I love Nick Swisher, I do. But his performance in the Wild Card Game last night against the Rays was so reminiscent of past post seasons for him. His first few times up, he had a strikeout and then grounded the ball right into the teeth of the shift when there were no fielders from second base to third. Then, when he had a man on first and third, instead of embracing or understanding the situation, he took three "swing-for-the-fences" swings to strike out when, again, all he had to do is put the ball in play on the left side of the infield.
It was that lack of a plan that sunk the Indians all night. Asdrubal Cabrera basically had the same sort of night as Swisher. Now contrast that with how the Cardinals score runs. That team has a plan and work it to perfection. When there are men on base, they hit the pitch to the opposite field or where it is pitched and just move the line along.
It was sad to see the Indians go home. We always root for the Cinderella team...the underdogs. And in the American League, there are none left.
Speaking of the Cardinals, tonight starts their NLDS against the Pirates, who still qualify as a Cinderella team. Unfortunately, I think the clock is going to strike midnight soon.
- The Cardinals over the Pirates: First off, Adam Wainwright was built for these sort of games. He is really hard to beat at home. In three NLDS starts in his career, he has a K/9 rate over twelve. Yes, that's right, over twelve. He pitched well against the Pirates this season. He will be faced by A.J. Burnett. Burnett has been flat out nasty down the stretch. But again, the Cardinals approach to hitting will have a better chance of hitting Burnett's curve than most teams would. With Wainwright having the edge on the mound and the Cardinals having home field and a better offensive club, I cannot see the Cardinals losing this game.
- The Dodgers over the Braves: It took a lot of courage for the Braves to leave Dan Uggla off the NLDS roster. But it was the right call. Now the Braves don't have to worry about what to do with him. Now they have to figure out what to do with Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. If he is on and the Dodgers can score a few runs, they cannot be beat. The question is if Kris Medlen can match zeroes with him. Medlen was great down the stretch and has gotten through his early season struggles. If Medlen can match zeroes, I will take the Braves' bullpen over the Dodgers' version. But I have to think the Dodgers can score two or three and Kershaw holds the Braves to one or none.
Post Season: 2-1