It was not until after I arrived in New York on Friday night by way of bus that I learned the Yankees had beat the Orioles 3-1 in Game 5 of the ALDS to advance to the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. The ALCS commences tomorrow night here in NYC.
I would have much preferred to see the O's & the A's. After all, the Tigers and Yankees have faced each other in the ALDS in 2006 and 2011. Since 1995, the Yankees have been in the post-season every year (save for 2008). So there was no palpable excitement in the streets. The same could not be said for Baltimore or for that matter Oakland. But, oh well, c'est la vie.
When I arrived at my Dad's place, the Nationals had just scored an insurance run on a Kurt Suzuki single to give them a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth. The Nats were three outs away from going to the NLCS. But I had a feeling they weren't going to get them and did not hesitate to tell my Dad.
The feeling intensified when Nats closer Drew Storen loaded the bases by issuing back to back walks to Yadier Molina and David Freese. The Nats were still one out away. But Daniel Descalso hit a rocket off Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond's glove which tied the game at 7-7. Pete Kozma then hit a two run single to give the Cards a 9-7 lead and proved to be the difference. The Cards will host the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night. It is the third time they've faced each other in the NLCS. They did so in 1987 and in 2002. The Cards won in '87 and the Giants won in '02.
I did not realize that the Nats had a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning. A lot of teams would have packed it in psychologically but the Cards really seem to thrive when dance on the precipice.
The Nats fans reminded me of Red Sox fans circa 2003 or 1986. Only this time Davey Johnson was on the wrong end of the stick.
They also reminded me (and my Dad) of Montreal Expos fans after Rick Monday homered for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS off Steve Rogers in relief.
I am sure some Nats fans will say things might have been different if Stephen Strasburg had been allowed to pitch. But he couldn't have stopped Storen from not being able to close the deal.
I think the Yankees will beat the Tigers in six while the Cardinals will best the Giants in seven. So that would mean the Yankees and Cardinals would face off in the World Series for the first time since 1964.
The Yankees and Giants haven't been in the Fall Classic in fifty years. That was the World Series where Willie McCovey lined out to Bobby Richardson for the final out in Game 7 at Candlestick Park.
The Tigers and Cardinals last faced each other in 2006 and previously faced each other in 1934 and 1968. Amazingly, the Tigers and Giants have never faced each other in a World Series.
Three of the four teams in the LCS have won the World Series in the past three seasons - the Yankees in '09, the Giants in '10 and the Cardinals in '11. The Tigers last won it all in 1984.
I have a funny feeling the Cardinals are going to repeat. After doing what they did tonight, I can't see any team getting past them.