Chances are there will be an upset in the Division Series

As we get ready to start the second to last day of the season, not one single Division Series match up is official yet… and that’s pretty cool.

All four AL participants are in, but will it be Rays/Rangers?
Yankees/Twins? Rays/Twins? Yankees/Rangers?
It can’t be Yankees/Rays… the logic of which will be questioned in another post.
And we know the Phillies and Reds are in… but the game of musical chairs between the Giants, Padres and Braves has at least another day.
Once the match ups are set, everyone and their moose (including yours truly) will be making their picks.
I can’t tell you who is going to win what… but I WILL say that you shouldn’t put too much weight on which team has Home Field Advantage. Historically at least you can bet a team or two starting the series on the road will advance to the League Championship Series.
Since the creation of the Division Series, only twice has the World Series been played between the National League team with the best record and the American League team with the best record. (1995 when the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians and 1999 when the Yankees swept the Braves.)
But the League Championship Series also rarely has the 1 and 2 seeds. Since the first annual Division Series in 1995, only once did both the NLCS and ALCS been played by the four teams who had home field advantage in the first round:
Last year… when the Phillies and Dodgers played in the NLCS and the Yankees and Angels played in the ALCS.
Now you could argue I should include 1995 when the Reds, Braves, Mariners and Indians all advanced. But remember because of the mind bogglingly stupid home field rules used in the first 3 years of Division Series play, the Indians didn’t have home field advantage in the Division Series, even though they won more games than anyone in baseball that year!

Each year after that, there was an upset or two… or three… or in 2002 there were four.
Wild Card teams advanced to the ALCS in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Wild Card teams advanced to the NLCS in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Underdog Division winners advanced to the ALCS in 2002 and 2006.

And underdog Division winners moved on to the NLCS in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008.

So make your picks and use whatever methods you want.

Look at stats. Look at history. Flip a coin. Stare into at your parrot until you see the winner’s logo appear in their eyes.

But if you just pick all the teams with home field, chances are you’ll get burnt.

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Go for 20, Ubaldo

Remember when Ubaldo Jimenez was 15-1 at the All Star break? It looked like not only was he a lock for the Cy Young Award but had a legit shot at 30 wins.
He got his 15th win on July 8th.
If I told you that in the second half, the Rockies would have a 10 game winning streak and Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez would enter the MVP race, you’d think he’d have AT LEAST 25 wins going into the last weekend.
But here we are… in his last start of the season, still searching for win #20.
And like I said about Jon Lester, 20 wins is still a cool milestone no matter what the sabermetric people tell me.
Being a 20 game winner with a sub 3.00 ERA should be a Cy Young contender every year… and as a member of the Rockies should put him #2 or #3 in the voting.
There is something frustrating about 19 wins too. You got THAT close to 20 wins but didn’t get it.
It’s kind of like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Silver Medal” bit. If you won 18 games… that’s great. If you won 19 games, you can’t help but think “How close did you get to 20? Did you lose a tight game?”
So let’s go Ubaldo… win that 20th game. Be the first 20 game winner in Rockies history… and do NOT give announcers the line “He looked like he had a shot at 30 but didn’t even win 20.”
And enjoy Seinfeld at his best.

Was it really necessary to play a double header between the Orioles and Tigers yesterday?

Did even the fans in Baltimore want to see these two games?

I mean I guess the 20,000 fans who paid to see the games must have been happy to see the birds win both games. But it is one team that played well to avoid 100 losses playing a team that has to run the table to finish about .500.
One lousy team versus an underachiever who has as much chance to play a meaningful game this October as the Seattle Pilots.
I think the baseball world could have still turned if they just played one game and each team finished the season with 161 games.
Now I didn’t watch the games (No, I wasn’t going to spend my Friday night watching TWO Tigers/Orioles games!) but were there really 20,000 people there?
20,000 people showed up to watch these two teams. I know that isn’t a great crowd, but this wasn’t a great match up.
Baltimore is a sleeping giant, folks. If 20,000 fans could show up to see this lemon of a match up… then there might very well be a rabid fan base just waiting for a winner.
Do your job, Buck Showalter. You could become a Baltimore God.

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