As always, Burning River Baseball is here with your Indians-centric view of the world.
The Orioles (former Indians: Jim Thome), beat the Rangers (no former Indians) in the first Wild Card single game playoff, then went on to face the Yankees (former Indians: Derek Lowe, Jayson Nix and the fat man) in one of the closest matched ALDS I’ve ever seen. Each game was within a single run going into the 9th inning and two games went into extra innings. In the end the Yankees came away with the victory with C.C. Sabathia on the mound.
In the other American League match-up, Oakland (former Indian: Coco Crisp) lost in five games to the Tigers (former Indian: Jhonny Peralta). This gives Indians fans another series to root against their Central Division rivals.
In the National League, the Cardinals (former Indian: Ed Mujica) sneaked by the Braves (former Indian: Chad Durbin) on an botched infield fly call, then went on to win a five game series against the Strasburg-less Nationals (no former Indians). Despite missing Steven Strasburg, it was the Nationals relief pitching that killed them in game five, with star closer Drew Storen walking the bases loaded before blowing a two run lead with two outs in the ninth.
The other NLDS match-up featured the Reds (former Indians: Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick) who completely blew the series against the Giants (former Indian: Guillermo Mota) after being up 2-0. Since the Reds were the team picked to follow by Burning River Baseball, we no longer have a dog in this fight. The rest of the playoffs will be for hoping for the Yankees and Tigers to lose. Since they are playing each other it will guarantee a half happy ending.
The best play by a former Indian had to have been this one by Coco Crisp, robbing a Prince Fielder home run in game three against Detroit.
Crisp was also the hero in game five when he ended the game with a walk off single to tie the series and force a game five.
Moving on, the Tigers and Peralta will head to New York to take on the Yankees and the traitor Sabathia. This will be a battle of old money vs. new money, while those with no money are forced to watch at home. The Cardinals will go on to face the Giants in San Francisco for the National League title. If all this seems familiar, it’s because it is. Three of these teams won the last three World Series and the other last in the Series in 2006.
Since 1996, the remaining teams have been to the World Series a combined 13 times with 1997, 2005, 2007 and 2008 being the only seasons not featuring one of this year’s Division Series winning teams in the World Series. This year will bump that number to 15 times in 17 seasons. One of the only Yankee/Tiger/Cardinal/Giant free World Series was 1997 which featured the Cleveland Indians against the Florida Marlins. That’s just to bring things back full circle so you don’t forget what this website is about.