justin Verlander to the mound to try and make sure Oakland did not sneak past them. And that’s exactly what Verlander did, throwing a four-hit shutout for his second playoff win this season, in the decisive Game 5. Detroit will meet the winner of Game 5 between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.
The San Francisco Giants were the next team to lock up a spot in the LCS round. Unlike the Tigers, the Giants fell behind the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 before coming back to win the series 3-2. San Fran won Game 5 against the Reds 6-4, scoring all six runs in the fifth inning. Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain got his first win of the 2012 postseason and San Francisco will await the winner of Game 5 between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.
While those two teams were clinching spots in the next round, two teams were fighting to make sure the Division Series continued for them. After losing a heart-breaker in 12 innings, the Orioles found themselves down 2-1 in the series against the Yankees. However, turnabout is fair play as Baltimore evened the series with a 2-1 win in 13 innings to force a decisive Game 5. The Yanks and Orioles’ intense American League East rivalry is starting to make this series more interesting. Every team wants to be the team that beat the Yankees, but it means even more coming from a team in the same division.
The Nationals also kept their postseason hopes alive. After giving up eight or more runs in two straight games, Washington’s pitching slowed down the Cardinal bats and the Nats were able to get the series to 2-2 with a 2-1 win. Everyone has been criticizing the Nats’ decision to leave Steven Strasburg off the postseason roster. But, if Washington is able to win and move into the LCS round, will anyone still be able to criticize the move?