Two- if you go back and read all my baseball posts, you'll notice that I talk a lot about the contest that I have every year with my family. I'm too lazy to explain it again, so click this handy link. This year, for the first time, I got annihilated by both my dad and my brother, culminating in a season that saw neither of my World Series predictions (the Phillies and the Rays) even making the playoffs. While I can't say I'm too broken up about Philadelphia (AHAHAHAHAHAHA you guys suck), I was really pulling for Tampa Bay. Not only do they show a lot of promise per year, but that would also have meant that they triumphed over the Yankees.
Speaking of the Yankees, how great was that sweep of the ALCS? As stupid as it was to bench one of the highest-paid, top-ranked players in professional baseball, I do believe that the Yankees are ready to make some changes that don't include the purchase of more 19-year-olds. (Of course, there's that too.) With A-Rod getting older, and Jeter hitting retirement age, I'm forecasting now that the Yankees go after David Wright, who's coming up on his walk year with the Mets but will most likely choose to stay in New York, where the Yankees will pay him a shit-ton more than the Mets ever could (or would). He's also turning thirty in December and no doubt wants a ring, and let's be honest- while the Mets are my team until I die, and I love them, there's no way in Gnesa dance party hell that that's happening in my grandchildren's lifetime.
LALALALALALALALA ohmygod stop.
Jeter is 38, and after he retires, the Yankees are going to need a new face for the franchise and a new spokesman for the team. It can't be A-Rod, as he's not well-liked with the media or the general public. The only issue the Yankees may have is finding someone to take over A-Rod's ridiculous salary, since they can't have two guys at third base, so it'll be interesting to see how they work around that.
A while ago, Mets fans may have rioted at the thought of losing Wright, especially to a team as reviled as the Yankees, but at this point, we're all so disgusted that we really don't care. Of course, with a loss as big as this, we kind of don't have anybody left at the bat, so they as well put me on the field and call it a day. As for the rest of the Yankees, I'm anxious to find out if their piss-poor ALCS performance is indicative of a downward spiral, due to their aging lifers and an injury to their longtime captain. Can you imagine if the Yankees started sucking profusely? That would be so amazing.
Now that the Yankees are completely out of it, and therefore stripped of all that remains of their dignity, it's time to focus on the teams that remain to battle it out for the 2012 MLB title- the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants.
When you peruse through the team rosters for both World Series contenders, both the Tigers and the Giants are extremely intimidating. Justin Verlander is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, winning the 2011 Cy Young and holding a Triple Crown with an absolutely retarded ERA of 2.4. The Giants face Verlander at least twice, possibly three times if the Series goes to seven games. Also on the mound for Detroit is Max Scherzer, who finished second in the AL among strikeout hitters this year only to Verlander.
Behind the bat for the Tigers is 3B Miguel Cabrera, who hit .330 this season and earned the AL Triple Crown in batting. He also stands 6'4 and weighs in at 240. That's one large dude.
They also have a pitcher named Coke. That's pretty funny.
You also can't count out the San Francisco Giants. On the mound are Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain. Lincecum took home a Cy Young in both 2008 and 2009 and led the Giants to their first Championship in 2010. His ERA in this year's NLDS was .59.
Madison Bumgarner, who at 6'5 and 225 is like two of me, had a 1.93 ERA over his last nine starts in 2011. Also in 2011, Ryan Vogelsong was the NL leader in ERA with a 2.02. This year, at the all-star break, Vogelsong also had the lowest ERA. He's also mastered five types of pitches, including three different kinds of fastballs.
Matt Cain, the highest paid RHP in the league, is a three-time All-Star and threw the 22nd perfect game in history in June. In 2011 he had a WHIP of 1.08 (walks + hits divided by innings pitched). Cain was chosen as the starter in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
The Giants also boast some astoundingly unnerving players on the field. Catcher Buster Posey, despite having a terrible name and the appearance of a fourteen-year-old, is a 2010 Rookie of the Year and 2012 All-Star that led the league in batting with an average of .336. He is the first catcher to accomplish this since 1942, and only the second Giant since Barry Bonds. In 2012 his average against left-handed pitching was .433. I didn't even know that was possible, but there it is.
3B Pablo Sandoval is a two-time consecutive All-Star (2012 and 2011) who hit .315 in 2011. He had 23 homeruns and 70 RBI's.
2B Marco Scutaro used to be on the Mets, where he batted .336 and was actually impressive. Then of course, they got rid of him, because hey, it's the Mets, and that's what they do. Now he's on the Giants, batted fucking .500 in the post-season, was named MVP of the 2012 NLDS and could potentially win the World Series. CF Angel Pagan was also acquired from the Mets, and went straight to the Giants from there. He now holds San Fran's home record for hitting streak, currently at 28, and finished the regular season as the National League leader in triples because of course.
Not for nothing, but Cardinal Carlos Beltran is also a former Met, and now he's really good. I hate you, Wilpons. So, so much.
The one downfall for the Giants could be Hunter Pence, who will basically swing at anything. He's like my legs when I was in college.
At any rate, both of these teams have more than their fair shot at the title, although while watching the Championship series with my family, I remarked that whoever comes out ahead in the National League- the Giants or the Cards- would probably win the entire thing. Here's my logic:
Both teams are recent World Series champs- San Fran in 2010 and St. Louis just last year- so both have fresh victories to contend with. Detroit, while a formidable opponent for both, celebrated a World Series win in 1984 but haven't won the pennant in six years. While that might not seem like a lot, keep in mind that now that the Giants have emerged as the winners, Detroit has to go up against the 2010 World Series Champions. If the Cards had won the NLCS, it would have been a repeat of the 2006 Series, with St. Louis coming out as the victors and the Tigers falling short.
The Tigers got hot after the all-star break, clinching the division after winning against Kansas City on October 1st. After defeating Oakland in the ALDS, the Tigers advanced to completely shut down the Yankees in the Championship Series. However, I'm not completely sold on this- the Yankees, while they are still the Yankees, are old and on a decline. Yankees manager Joe Girardi had also made the decision to bench A-Rod due to his poor post-season performance, and in Game 1, Jeter suffered a critical injury when he fractured his ankle and had to sit out the entire rest of the post-season. Therefore the team had to carry on without their captain and one of their most-high-profile players, which no doubt called their morale into question and affected their skills. The Yankees clearly performed way under their normal level. Maybe they still would have lost, but not in that naked-covered in vomit-spit in your face way that they did.
Now Detroit is left to face a team with slightly more playoff experience and a more (and very) recent win. Pitching does usually trump hitting, especially in the postseason, but the Giants have a stronger number of men on the field than the Tigers. Either way, this is definitely going to at least six games.
I'm not particularly rooting for either team, but I will say this: it would be cool to see a team that didn't just win take home the title. Also Detroit snuffed the Yankees and my dad predicted that the Tigers would get everything this year. So there's that.
How about you guys? What do you think? Who do you want to see win (except you, Alexandra- and no gloating), and did this season turn out the way you predicted?
The first game of the 2012 World Series airs tomorrow night at 8pm EST/5pm PST on FOX. You can find the entire schedule here.