College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
If last night is any indication of what to expect out of this season’s playoffs we are in for one hell of a ride. The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers needed more time in the season to determine the winner of the AL Central division. They also needed extra innings, 12 to be exact, as the Twins won the game and the division. So the final spot in the playoffs is filled and things are all set for today’s first round action.
The day kicks off with a National League battle as the wild card winning Colorado Rockies open up on the road against the defending World Series Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. Bad news coming out of the Mile High State. Team ace Jorge De La Rosa (16-7) will not be available for their series against the Phillies. He’s dealing with a groin injury. Also Jason Marquis (15-3) will not get a start in any of the first three games, but will be in the bullpen if needed. Marquis could off to a great start in the season, but has struggled in the last three weeks. The other Rox pitchers will have to pick up the slack as they’ll be in tough against the big bats of Philadelphia. First baseman Ryan Howard put up some MVP likes numbers this year hitting 45 home runs and driving in 141 runs. He’s joined by Chase Utley (31/93), Jason Werth (36/99) and off season acquisition Raul Ibanez (34/93). Oh yeah the Phillies have some pretty decent pitchers, starting with last season World Series MVP Cole Hammels. Add to that the reigning AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee and veteran Pedro Martinez. Lee (14-13) gets the call for game one and Colorado counters with Ubaldo Jiminez (15-12).
Next up the New York Yankees welcome the Minnesota ‘We’re Running On Fumes’ Twins to the Bronx for game one of their series. The Yanks are by far the most explosive team in the postseason. They led the league in home runs (244), RBIs (881) and tied the L A Angels for most hits. The only kink in the Yanks armour could be there pitching. CC Sabathia (19-8) started slowly, but ended strong and has to be a strong consideration for the AL Cy Young. The same can’t be said for the rest of the staff. Coming into the end of the season AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre struggled. The Twins have not had a lot of success in the Bronx this season. They have yet to win at New Yankee Stadium. Minnesota comes into this one riding some crazy momentum and they’ll need it to compete. The Twins send Brian Duensing (5-2) to the mound and Sabathia goes for the Yankees.
The final game has the St Louis Cardinals making the trip to the Golden State to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since acquiring Matt Holliday from the Oakland A’s the Cards have been the hottest team in the National League. In 63 games Holliday hits 13 home runs and drove in 55. What Holliday has done most is provide a legitimate big bat behind Albert Pujols and Pujols has delivered. He leads the NL in long balls (47), drove in 135 and had a .327 batting average. The Cards is led by the NL comeback player of the year, Chris Carpenter. he finished the season 17-4 and had the lowest ERA (2.24) in the NL. LA game out of the gates on fire, built a huge lead in the NL West and rode it to playoffs. The Dodgers are hoping Manny Ramirez can bounce back to last seasons form or their postseason run may be cut short. Andre Either and Matt Kemp carried the load for LA in Man Rams absence combining for 57 homers and 207 RBIs. Randy Wolf (11-7) starts for the Dodgers and Carpenter throws for the Cards.