After last year's American League Championship Series, Cliff Lee looked like one of the best post season pitchers ever. He was untouchable in the post season. That is until he faced the Giants in the World Series. Now, Cliff Lee has posted two straight clunkers in the post season. Chris Carpenter was similarly ineffective, but Tony LaRussa used his entire bullpen and pushed all the right buttons to grab a win from the Phillies. It was the mad genius at his finest. The Phillies suddenly don't look as much of a lock as they did and the Cardinals look less like pushovers.
Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks look seriously dead in their series against the Brewers. They have to hope they can catch a spark going home to Arizona after two straight lopsided losses to the Brewers in Milwaukee. Sunday's game looked to be a good contest as Zack Greinke was somewhat vulnerable, but the D-backs pulled Daniel Hudson too soon (in this writer's humble opinion) and Brad Ziegler had one of the worst post season performances by any pitcher in history. After a balk, a walk and his own error, Ziegler melted down and gave up hit after hit until five runs crossed the plate. Heck, Ziegler even walked Yuniesky Betancourt. And you know how hard that is to do.
And so this picker limps into Monday. What looked like a solid formula of picking the favorites and the home teams (4-0 on Saturday) led to a 1-2 record on Sunday. Consider this picker all shook up (obviously an Elvis Andrus reference). But the games keep on coming. So must the picks:
- The Rangers over the Bay Rays: Two things factor in here. First, David Price has been frequently unexceptional lately. Plus, the Rangers have the kind of right-handed hitters who love fastballs and can damage Price. Secondly, the Bay Rays aren't the same offensive team at home than they are on the road. The big key here is the performance of Colby Lewis. Lewis was lights out last year in the post season. Can he do it again after only a mediocre season? We'll see.
- The Tigers over the Yankees: You simply can't pick against Justin Verlander at home even facing C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia was looking terrific in New York before the rains washed out his night. He'll have to pitch the best game of his career to win this one. Just don't see it happening. A-Rod and Teixeira have been invisible in this series. Why won't Girardi give Jesus Montero a start?